It took me years to come to terms with my near-death experience, which has both haunted and enlightened me. I'd heard of near-death experiences since I was a child and remember seeing the documentary movie, Beyond and Back, when I was only nine years old. The film, narrated by Brad Crandall, made me think about our relevance here in the physical world. It showed re-creation after re-creation of people going to Heaven and meeting Jesus, who didn’t seem as judgmental as the right wing Christians made him out to be.
All that was nice and dandy until they showed what happened after a girl, played by Elaine Daniel, committed suicide. I distinctly remember the scene: snakes; a pit of fire; horrifying-looking people; and the girl’s cry for help. Looking at the movie today, one would laugh at the cheesiness. As an impressionable young child, however, this gave me nightmares for years. By the time I was 21, my conscious mind had long forgotten the movie and the nightmares that followed. Some people tell me, however, that it was this movie that aroused my so-called “consciousness” when I was in a car accident and pronounced dead at the hospital, before being revived.
The date was May 8, 1996, and it was the last night after final exams in my senior year in college. I couldn’t believe that after all the stress I’d gone through to get my degree, I had finally finished. I remember walking into the student house I lived in and being greeted by my friend Brett, who was short, had long, dark hair, a mustache, a big nose, and bug-like eyes. No matter how ugly I thought he was, Brett was still a “ladies man,” and whenever we went out, he ended up going back with a woman while I went home alone. There was a bad side of him, too: Brett was selfish and racist and practically cheated his way through school. He constantly treated people, especially women, with disrespect. For some reason, he was always nice to me.
One problem I couldn’t completely blame Brett for was his drinking. From my understanding, his whole family had a drinking problem and I could understand that Brett probably “inherited” this. My problem, I thought, is that I didn’t drink enough, didn't get as wild as Brett or my other friends did when we went out. I decided to make an exception that evening and had shots of vodka, Everclear, and other things (I don’t quite remember what they were, but they tasted awful).