I think near-death out-of-body experiences are the most fascinating, enlightening and important events. I had the privilege to know someone who had such an experience. His name was Glenn, and he was a close friend of mine who suffered from the same type of cancer that killed famed football player Walter Payton…bile duct cancer. It is a pretty rare form of cancer. He told me his story after his experience.
The operation to remove the tumor was radical, called the Whipple Procedure. They were successful in removing the small tumor, but my friend nearly didn’t survive the operation itself. He was in intensive care for three weeks, and nearly did not make it. Immediately after the operation, my friend had complications; there was an infection inside him that would not go away. The doctors brought him back to the operating room to try to find it.
He was in intense pain; they put him under. Then…he saw himself on the operating table. He was looking at himself from several feet away, and the doctors seemed very worried about him, as if he would not make it. Glenn was outside of his body. My friend had been in such intense pain for so long, now he was totally free from it. He was watching what was happening before him as the doctors worked on him, with a sense of detachment.
Then he noticed something. He saw two people standing beside him, watching his body on the hospital bed sympathetically. The two were a sad looking adult man and little girl. Somehow my friend knew that the man was the little girl’s father. And they were not alive either. Glenn felt that the two had died together, perhaps in a car accident, many years or even decades ago. The style of their clothing was not current. And Glenn had a knowing that the father felt so guilty about causing the death of his daughter that he could not leave his life behind. And the daughter so loved her father she would not leave his side. Glenn remarked that time seemed different on the other side and if we pause before going to our final destination, time slips by.
My friend turned and spoke to them out of concern. He asked them what were they doing here…and told them that they should not be hanging around a hospital. He told them that they were no longer alive, and they should leave this place and go on to where they were meant to go. The man listened to Glenn and Glenn seemed to get across to them, because suddenly he had a feeling of peace come over him, like he had done the right thing. Then the spirits of the father and daughter vanished.
Yet…he sensed other figures in the distance, dark shapes wandering the hospital corridors. Other lost souls. Hospitals are really the most haunted of places. Then Glenn was suddenly outside the hospital. He said he was walking the hospital grounds with such a feeling of peace. Then…he heard a Voice. Not a literal voice, but an impression, telling him “it’s not your time yet…you have to go back”. He did not want to return to his body, he wanted to stay and be at peace. Then, then next thing he awakened in terrible agony, back in his body in the hospital room.
Glenn told me this story several times. I asked him afterwards…what was he wearing? Do spirits wear clothing? Glenn said he recalled that he seemed to be perfectly dressed, with a freshly pressed shirt (Glenn was always a fashionable guy). Could it just be a hallucination I asked? No he said, he had plenty of hallucinations and delirium during his hospital stay, and this experience was utterly different then anything like that. He said if he had a choice, he would not have returned. Physically he withered from the consequences of his operations. He used to be a robust 250-pound man, now he was 140 pounds. But at the same time, he had attained a renewed inner peace and generosity of spirit. And we both wondered what was meant by what the Voice said…it’s not your time…yet.
Three years after his first operation, I learned what was meant by the Voice. It was his time, but not quite yet. Three years after his near-death experience his cancer returned. I recall it was a truly gloomy rainy day when I went to visit him in the hospital. He was in a coma. I talked to him wondering if he could hear me, if he knew I was there. But I knew that from his experience, he no longer feared death. He had long abandoned any grudges or grievances he had, he became a changed man. And the next day when he passed away, I knew he would be happy he did not have to return a second time.