In July of 1972 I was 9 months pregnant and due anytime. The doctors were somewhat concerned because my blood pressure sky rocketed. I was put on bed rest and one evening I had a very potent dream. An angel appeared to me and said to me that all was going to be all right, that I would live.
At that time I interpreted this dream to mean that I would deliver the baby and that I would be all right. Lisa our third daughter was born very beautiful and full of good health.
But looking back several years later I realized the dream was telling me much more and that I would have eternal life, that I would survive even when I died. Being raised a Catholic, I believed in the Resurrection of Jesus but never really believed that I was good enough to resurrect with Jesus.
In 1974 after experiencing a very powerful Marriage Encounter weekend I had a dream-vision which changed my whole perspective on living. The 44-hour weekend was very enlightening, very moving, draining and most of all a significant moment in my life and my relationship with my husband, children, parents and the whole universe.
On the Friday following the Marriage Encounter weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, I put our 2 year Lisa down for a nap and still being tired from the week following our experience, I took a nap around 1:30 in the afternoon before going to work at 5:30 PM. Before falling asleep I asked myself why my step-dad Marcel (who died in October 1973) was so disillusioned with life and gave up on himself and the ones who loved him.?
At precisely 2:55 PM, 5 minutes before Donna and Joanne were scheduled to get home from school, I had the following experience. The answer came from deep deep inside of me My dad was hurting because no one chose to understand and listen to his feelings, his believes, his thoughts, no one really gave to him the understanding that he needed. Also within me the awareness that hurt is a very self-centered emotion and if you let go of hurt, love can grow again. Seconds after this knowledge came to me, I experienced a great love from my step-dad Marcel (died in 1973), followed by the same great love from my father Alfred (died in 1944 The Battle of the Bulge) and than a tremendous overwhelming love from God, my Father. Arms enveloping me all three together as one being.
Having been terribly afraid of death and not believing that I was good enough to receive eternal life, this experience gave me the answer to the question of life after life. At that same moment I was lifted above the couch, saw my nonmoving body on the couch, saw my funeral procession with my children, husband and tried to get up from the couch and could not until I truly believed that if I let go of my self-centeredness I would be free.
I immediately remembered that Lisa was napping and told myself that I needed to come back to take care of her. I came to just enough to notice that it was 2:55p m. When Donna and Joanne came home I was overwhelmed.
My Uncle Fern, unexpectedly came to see me, and I explained what happened, he told me that he had had a similar experience. Hearing him tell his story helped a little but after he left I called Dick and told him I was dying and to come straight home.
It took many years and numerous other dream-vision experiences for me to settle in a routine again with my family. Crossing over to the other side is very overwhelming, I am not the same person, my values, beliefs were almost turned upside down. Much that was important to me before took a different place in my life, like keeping the house spic and span, I was a bit of a neat freak but that took a back seat. My relationships took more meaning, especially my husband, children, my mom. I didn't care as much about what would people say if my house wasnt up to par, or if I didn't have the latest fashions or car. Owning a house wasn't that important and keeping up with the neighbors etc.
I took more risks and took over a religious bookstore and turned it into a pretty nice bookstore that grew leaps and bounds. Even after we second mortgaged our home it was a chance that I wanted to take to keep the bookstore open. Unfortunately, we closed the bookstore after 14 years because we just didn't have the capital to keep on going.
After my near-death experience, I looked for answers and luckily I found some wonderful authors who had written on these experiences. One of the best from Carl Jungs own near-death experience. After the first experience, I had a few others but it was just too much, after awhile I was afraid to close my eyes and go to sleep, I asked God not to continue because I had to get back to life and start living again, people were counting on me, so the visions left.
A few years later they would come back but not has frequent and I could better assimilate the dream-visions into my life.
In 1981 Dick had two heart attacks and in 1982 by-pass surgery. It was a very stressful time in the life of our family. Donna just graduating from high school didnt have her dad present and Joanne and especially Lisa were very afraid of their dad dying. Dick had a very determined mindset that he would beat this brush with death, and we were all given a second chance.
In 1993 Dick had angina and had to have the by-pass again, recovery was a little more difficult but he was a trooper and has a good outlook on life. Fortunately, for us he never went into depression but rose above it all, we are grateful for his faith and positive state of mind, it made it easier to go through these difficult times.
In May of 1995 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. People around were astonished at my rising above it all. Let me say that I was not afraid to die but still wanted to live, I had much to gain and everything to lose. Donna was pregnant with our first grandchild, Rachel who was born on Sept. 25, 1995, the apple of my eye. I had tremendous support at home, my children and my coworkers. I had started my new job in Jan. of 1995 and was determined not to take too much time off. I went through a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. The chemo was the worst because of nausea and the breaking down of my immune system. I wasnt pleased with the chemo and opted for only 3 months instead of 6 months, overstepping all my doctors advice. This I did knowing the consequences but also believing that if you destroy the immune system and you need it to fight cancer, it was and still is a paradox.
Since 1983 our family has taken nutritional supplements and I believe that made all the difference going through these years of stress and physical duress. After numerous biopsies and close calls I am cancer free but the tension is there every time I have a mammogram. Being at peace is something I have to work at every day. My daily mantra is: Be still and know that I AM.
DEATH AS BIRTH
by Rev. Nelson Boucher
The most important moment of life is the moment of death.
For those alive with the life of God, death means birth to new life.
"For those who believe life is changed, not ended", claims the preface.
By dying "we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven."
Death is the traumatic experience of birthing to a new life.
There is no new life without a form of dying;
Whether it be on the physical, mental or spiritual level.
Jesus teaches that the grain of wheat must die for the sake of new life.
Physical death is leaving the human way of measuring time and space;
And entering into God's immeasuraable NOW.
We are conceived in time by the co-creating action of parents and God.
We are delivered into God's hands at our last human breath.
Our parents provide the genes, God provides a spiritual breath.
The life given by parents will know death as does that of all creatures.
The breath provided by God will live eternally.
When we shed our body-home, a glorified body-home awaits us.
Paul attests that if we die with Christ, we will live with him.
For Paul, "to live is Christ and to die is gain". Phil. 1:21).
Symbolically, we were buried with Christ in the waters of baptism.
Effectively, we follow Christ through death to a new risen life.
God's plan is as beautiful as it is simple. It expresses His love.
God's breath has a way of outgrowing homes on it's way back to Him;
First, a mother's womb encompassing new life like a tabernacle;
Then, the male or female body-home until we are called back to God.
While in a mother's womb, a child cannot be cajoled to hurry birth.
While in our body-home not even Jesus can convince us of life beyond.
We have a natural fear of barriers and the greatest of these is death.
Yet it is good for the baby to be born; it is good for the believer to die.
Why do people fear the word "death" and the experience of dying?
Why expressions like, "expired" or "passed away" instead of "died"?
It is good for the breath of God to retrace its origin to the Breather.
It is good of us to follow Jesus in death as we followed him in life.
"Heaven": Interview with Barbar Walters 12-20-05