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Grace Bubulka-Hatmaker’s Near-Death Experience

Chairs in the hospital hallway. hospital interior

Grace Bubulka-Hatmaker, R.N, M.S.N. is a medical professional who saw the afterlife during a near-death experience over a decade ago. Her near-death experience changed her life forever. Nearly ten years after her NDE she felt comfortable telling others about it. Now, Grace shares her NDE testimony with others through seminars and lectures. Grace is Administrative Director of the Trauma Department and the Director of Nursing Education and Development at Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno, California. She is happily married and the mother of three growing children. The following is an excerpt of her book, Beyond This Reality: A Personal Account of the Near-Death Experience describing her NDE.

Grace Bubulka

From my left side the nurse said, “I can’t get her blood pressure.”

I could feel her trying to detect a pressure. The resident was trying on my right arm. Finally the nurse said, “I can’t get it.”

“&%$@!,” the resident exclaimed.

With that last word, everything changed. Finally, I found that the pain had a limit and that I had been released. I felt a sensation in my stomach like a person feels when dropping down from a roller coaster peak. This type of “butterflies-in-my-stomach” feeling was a fleeting ripple inside of me. I was then looking down from above the left foot area of my bed. The distance from my bed was as though I was against the ceiling corner. I could see the backs of the staff to the left of my bed and the faces of my doctors and the Filipino nurse.

I was exasperated with them and with my futile attempt to connect with them. I had no strong feelings about my body lying on the bed. It was almost unfamiliar to me.

I just remained there with a sense of hovering for what felt like forever. It was really only for seconds or minutes I suppose but time did not make any sense. Time did not seem to apply. It seemed irrelevant. It was unattached to anything, the way I was. Time is only relevant when it is relative to the normal orderly sequential aspects of life. So I was there for a moment or for eternity. I cannot say but it felt like a very long time to me. I was aware that I was separate from my body yet somehow I continued to exist. The part of me that existed did not have anything to do with my body. I was completely comfortable and no longer in any pain. All of the distress I was in while lying in my hospital bed was gone. I felt like I was bobbing about in a warm bath.

While I was at the hospital room ceiling I was somewhat stationary. Now I was in motion. I was proceeding slowly in an upward and outward direction, slightly angled to the left. I was aware of being surrounded but I didn’t know by what or by whom. At first it just seemed like a foggy grayness about me. As the speed of my upward and outward movement increased, the enclosing fog seemed to have a bright ending at the distance. I remember at the early moments of moving ahead through this enclosure a brightness to my left where I could see through the cloud-like tunnel. Beyond the walls of my tunnel was a shimmering, glowing light. The light contained an infinite number of specks within it. The specks were moving about. Some specks were going fast, some slow. They were all going in different directions yet none ever touched or impacted with each other. The only comparison I can draw with what I saw was what a person can see if you look into a sunbeam. It looked like the dust particles that ride within a sunbeam. I remember smiling to myself (or at least having a happy, knowing feeling) that I was akin to these specks and they were journeying as I was between realities.

I was also very aware of being helped through this transition. I was in the company of an innumerable amount of others who were just like me. It was as though they were family … that I didn’t know or I had forgotten. They knew all about me and were there to celebrate, comfort, ease and move me ahead. There was no sense of recognition but I knew they were there to help.

My tunnel structure thinned along the sides but the light ahead was beckoning me. I was intensely attracted to reaching the light. As the sides of the tunnel became clearer, the light ahead became brighter and closer as my speed increased.

The level of joyous anticipation I was feeling was indescribable. At this point I had no insight into what any of this was about. I did not think I was dead. I knew I felt like a spirit or a disembodied person. I knew that the real “I” continued to exist in the absence of my earthly body. I had a sense of heightened knowing, of peace and of assured expectancy.

As I neared the warm, glowing radiance ahead of me, I felt pure ecstasy. I was in the beginning of the light. I was part of the light. The light was part of me … but the light was more. Somehow I knew there was more ahead but for now I could go no further because something was about to take place. I felt as if I had returned to something I knew before. It was as if I had come home. I had come home to the beginning of not just me but the beginning of all eternity. This is so hard to explain but it seems so important. The only thing this compares to in a way is the way it feels when it is a beautiful warm night and you look up into the clear starry sky.

