August 4, 1995, Teri woke early to start her morning routine: getting her three children breakfast and ready for the day. At age 34, Teri was in picture perfect health, but this particular morning she felt dizzy and something was definitely wrong. She had a very strange intuition. I’m dying. She proceeded to mentioned this to her husband, and then headed downstairs. “Maybe you jumped out of bed too fast?” he suggested. “No. Call 911, I’m dying!” Teri said. He looked at her like she was crazy. “Go!” she gestured toward the phone. Teri knew intuitively she was dying. As any woman would do, she headed to the shower before the paramedics arrived. After 25 minutes, the ambulance still hadn’t arrived. Don’t’ they understand? I’m dying! She mentioned to her husband again so he called 911 for the second time. This time, within 5 minutes paramedics arrived at her home.
While the paramedics were taking diagnostic tests, Teri couldn’t understand their lack of urgency. She was dying. She knew instinctively…why weren’t they swift? They put her in the ambulance and without a siren, they moved away from her home. Why the lack of urgency? They placed the oxygen mask on her face. She wanted to scream. HURRY! I’M DYING! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M DYING! As she exited the ambulance, a paramedic patted her leg, “don’t worry, you’re just having a panic attack.” She nodded her head noooo! “I’m dying!” The words were getting harder to articulate.
In the emergency room, the attending physician seemed perplexed. Time seemed to have slowed down as medical personnel tried to assess the situation. Finally, about a half hour later, the cardiologist arrived. As she saw him approach through the ER door she saw an aura of light all around him. She knew instinctively- at that moment- that this was the doctor who would save her. Ten minutes later, he confirmed she had a massive heart attack. Two major heart arteries were 100% blocked. Teri was immediately admitted to the hospital where she remained in ICU for multiple procedures including medication and other invasive procedures to dissolve the clots blocking her heart.
The third day in ICU, Teri had what she describes as a near death experience. Until this day, she had never read accounts about near death experiences, so at this time she didn’t have a context or framework with others who have shared similar experiences. The following is how she best describes her experience using human words and terms:
I went through a tunnel with a guide on my left side. I don’t know who this guide is- only that the person was familiar and I felt no fear. No verbal words were ever exchanged, but I knew intuitively what was spoken. The guide led me through an experience. I was never alone. I saw what was considered collective darkness on the right and collective light on the left. The first scene the guide showed me was the observation of darkness. Everything evil or harmful that humans have done to each other since the beginning of time including but not limited to: war, famine, down to the simplicities of a hateful word, or bad thought, nothing was irrelevant. There was no guilt or shame bestowed on me; however I was told… “Yours is in there too.” It was a collective experience of darkness and it felt unpleasant or heavy. I was then moved to feel a collective experience of light. Words can’t describe the goodness, beauty, kindness, forgiveness, grace. It was liberating and freeing and brought unending joy. I felt cleansed by the light. My good was in there too. There was no balancing between darkness and light, it was evident that the light was stronger. I saw a continued light, more intense light on the path ahead. “Is that where we are going?” I questioned my guide. I wanted to keep moving, I was happy to keep moving. Suddenly, we stopped. “We are not going, it’s not time.” “We could run!” I suggested. “No matter how hard or fast… you are not going there yet.” Abruptly I was back in my physical body. I was wide awake. And I began to sob. I knew I was going to live. I hit the call button to call a nurse. I needed physical contact with another human being.
Teri shared her near death experience with her cardiologist, an Indian doctor considered to be one of the best heart physicians in the area. He agreed it’s not uncommon for heart patients to have similar experiences to the one she described. What was perplexing or interesting, he shared with Teri, was that on that particular day they were not sure if she would survive. If she indeed made it past that night, maybe she would have a chance. The doctor shared, “Do you believe in God?” Teri acknowledged that she did believe in God. “I suspected as much. It is your God who saved you. I did not.”
Teri did need physical healing time ahead. Her sister, Jeanne, took care of her three children for two weeks, prayed over her, prayed with her, prayed for her children. Two nurses at the hospital brought over a birthday cake and meal for her son’s birthday when she was still in the hospital and couldn’t be home for the party. Many small miracles of loving kindness happened for Teri even through her recovery. It took roughly five years to slowly work to regain her strength but now she is fully recovered needing absolutely no medication. Her heart is healthy and functions normally.
When I asked how this miracle impacted her life her response was beautiful. “I’ve always had a very strong faith in God; the miracle forever grounded and solidified my faith. My lens though which I look at the world is amplified; I am more aware. Whether we believe in God or a higher power or not, my experience revealed that we are all connected. Our thoughts, our words and what we do – help or harmful- matter. I choose to follow the light; a kind word, a smile, a thoughtful gesture. The truth is many of the things we chase after in this life are fleeting. Loving others, forgiving, showing kindness and compassion, these are the graces that last an eternity. I choose this.”
*If you have a miracle to share, I’d love to write your story. Visit http://www.sherryrummler.com