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Marsha G's ADC

Experience description:  

My son, Aaron, and I were very close.  He was so responsible, respectful, and loving.  I know that people say that after a young person has died, but a lot of other people say the same thing about Aaron.  He was a closet alcoholic.  Very few people knew that he drank.  I thought he had quit three years earlier but found out after his death that he just hid his drinking.  I had bought him a new truck on Labor Day.  On September the 9th, he came to visit me (he was a college student, working, with his own apartment) to bring me flowers because I wasn't feeling well.  When he left, he went to a party and started drinking.  Later, he drove into a fire hydrant and wrecked the front of his new truck.  He never went to school or work again but was trying to figure out a way to get the money to fix the truck without my having to know about it.  I know this because of notes by his phone with all the numbers he was calling to try to get a credit card.  On the evening of the 10th, he called me to ask how my kids were at school this new school term.  Then he asked if my friends would be there for me if I ever really needed them.  Everything in the conversation was about me.  When I would try to redirect to him, he would switch the focus back on me.  That wasn't that unusual, so I didn't see red flags at all.  The next day his answering machine was recording all of his conversations, so I know he tried to get help from someone in AA.  He went to a pawn shop to sell some of his things.  He wrote four letters - three to friends and one to me.  Mine came in the mail after I got home from placing some items in his casket.  That evening he went back to a different pawnshop and bought a shotgun.  He laid out his receipts for utilities, his keys, the title to his motorcycle on his kitchen table.  On his bedroom dresser, he spaced three pictures of the two of us together.  The police didn't touch them because they said it was obvious that those pictures were meant as a message.  He played Stairway to Heaven, pulled the string on his toe at the moment the song has a loud crescendo.  I obviously can't be sure of that, but no one heard a shotgun blast in nearby apartments, so I feel sure that he chose that song for that reason.  He called his friend just before he died to tell him to call the police because he didn't want me to find his body.  The friend called me and I arrived at the moment the police did.  They held me back but I saw their faces when they reached the bathroom.  Their necks twisted in a way that I didn't think was humanly possible.  They rushed back to me saying that it was too late.  When I hit the deck, I scraped my elbow.  For many years afterward, on September 11th, I had the same scrape on my elbow but it was under the skin.  As they were leading me down the stairs, lines from a poem came to my mind, "There's room in the halls of pleasure for a long and lordly train, but one by one we must all march on through the narrow aisle of pain."  I knew that, if there was a way to survive this, I would.  I waited for them to bring Aaron down.  There were so many people.  There were neighbors, police officers, and TV cameras.  The victim's service person got rid of the cameras for me.  I told the detectives that I wanted to touch Aaron.  They said no, but I insisted.  Since his head was missing, I was so disoriented by his body shape and remember being so afraid that I wouldn't find his hands under the sheet, so I reached down and held his foot which was still warm. 

     I spoke at my son's funeral.  There were so many young people there and I wanted to be sure that they understood how final death was and not glorify Aaron's death in any way.  I told them that he never meant to cause anyone pain, but only to end his own.  I said that I didn't intend to close myself in a dark room and think of all the things that might have been but instead to walk into the sunshine and let the brightness of that light intensify the beauty of all there was of life.  However, I walked into darkness for a very long time.  I didn't want to live anymore.  It took several years for me to find a new normal.

     Here is my "Spirit Vision".  I lay on my bed sobbing very loudly since it was the first time I had been alone.  My face was in the blanket so I wasn't seeing anything.  Then suddenly, while still facedown with my eyes closed, I saw what looked like a tent made of undulating wispy lines of what appeared to be smoke.  I will never forget the light because it was so warm and beautiful - not bright like florescent lights but more like a soft light.  It wasn't really the color of the light that struck me but the feeling I got.  I've described it as the kind of warmth that I feel when it's really cold outside and you're in a warm room with a lamp.  That doesn't really describe what I saw, but there aren't words to describe the feeling of the light.  At the same time, I sensed the most powerful love you could ever imagine - nothing like any kind of love experienced on this earth.  I knew that the wisps were looking at me, but they had not faces - nothing that would let me know that they actually were looking.  Yet I was certain.  Then one of the wisps pulled away and came toward me.  I knew it was Aaron and was so happy!  At about a half-way point, I could no longer see anything but felt Aaron's arms around me.  We were both crying and hugging each other so tightly.  Then there was a frantic conversation between us.  I never knew any of the words- not even when the vision ended.  Yet I am just as certain today as I was then that he was explaining things to me and I was arguing with him, begging him to come back to me.  Then I felt his arms letting go, and I pleaded with him not to leave me.  Suddenly I could see again and he was at that same half-way point.  He clearly said, "I will be back if you ever really need me."  He returned to the other spirits, for I knew that's what they were.  Without words, they communicated that their job was to teach Aaron something.  The vision ended.  I sat up, confused about what had just happened.  I questioned my sanity.  You would think that as clear as I was then and am now that he was safe and loved that I would have been at peace.  That was not the case.  I wanted to be with him.  I wanted him to take me with him. 

