Dana M.

My mother was out of the house, at a meeting. My father (who was an alcoholic and fairly non-involved parent) was supposed to be ‘watching’ my sister and I while mother was out. He took us into the TV room and laid me on the bed in there and turned on the television. I remember feeling really sick and was very tired. I could not watch the TV. I remember feeling very light, weightless, and ‘disconnected’ from my father and sister.

Suddenly I saw a keyhole. There was light coming through it, but all around it was darkness. I thought I should look through the keyhole. I moved toward it, although I don’t think my body actually moved. I looked into the keyhole and saw light beyond it. Then I moved through the keyhole and was surrounded by bright light. I found myself on the most beautiful beach with gently lapping waves and beautiful blue water. This was ironic since we lived in the desert and I had never seen a beach in real life before. The sun was shining, but rather muted since it wasn’t brilliant or blinding. I looked around and felt very calm. Then there was a tall ‘person’ next to me. I could not see a face or any distinguishing characteristics. I didn’t know who this was or whether it was a man or a woman. I felt such a loving and welcoming feeling from this person.

This experience was very different from my life as a child. My mother was very narcissistic and self-involved; she punished me every time I was ill, which was all the time during the first grade. She would only take me to the doctor when I seemed to be so ill that I was ‘out of it’.

I walked along the beach with this person. Another person joined us. These were not beings of light. They seemed to be regular Beings although they were not solid and defined. We did not talk aloud, but I could hear them in my head and I talked to them with my mind. They told me how glad they were to see me and told me that this place would always be special to me. I felt so loved for the first time in my life, and wanted desperately to stay with them. They told me I had to leave for now, but could come back ‘later.’ I felt very sad about having to leave. They kept telling me that later I could stay for as long as I wanted to. But for now, I had to go back to my parents and my sister. Boy, I didn’t want to do that! But they lovingly convinced me that the best thing was to go back for now and return later. Suddenly, I was rushing back through the keyhole at a great speed.

I don’t remember waking up, but my mother was there. She was yelling at my father and telling him I was really sick and why wasn’t he watching me? I felt dizzy and tried to talk, but was too tired to speak. They took my temperature. Years later, when mother told me about this illness, she said my temperature was 104 degrees F. She called the doctor, who told her to put me in a cold bath. I remember being lifted into the bathtub with ice cubes in it. That is all I remember of that night.

The next day, though, I asked my mother about the people on the beach. She told me to stop making things up. Over the years, I would suddenly remember this happening. But every time I tried to talk to mother about it, she told me to quit lying. She just didn’t want to hear about it, and would stop me cold if I ever tried to bring it up. Eventually, when I was 10 or 11, she told me if I didn’t stop lying about that story, I’d go to hell. She also told me if I told anyone about this, they’d think I was crazy, and I’d be put into the ‘crazy house.’ I’m pretty sure she said this to scare me, because my father had to go to the ‘crazy house’ a lot of times when we were kids. That was what mother called the hospital she took my father to when his alcoholism became totally out of control.

That was about when I stopped even trying to talk about what had happened to me. All through my life, though, I had a kind of subconscious feeling that something very special had happened to me. Maybe I was special…who knows? But because my mother refused to even discuss it, I had the feeling that what had happened had to be kept a secret or that if anyone found out about it I’d be in bad trouble. I never could reconcile the loving acceptance I had felt on that beach with the idea of badness or being in trouble. That dichotomy nagged at me all my life.

I never told anyone about this occurrence until I was in nursing school, in the 1990s. I wrote a paper on using hypnosis as a pain-relieving intervention. I asked to be hypnotized several times by the university psychological services in order to find out for myself how hypnosis worked. During one of the sessions I began talking about this event. The therapist and I never really discussed it; she acknowledged that I had talked about it, but I think (now) that NDEs had not really been part of her training, so she didn’t know what to make of it.

Then, around 2007 my husband and I attended a seminar sponsored by the Association for Research and Enlightenment, which included a guided group past-life regression. During the regression, I found myself in a wonderful place of light, with loving beings surrounding me. It was the same loving and accepting place I had seen as a child. I was on the beautiful beach again, with the beautiful blue water. The only difference was that I was now surrounded by loving Beings, whereas before there were only two of them. The Beings acknowledged that I had come ‘home’ but once again they told me I had to go back to life; they ensured me that I could return ‘home’ in the future and could stay as long as I liked. I sobbed uncontrollably during the regression, first because I felt so much love and then because I had to leave that beautiful place that was like my home – again! After the seminar ended, the facilitator came up to me and said ‘You went home, didn’t you?!’ Amazing. It was the first time anyone had validated what had happened to me. I ended up telling the facilitator that I had had a childhood occurrence that I thought might have been an NDE and that what I had seen during his guided regression evoked the same feelings I had so many years previously.