Prior to getting ill, I was not being the best husband and father. I was smoking two packs a day and drinking way too much. I was not abusive to my family, but rather very disconnected.

I was admitted into the hospital 12-08-14 with what I thought was a bad flu. They found that I had Legionnaires Disease and things got progressively worse. By the end of the week, I could no longer breathe easily and I felt in my heart that I was not going to survive. I even instructed my wife to go home and find the life insurance papers. My wife and I were even arguing during my first few days in the hospital. On December 12, things took a turn for the worse. I had to fight for every breath. I was in a state of panic as if I were being held under water. It was decided I had to be put on a ventilator to breathe and I remember slowly slipping into unconsciousness. I remember looking back at my wife and asking her to help me. My vision started to narrow, as darkness closed in. I remember feeling very sad because my kids were not in the room for me to say goodbye to. Then I was gone into unconsciousness. My wife said they called a ‘Code’ something; a large group of medical people rushed in with a cart, and pushed her out of the room. She did not know what was going on but remembered a nurse looking at her with concern and sadness. I did not know it, but my wife was frustrated with the doctors and was trying hard to get them to transfer me to another hospital. She felt they were letting me get worse.

Sometime during all of this, after I went unconscious and subsequently into a coma, I remember I was all of a sudden standing in a beautiful meadow. There was tall, waving grass and the most calming sunlight. It felt so very calm and peaceful. Ahead of me, and about 30 yards away, was a stand of trees. The trees were so thick and close together that I could not see into them. Then my paternal grandparents emerged from the trees, holding hands. They walked out and stood in front of me, closer to the trees than to me. My grandparents are both long deceased and I was VERY close to them when I was younger. They looked great, the same as I remember them when I was a child. They were nicely dressed, smiling and holding hands. I called out to them, joyful at seeing them and I wanted to go to them. I don’t recall seeing them talk, but I could hear them clearly, telling me not to approach them. I said I wanted to go with them but I heard them in my mind telling me not to come any closer that I had to stay there. They said it was not my time and that they only wanted to see me. They then, still holding hands, walked backwards into the thick stand of trees and out of sight.

The next thing I knew, I woke up and a bunch of nurses were holding me down as they worked on my ventilator tube. I could hear them say that I should not have woken up yet and they tried to calm me down as they sedated me again. I woke up a day and half later and discovered I was at another hospital. After my wife continued to fight with the doctor in the state we lived in, they relented and called the other hospital because they were known to have treatments that are more effective in cases like mine. I was in a coma throughout the transfer. The second hospital sent a medical jet to our little regional airport and airlifted me to their hospital. They saved my life. I know in my heart that I went to a place between our world and the afterlife. My grandparents were able to come to me for a brief visit but they did not want me to go with them. They were letting me know it was not my time to die and join them. I think I was very close to heaven, where they are.

There have been profound changes in my life since the experience that I would like to share at some point. Changes that can ONLY be attributed to God. Also, I had a blood tech come in a few nights later to draw blood, as they did about six times a day. I had not seen her before and she did not know me. She closed the curtain, which is not normal, and said ‘I’m praying for you’. I have never had a medical person go there before and I’m sure they do not normally start a conversation with a patient that way. She went on to say, without knowing that I had some issues prior to becoming ill, that God will sometimes take someone all the way down and then pick them up again to prove His love. She said I was being given a second chance. She then left and I never saw her again during my several week stay there.