When you look at the stars, there is an awe of the glimpse at the beginning of infinite space. It was like that feeling as I savored my experience.

During this experience, time had no meaning. Time was an irrelevant notion. It felt like eternity. I felt like I was there an eternity. No remnants of the tunnel remained. There was no cloud or fog. The light was pure and all-good. I needed nothing, I wanted nothing. I was in communion with all the light around me. The specks, the others and I were all part of the light that existed forever. I felt I had an infinite sense of knowing, of understanding it all. I was completely at ease.

Then from within the light was a message. I received communication. I have no idea from where or how it came to me. There was no person there. No words were spoken. The thought was there for me to receive and accept. I was being reminded of my responsibility to my two children. I had the beginning of a notion to disagree … somehow. I did not want anything to change yet I could feel that a change had already begun. I no longer felt that something wonderful was just ahead for me. I was being “told” benevolently yet firmly of my duty. This message was the final word … it was all there was to communicate. I remember feeling a strain to hold onto my experience, I wanted to disagree while at the same time knowing it was pointless. I knew that from within the greatest part of all light was the complete wisdom that directed me. I felt like being a very small child whose loving parent insists and directs the tired child to bed. The directive was the only point. I had to go.

At this moment, I had one last type of communication with this powerful part of the light. Suddenly, I saw it all. I saw me as I was as a baby, a child, a teen, and adult, all at once. At the same time, I saw everything I ever did, everything I ever thought, everything. I saw events and people in my life that I previously considered important. Also, I saw many things that seemed-not-so important. I was aware of everything in my life all at once and I was aware of every response that others had to what occurred in my life. It was all there for me to understand … everything “good”, “bad”, or “indifferent.”

For example, I remembered knowing deeply about a situation that I dealt with in first grade as a six-year-old child. I was in class and it was a few minutes before recess. Sister Celine had positioned three holy cards on the edge of her desk in the front of the room. The holy cards were to be awarded after recess in the spelling bee that our class would have. I was at the front desk and could see the holy cards well. The one in the middle depicted a gossamer guardian angel watching over two small children crossing a bridge. I wanted that card so badly. As we filed out for recess, temptation overtook me and I stole the holy car. I slipped it quickly into my uniform pocket. No one saw me. During recess, I felt sick with guilt. I snuck back into the classroom while the other first graders were playing at recess and placed the holy card back on Sister’s desk.

In my near-death experience I remembered everything about that situation. What was really impressive, though, is that I was aware how very wrong that action was. Although I had made amends I “knew” of Sister Celine’s dismay at having the card taken. I “knew” that other children saw only two cards on the desk for the spelling be, not three. What I really “knew” was that my action carried repercussions that affected many others.

This is the way my life was reviewed. I was deeply aware and had profound insight into everything in my life and all of my dealings with others from my birth on to the moment of my near-death experience. All those in the light were witness to this review of my entire life. I was enveloped in a loving feeling and given insight into areas of my weaknesses. I suddenly realized aspects of my life that were not compatible with eternity in the light. I also knew now how to correct this. I was charged with the accountability of the remainder of my life.

I knew that more was ahead in the light that continued forever but I could not go there now. Seeing my life left me with the impression that my life mattered and was somehow significant as to how far I could go into the light. My work was not yet finished and my work was to begin inside me and within my family.

I was able to concede to my impending return now that I fully understood the message.

Then I was given a “gift” to ease my return … or at least that is how I interpreted this at the time. As the brightness began to dull, the image of my two children were merged into my spirit. As I held their love in me, I returned to my body in the hospital bed.

If you would like to order an autographed copy of author Grace
Bubulka-Hatmaker’s book, contact her at: hatmakergrace@gmail.com

Grace Hatmaker, R.N.,M.S.N.
School Nurse, Clovis High School
1055 Fowler Ave., Clovis, Ca. 93611
(559) 327-1402