I have had other experiences with Aaron but some have become hazy.  Some are very, very clear.  The Spirit Vision has never changed.  I remember every detail to this day and am absolutely convinced that I was not hallucinating or losing my mind.  I saw my son that day.

At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?   No 

Was the experience difficult to express in words?  Yes     I can't describe the light or the feeling of love to the extent that it existed in that vision.  I can only compare it to things that I experience in this world but come up short and wish for words that could truly describe what I saw and felt.  I also have trouble explaining the spirits, the wisps of smoke with nothing about them that would make them recognizable, and yet I knew without a doubt that the one that came toward me was Aaron and the others were tasked with guiding or teaching him.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?    Before and after he had his arms around me.  During that time, I have no memory of any words that were said, just that he was explaining things to me.

How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness?      More consciousness and alertness than normal   I have trouble remembering the details of events that took place years ago.  I know the content but not the details.  I've never lost any of the details of this event.

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   That's hard to do.  There was an incredible depth of feeling involved that cannot be compared to that experienced in this life.  No matter what I'm experiencing, there are random thoughts that occur during the experience.  There were no thoughts - only feelings.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   This didn't involve my hearing really.  The only words I remember hearing spoken were the ones Aaron said when he left me, "I'll be back if you ever really need me."  I am not positive, but I think those weren't spoken aloud.  It's like everything during the experience was just transposed from the spirits to me.

Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body?   No  

What emotions did you feel during the experience?   I was beyond happy to see Aaron again.  It felt so good to have him hold me.  Yet I felt so distraught that he was leaving me again.  So parts of the vision were very peaceful.  When I felt his arms letting go, I felt such distress again.  

Did you pass into or through a tunnel?   No  

Did you see an unearthly light?   Yes   I've always heard that people who have had a near death experience see a brilliant white light.  Mine wasn't that white or bright and yet it was the purest, most beautiful light I have ever seen.  Nothing in this life compares to it.

Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice?   I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin

Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)?   No  

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings?   Yes   I only recognized my son.  I'm fairly confident that the other spirits felt great love for me, but I didn't feel any sense of recognition.

Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience?   No  

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world?   A clearly mystical or unearthly realm
I don't know exactly what was around us.  I never thought of that before.  There was just the beautiful light and a tent of wispy figures.

Did time seem to speed up or slow down?   Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
I honestly have no idea how long this really lasted except that it had to be awhile because my brother had just left to take my sister to the airport which was 20 minutes away.  Shortly after the vision, he returned.

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?   No

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?   No

Did you come to a border or point of no return?   No

Did scenes from the future come to you?  No 

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there either is (or is not) continued existence after earthly life (�life after death�)?   Yes   It was definitely clear to me that the spirits were Aaron's guides or teachers.  They were filled with love beyond earthly description and seemed to be reassuring me about their task with Aaron, only they did so without words.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist?   Yes   Part of the confusion for me afterwards was that this experience did not fit with my religious beliefs.  Without words, I knew that this was an experience not unique to Aaron, but that spirits guide.  I have never believed in purgatory (I'm not a very good Catholic), but did accept that when we die, we are judged and go either to heaven or hell.  Suicide would be a sentence of hell.  I know that's not true for Aaron because the love was too great from him and the spirits.  He was one of them and yet they were guiding him.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life�s meaning or purpose?   No   I have always had the impression without being able to point to evidence in the experience, that Aaron was explaining things to me.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life�s difficulties, challenges, or hardships?   Uncertain   I have always had the impression without being able to point to evidence in the experience, that Aaron was explaining things to me.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?   Yes   I've said it several times that there is no love on earth that can compare to what I felt in that vision.  I loved my son more than my own life, and yet that love was nothing compared to what I felt in my bedroom that day.

During your experience, did you encounter any other specific information / awareness that you have not shared in other questions that is relevant to living our earthly lives?   No  

Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose?   No  

What occurred during your experience included:   Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience   I was taught during my growing up years that when we die, we are just dead until Jesus comes back and calls everyone to judgment.  They were protestants.  I became Catholic later in life.

How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience?   I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience   The details of this experience have never dimmed.  Every other experience that took place years ago has.

Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:   I don't think this applies to me.  I was so distraught over losing my son and became so depressed that I planned to kill myself.  My sister called me to say that Aaron had come to her, touched her arm, and told her to give me a message.  He said, "Tell my mom that it's not her time."  He repeated that.  She was very affected by it.  I wasn't.  I was angry and told her that he should have thought of that before he killed himself.  It was that very day that I didn't go to work and was planning to kill myself.  My sister called my friends and I was sent to a hospital for three weeks.  My doctor said that he called a friend of his who specialized in trauma because I had a checkup in July and hormones were normal.  Aaron died in September.  By November, my hair had turned completely white and I was all the way through menopause.  I tell you that because so many changes were affecting me that I can't say if I was affected by the Spirit Vision other than it was a disquieting yet joyful experience.

