One of the most profoundly loving, mystical experiences a person can have in life is a so-called “near-death experience” or NDE.
This typically happens when a person is very ill or close to death. Dr. Jeffrey Long reports that a 1992 Gallup Poll offered an estimate that 13 million Americans had experienced an NDE. The population of the U.S. in 1992 was approximately 260 million which leads to an estimate of NDE prevalence of roughly 5% – at least in 1992.
The individual is usually transported out of his or her body and into another reality that is blissful and heavenly. Dr. Melvin Morse, a well-known pediatrician in the Puget Sound area, is known for talking about and working with children who have had NDEs. I recommend Closer to the Light a beautiful book with many accounts by children about their NDEs. Many children have not only had these experiences, but they share with others that their lives have been categorically changed by their experiences. Dr. Morse has written about this in his book, Transformed by the Light (Morse 1992).
I have had the privilege of getting to know a number of people who have experienced NDEs, through both my hospice work and my life at large. One such person I reconnected with while living on Whidbey Island was Edmond Nickson. Edmond is a spiritually tuned-in, energetic man around 80 years old now. He knows who he is, and knows that he has been and continues to be guided continuously in his life.
I am deeply grateful to him for his help in editing my first book, The Last Adventure of Life. In the course of our conversations and work on my book, he agreed to write several pages that tell of his special relationship with the divine throughout his life as a result of an NDE that took place early in his life. (see pages 33-35 in the 1st edition of The Last Adventure of Life and pp. 35-37 in the 4th edition)
Recently, thanks to my work with radio show host Joseph Varley, I have come to know Sharon Milliman, a woman who has had two NDEs in her life, one when she was 13 years old and one as an adult. I was able to ask her some questions and here are her responses:
1) What was the best part about having NDEs?
My favorite parts of my NDE’s were being in the presence of God, seeing His face and feeling His all encompassing and complete love. It was a love beyond all human words. Sitting with Him and having conversation, laughing with Him, getting to experience and know that God has a personality, and know also that He never judges us. All He does is Love us. Also, learning that we are never separated from Him. Through my conversation, I found out that He made us. He is in us and when we look in the mirror we see Him.
2) What did you like least about your NDEs?
Having an NDE is an extremely spiritual experience and most people don’t understand how it can affect your life. At first I was isolated, and frightened. I had no words to describe what had happened. I had never heard of NDEs before even though I had had one earlier in my life. I had no label to put on the experience. I found people to be cruel upon my return from Heaven, they were labeling me as crazy, and I knew that wasn’t true. You can see more at this link. This is a page that explains so much about the after affects of NDEs. At this time I am in the Phase 3.
3) How have the NDEs transformed your life? What’s different?
They have changed my life in that I no longer fear death. I know life goes on and where we will go when our life here is done. And I know we do see our loved ones again. (One of big pieces in Sharon’s second NDE was that she got to meet up with her two brothers who had died while still young.) I have purpose and a mission: To spread the messages He gives me and to give people hope.
You can go to Sharon Goetemann Milliman‘s Facebook page and see more of her beautiful writings about her NDEs. (look under her “Notes”)
Last December, Sharon was interviewed for a National Geographic documentary on NDEs. This National Geographic Documentary will be featured in the up coming program called “Return from the Dead.” It will air on April 17th at 10 p.m., Eastern Time, on the National Geographic Channel.
This conversation is to be continued, and we welcome your stories, questions and comments around these topics.