Earlier today, I attended an EvolVR discussion group in a Virtual Reality social platform called Altspace where people were invited to share their thoughts about death and whether or not they believe there is an afterlife. I showed up near the end of the event, and people were talking about the phenomenon of near death experiences. I was content to just stand there as my virtual avatar and listen, but after a while, the person leading the group called on me and asked if I had anything to add.
I started off by sharing my thoughts about death in general, but I called back to the topic of near death experiences. My mom has told me about her experience a few times throughout my childhood, and it’s always struck me as incredibly deep and touching. I shared her story with the group, and they reacted with so much love, I could tell her story was meaningful to these complete strangers as well. I decided I should ask her about it again and write it down so it won’t ever be forgotten, and share it here so more people can appreciate the incredible love and strength I have been privileged to experience from her throughout my life.
I called her up this evening and asked her if she would be willing to retell her story and let me write an article about it. She agreed to do so under the caveat that she gets a copy of this article. Thanks, Mom!
Less than two weeks before my first birthday, my mom was in a car accident that threw her from the vehicle, which tumbled uncontrollably until it became nothing but a wad of twisted metal. Her injuries were so traumatic that they left her with serious complications that still affect her today, but she persevered through it all- including her own death.
She was in a coma for a while. The exact amount of time seems to fluctuate depending on who you ask and how much they remember. My mom says it was four months. I don’t have any way to track down the exact amount of time it was, but the fact is she was out for quite a while. At some point, she had died briefly and was brought back. Even though she can’t recall any details about the car accident itself, my mom still remembers her near death experience clearly.
I recorded our call to ensure I could get this all written down exactly as she tells it:
“When I started waking up from my coma and stuff in the hospital, and they [the doctors] kept coming in and out of the room checking in on me constantly all the time, and I remember I was just laying there, and this long-haired angel walked in there. He said “Come on, we’ll go for a journey.” I said, “I can’t walk.” He said “Yes you can,” and he held his hand out there for me to take his hand and walk. I stood up out of the bed, we walked towards the door, we walked out into the hallway, and I was just standing in a hospital hallway, I turned the corner and I was in heaven, and I tripped out big time.“
She went on to say that people were coming up to her, greeting her by name, coming and going through what looked like thick hazy clouds or fog. She was so overwhelmed by an intense feeling of peace and happiness. The angel turned to her and said “Come on, let’s go,” and she said “I don’t want to go. I have a child, and I want to be a mom. I want to be there for my kids.”
“It was really hard on me, but I asked the angels right then and there, “I know it will take a miracle”, I said, “but will you just help me when you can help me?” And they said yes. And I came back, and I woke up.”
To say the accident left my mom in bad shape would be an understatement. Her mangled body was so twisted up that her left leg was over shoulder, and her head was beaten so badly that she experienced brain damage. When she came out of her coma, the doctors did not give her a hopeful prognosis.
They said she would never walk, talk, or have children again.
Maybe it’s a miracle, but she proved them wrong. She’s an incredibly strong woman who went on to give birth to my two younger sisters. She walks, and oh BOY does she talk! Proving those doctors wrong with every smart-ass comment she makes. I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She’s my mom, but I’m lucky to be able to call her a friend as well. She inspires me to kick ass daily.
Like I said, she has told me about her near death experience several times throughout my life, but when we were discussing it tonight for this article, I asked her to describe the angel she saw as well as she could remember. She told me that he had long hair, and he was skinny. Then she paused for a second in thought and said “He looked like Robert Plant, like the Led Zeppelin angel,” referring to the “Icarus” logo prominent in many of the band’s merchandise. I beamed when she said this, because I knew that her all-time favorite song has always been “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.
There are a lot of near death experience stories out there, and what I find the most striking about all of them is that the experiences people have tend to coincide with expectations they have developed based on the cultures and religions most prominent in their lives. Christians primarily recall seeing God, heaven, or hell. People of other faiths see what they have been told they will see rather than ever experiencing the Christian motif.
My mom saw the angel from the Icarus logo. Something about that just makes me smile wide. That’s my mom, alright!
I personally have a hard time believing in gods, an afterlife, and yes, even near death experiences, but even someone as secular as I am can still appreciate my mom’s experience for what it is at its core, a mother choosing to surrender the promise of peace and eternal bliss just so she can be there for her baby. I don’t think there is anything more beautiful a mother can do for her child. No matter my beliefs, I can always look back on her story and know how much she truly loves her children.