My experience directly resulted in:  

Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience?  
Yes   I always suspected that there was more that we didn't understand because I had some experiences as a child, but after that day, I was certain that from the moment we die, we aren't alone, left in the grave waiting for judgement, or suffering penance.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?   I'll never forget the warmth and security of Aaron's arms around me.  I just wish I could know what we talked about.  I've tried so hard to remember.

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?   Uncertain   I saw Aaron clearly once after this.  The reaction of the person with me caused me to keep those things to myself.  I had other times when things happened or I had dreams etc. that were very different with clear details very like the vision.  Sometimes people ask how I knew something, but I don't see the future.  Well, one time I did.  On September 11, 2001, I went to my principal and told him that I wasn't sure I could make it through the day.  I told him that it was sadder than usual for me that day.  "In fact," I said, "American flags are flying at half mast everywhere.  I see a vast number of flags."  He came to my room a short time later and seemed very puzzled.  He said, "Somehow you knew.  The World Trade Center was just hit by a plane.  Flags will fly."

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?    
I'll never forget the warmth and security of Aaron's arms around me.  I just wish I could know what we talked about.  I've tried so hard to remember.

Have you ever shared this experience with others?  
Yes  It was a short time, maybe a couple of months before I told my sister.  I did start to tell my brother earlier, but he cut me off and told me that my grief caused me to have crazy thoughts.  My sister believed me and was curious but we don't talk about it anymore.  I've told my best friend, but that doesn't fit with her belief system, so, even though she's too polite to say so, I think she thinks I was just delusional.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?   Yes   I had heard that people say a bright light, but not much else.  It was only after my experience that I wanted to know much more about the subject.

What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened:   Experience was definitely real   It was far too powerful to be dismissed.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:   Experience was definitely real   This may seem that it is unrelated, but in my mind, it supports the reality of my experience.  When I was 19, I hated the idea of being that age and wouldn't tell my age if I could avoid it.  If pressed, I would say that I was going to be 20 next November even though it was November at the time and I had just barely turned 19.  I applied for a job as a checker in a grocery store and was told that I had to take a polygraph to get the job.  The examiner asked how old I was many time during the session.  He would ask what color shoes I was wearing and then immediately ask how old I was.  Then he would ask another question with an obvious answer and ask my age again.  When the session was over, he said he would have to see a birth certificate.  Since I had my paperwork with me in case I needed it for the job application, I showed it to him.  He shook his head and asked if there was some reason that I didn't want to be 19.  He said that every time I told my age, the machine said I was lying.  My son was born on November 19th, 1970 and died at the age of 19.  I had to have somehow unconsciously known that he would die when he was 19.  There is just no other explanation.  Things outside the realm of our earth bound thinking do exist.  I've had proof of that other times - mostly since Aaron's death.

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   I don't like to be very social.  I was always a people person before Aaron died.  Now I keep most people at a certain distance.  Yet I am very concerned with making my life count and helping people.  I was more judgemental before.  Now I rarely judge others.  I've opened my home to kids, usually troubled teenagers.  Right now I have one left at home who is a 17 year old junior.  People comment about my connection to young people, that I can get through to them when others can't.  I agree that I do have a gift for teaching, but I think they give me too much credit.  There have been only a few that I know I made a difference in their lives.

Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   I rarely go to church.  I don't like church.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience?   Uncertain   I had many dreams that were not ordinary dreams during the months following Aaron's death.  I used to wake up feeling an urgency to remember something, so started keeping a notebook by my bed.  One night I woke up and started writing, but it was very strange because I wasn't thinking of what I was writing.  It was like my hand was detached from my mind and I didn't know what I was writing.  It was two years before I could bring myself to look at that paper.  I think I kept it but don't want to look at it.

Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience?   If I hadn't watched to program, "Afterlife", I wouldn't be telling you this.  There's a part of me that hopes that you have so many people writing on this that mine will get tossed out.  It's almost too personal to share and yet there is part of me that would love to have validation.  The show I watched indicated that this has happened to others.  That's the first time I ever heard that something like this happened to someone without a near death experience.  When I was in the hospital, my doctor was wonderful and didn't push me to talk.  He encouraged me to play the piano, so I would sit and play and forget everything around me for a little while.  When I talked about the kinds of things I've written, they started talking about multiple personalities.  I think it would be handy sometimes to have an alternate ego, but there is just one of me.  Nothing since then has ever surfaced that would indicate otherwise.

Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?   Yes   Your questions allowed me to explain what I experienced. Please offer any suggestions that you may have to improve this questionnaire.  Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience?  

What could a national organization with an interest in near death experience (NDE) do that would be of interest to you?        I just want to know if this kind of event has happened to others.  Usually I just hear about seeing loved ones or Jesus.  People see shapes etc.  That's nothing like what I experienced.

Please offer any suggestions that you may have to improve this questionnaire.  Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience?                    No.