The following near-death experience appears in Dr. Cherie Sutherland‘s book, Within The Light. Dr. Sutherland is a NDEr whose experience led her to conduct an in depth three year study of the phenomenon. She is also the author of Reborn in the Light: Life After Near-Death Experiences which examines the effects of the near-death phenomenon and what survivors have come to believe about life. She is a visiting research fellow in sociology at the University of New South Wales. Following her research and publication, Dr. Sutherland has lectured and become involved with a variety of NDE projects. The following is the near-death testimony of Grace.
I was in labor, for the first time, and it was an extremely difficult labor. I was thirty and the cervix wasn’t dilating properly, and nothing was happening. This had just been going on and on and on, and it was excruciating. I was starting to drift in and out of consciousness and they were getting very panicky. They kept coming in and listening to the fetal heart and checking my pulse. I think that’s fairly normal, but all of a sudden there seemed to be a lot of panic and they were wheeling things in, and in and out, and suddenly I wasn’t there anymore. I mean, up until then there’d been an awareness of what was going on around me, even though I’d been drifting in and out of blackness. But the last thing I remember before I did move, or had the sensation of movement, was, “We’re losing her!” Then suddenly I was somewhere else.
I recall a sensation of movement out beyond myself, like I’d left something behind. And I seemed to move through a portal. There was a glow, but I didn’t seem to stop and think, there was no thought, there was no “Will I, won’t I?”
Just suddenly, I found myself in a place, and it was a real place, and I was there. I was standing just beyond the portal and I looked around me. There was a intensity of color. It was a green, and intense emerald green. It was like, there were gentle rolling hills, there were no crags, no sharp edges, nothing that was cruel, nothing that was other than gentle. The sky was intense blue, the scene was gently rolling (I know you’ve heard this before, but that’s what it was.).
And there seemed to be figures, grouped, almost a theatrical grouping, like a stage set. And at first they were just amorphous, shadowy figures and I was peripherally but intensely aware of a grouping on my right, ahead of me, but I hadn’t really looked at it. I knew it was there but it was not impinging on my consciousness too much at that stage – I was too busy looking the other way.
And as I looked one of the figures seemed to resolve itself, and I thought, “I know that face,” and I suddenly realized, “Oh God, it’s my aunty Hannah,” who died eleven years ago.
And then I saw my uncle Abraham, who died before I was born, and I knew them. They were not speaking, their mouths weren’t moving, but they were there, and they were sort of there for me. I knew they were there to see me, and they knew me, even though they’d never met me (I’m going to end up crying). My granny, who I’d never met, my grandfather, just all the people I’ve never known and even those I’d known a bit who’d died many years before, or who’d even died recently, and they were there. Anyway, then I turned and I looked at this figure standing next to me – it was my father.
My dad died when I was sixteen. I was a very rebellious teenager and we were always at loggerheads. And the day he died, we were moving – we’d sold the house and we were going to move into a flat – and he and I had a towering row and I said to him, “I hate you,” and did the normal teenage ugly thing.
Anyway, he went to the flat with the movers for the last time, saying he’d come back and get me later on. I was waiting for Daddy to come back and the afternoon wore on and there was no sign of him. It was growing dusk when I saw a police car going past. Suffice to say Dad had had a coronary.
He died very suddenly, there was no saying good-bye, there was no chance to say, “Dad, I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean that. I do love you.”
It was just … he was gone. And I never really was able to mourn properly – I was sort of dashed off to Sydney to live with my mother. It was all very practical:
“Now, don’t cry, you’ll be all right.”
But I always had this terrible sense that I never had a chance to say good-bye, or a chance to just say “I’m sorry.”
And then standing in that place, it went through my mind, “Is this real or is this my imagination, because it’s what I want to have happen?”
It’s really peculiar, but I actually thought that:
“Am I doing this within myself because it’s what I want?”
And then Dad spoke to me. And he said, “No, honey” (because that was his name for me). He said, “Honey, you’re not imagining, it’s not coming from you, you’re with me and this is our time to talk.”
Anyway, we talked, laid the ghosts to rest. And I looked down and there was my dog Lucky. He died when I was very young, and he was just there. Of course now if I was to go to the same place, my German shepherd would be there, too. I’m quite looking forward to seeing Razzy again. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
I didn’t have any sense of time, I don’t know how it was for, but we talked about all sorts of things.
And I said to him, “You must wonder what I’ve been doing, or you must sometimes feel angry with me.”
And he said, “No. Here, what goes on in the world has no meaning.”
He said, “We’re here to care for you, we’re here to take you on.”
And then there was a sense of drawing back, and I panicked and said, “Dad, I don’t want to go!”
He said, “You have to go, it’s not your time yet, you must go back. You’re going to have a son, and you’ll have to bring this boy up, bring him up yourself.”
Then Dad told me my marriage was going to break up. (We’d only been married just a year!)
And I remember saying, “Dad, I don’t want that to happen. I always thought that when I got married, it wouldn’t happen.”
It was a very intense feeling. I said, “Dad, I don’t want to go – I want to stay with you. Let me stay with you.” I was most distressed, I didn’t want to go back.
He sent me back. He told me that he would be there, he would be there again for me. And I seemed to be moving back quickly, like, there was no sense of travel, but just I was there.
And he repeated again, “You’re going to have a boy.”
Then the panic: I thought, “My God, I haven’t picked a boy’s name!”
And then I came through, I was there in the delivery room again, and I was crying.
Anyway, many hours later, my son was born by cesarean section.