As I reflect on this past year of my life, I am realizing the way I look at many aspects of life have changed. Anyone who goes through a Near Death Experience (NDE) would tell you this. Does it make a difference if one person flat-lines, (clinically dies, like I did) or gets “close” to it? I don’t think so. I believe any NDE survivor who tells of its life-altering experiences is telling you something that is extremely raw and very real.
Here are a few articles for those who believe in the spiritual and those who are more skeptical. Both sides have incredible support. I can only tell you about my belief and my experience as I am coming to learn about it on a much deeper level.
Here are three things I now do differently. I have spoken with a number of NDE survivors lately and heard them tell of similar changes.
First, I listen. I am 100% present in the most mundane of situations. Whether I am talking with a waitress at a restaurant or speaking with an acquaintance, I am clearly in that moment. I hear what they are saying and our conversations are raw and real. I have zero interest in having passerby conversations.
Second, I am more sociable. Now don’t get me wrong, those who know me would say I am very sociable and somewhat of an extrovert. Maybe I was, but not the way I have become. I now find myself casually – but deliberately – talking with anyone who crosses my path. I believe it is because I was so close to never meeting anyone this past year or at anytime in the future that I value interactions more highly and want everyone to notice I am alive and I am here. Maybe this will subside after time when my PTSD settles down.
Third, I empathize more. I feel people’s pain in a way I can honestly say used to be more superficial. Yes, I could empathize with one’s plight or sorrow, but I never felt it as deeply as I feel it today. Sometimes it is way too much when I am still on the mend, but I am grateful for feeling at all given the alternative path this delivery could have taken. Feeling is the way I can truly connect with people. I spent so many years driving my career and compartmentalizing my emotions, that I realize NOW how powerful a connection I can have with someone if I let my feelings relate to theirs during their time of need. How disrespectful would it be to allow someone to share deep emotion with me and to just brush them off because my desire to share my stories were more important than listening to theirs? I’m sorry to say I was guilty of that narcissistic behavior in my previous life. But after this experience, I can never go back to that old Stephanie, and I wouldn’t want to.
Together, these three changes in my behavior seem to say that I value life like never before, so much so, that I am intent on not missing out.
If you want to know where I stand on my own NDE, here it is. I believe my months of preparing doctors, nurses, seeking out specialists, posting on social media and talking in great detail (of what was going to happen to me) to anyone who would listen to me, came from a higher power. I don’t question it. I believe in G-d. I believe, as my anesthesiologist said to me “His Divine hand was all over me” (with this foreboding).
I had excellent care in a superior institution with access to the best medical minds. That is 100% true. But there have been a few AFE’s there and at many other hospitals around the globe who had great care but did not make it. What made me different? I don’t think I could in a million years answer that question, but I will tell you I believe my intuition helped prepare them for the worst. And I will take those visions of my doom a step further and say: I had a big helping hand that I could not see– I could only feel. And I haven’t stopped feeling it since.
Perhaps you, or someone you know, has had a Near Death Experience. Do you notice any change in behavior or values?
Do you believe in the afterlife or chalk it up to a scientific explanation, even if you cannot explain it? I’d love to hear your story. Feel free to comment and share here.