James (Grandfather)

I would fill out the NDE questionnaire, but the NDE I want to share is my grandfather’s, who died in 1985.

He was 70 years old when he had a heart attack in 1980, and his heart stopped for a full minute on the operating table. He wasn’t a religious person, but his NDE affected him very deeply. When he woke up in the intensive care unit (ICU), he grabbed my mother’s hand and intently poured out his story. He said that in the NDE, he was floating above his body and felt very peaceful. He saw his two daughters and his wife below him, ‘huddled together.’ He told my mom with much emotion, that he didn’t die because, ‘You wouldn’t let me go.’ He also said he’d never be afraid of death as a result of his experience.

What I find unique about my grandfather’s NDE is the fact that he couldn’t have known and nobody told him, that my mother, her sister and my grandmother actually were in the hospital chapel. They were one floor below him and were praying for him to live at the very moment he was on the operating table when his heart stopped. I think the fact my grandfather said he could actually see his family ‘huddled together’ while they actually were together praying for him to live is pretty convincing evidence that he temporarily left his body when his heart stopped. My mother also told me that she was the one praying aloud, while holding my aunt and grandmother’s hands during the time my grandfather’s heart stopped for a minute. My grandfather didn’t even tell his own wife about his NDE first. Instead, he told my mother first. He was specifically saying ‘You,’ referring to my mother, ‘Wouldn’t let me go.’ I think because she was the one leading the prayer. I think my grandfather’s NDE falls in the most rare category of those in which the person reports leaving their body and seeing things that actually were occurring during their NDE. Also interesting, in pictures of my grandfather following his NDE he appears to be a truly happy person and at peace. I could see it in the way he smiled and his eyes seemed to truly sparkle. I think the experience did have a great an impact on him.

On the day my grandfather died permanently of a heart attack, 5 years after his NDE, he first woke up in bed that morning and hugged my grandmother. He said to her with as much emotion as when he told my mother of his NDE, “You’ll never know how much I love you. You’ll just never know how much I love you,” as if he knew on some level it would be his last day on earth.