After reading Rhonda Maracle’s article “Survival” in last week’s paper I felt compelled to share my near-death experience. Both my parents were Christians, embracing the Pentecostal faith all their lives. I always believed in God and the hereafter and that we made the choice where we wanted to spend our eternal life. What happened to me is just as vivid in my mind today as it was 42 years ago.
In 1969 a week after giving birth to my 2nd son, I was in excruciating pain and had to go to emergency. The doctor told me I had an infection in my ovaries and had to be hospitalized. This meant leaving my newborn with his grandmother. My other children stayed with their father. The doctor said I had abscesses on each ovary and except for pain medication nothing could be done until the abbesses ripened, hoping the ripening happened before the poison spread through my body. I knew I was sick.
After about a month of being in the hospital my fever spiked. When the nurse came in and took my temperature she enclosed the curtain around my bed. I knew then it wasn’t good. She only said to me your temperature has risen. So I did the only thing I knew how to do and that was to pray. I asked God to make me better so I could go home and look after my children, look after my baby boy. I didn’t want my children to be raised without a mother.
I remembered that the hospital always had these little red testaments in the nightstand so I reached over, got the testament out of the drawer and turned to the 23rd Psalm and started reading “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want….That’s the last thing I remember.
I don’t know what time it was when I looked over and seen a figure standing by my bed. The figure had a long hooded cloak on and I couldn’t see a face just a shadow. I wasn’t afraid. I looked over at the figure and said, “I’m really sick” and a man’s soft, calming voice said to me, “I know and I’ve come to make you better.”
The man then reached down with both hands and started rolling my blanket down my body. Even when the man was bent over me I still couldn’t see his face but I still wasn’t afraid of him. As soon as he started rolling down the blanket I could feel the fever leaving my body. I looked at him and said “Oh that feels so good.”
The next thing I remember is waking up about 9:00 in the morning with the testament lying across my chest opened to the 23rd Psalm and having a strong urge to pee. So I wobbled to the bathroom and experienced the most excruciating pain I ever felt. I knew the abbesses had burst and the poison was draining from my body.
When the nurse came and I told her what happened she checked my temperature and my temperature was normal. My fever was gone. She couldn’t believe it. She went out and called the doctor who was looking after me. He came in my room and he too was shocked at my recovery. “We didn’t expect you to make it through the night,” he said to me.
I didn’t tell the doctor my experience because I didn’t think he would believe me. In fact at that time I didn’t even tell my family and my kids. I guess I kept it to myself because it was the most personal experience I had ever been through. But now with all the death and turmoil in our community I think it’s time. I’m a firm believer that we have to have faith in something or someone.
I was ready to go that night those 42 years ago. I had made my peace with God. To this day I don’t know why God chose to let me live, chose to save me. Why he answered my prayers. Over the years I have often pondered that question. I know other people in our community have had a near-death experience as well. Each of us has probably had a much different experience but we are all testaments that a higher power does exist.
Councillor Helen Miller