Is it Worth Suffering a Brain Injury for the Experience of Having a Near-Death Experience (NDE)?

“What happens after death is so unspeakably glorious that our imagination and feelings do not suffice to form even an approximate conception of it.”Carl Jung

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The term near-death experience was popularized in the best-selling book Life After Life by Raymond Moody, Ph.D., M.D.  This book was a favorite of mine and of my late husband Bill. I have always had a strong interest in NDEs because I heard so many stories about them when I was working as a Trauma Stress Specialist. People who had experienced an NDE always did so during incredibly stressful moments, moments when they were clinically dead, and yet they spoke of the wondrous things that had happened during the experience and the lasting beneficial effects the incident had on them in spite of the physical pain and suffering that often provoked the experience. One of the reasons Bill had a strong interest in the subject was that he had his own near death experience in 1961.

Drawing of a Near Death Experience

Bill’s experience began when the vehicle he was riding in hit a light pole. He was thrown through the windshield and landed on his head on the pavement. Bill suffered serious burns to his back from lying on the scorching hot pavement (It happened in Fresno, CA, on a day when the temperature was 110 degrees) and a portion of his skull was crushed. When Bill’s skull hit the pavement, he suffered a traumatic brain injury. He also ceased breathing for a period of time, his heart stopped beating, and he had to be resuscitated. The near-death experience happened while he was being taken to the hospital. Although he was successfully resuscitated within 10 minutes, the injury to his brain caused him to remain in a coma for several weeks. Continue reading