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Jeffrey - Childhood Distressing NDE

Updated, 11/6/14

My Childhood Distressing NDE, April 26, 1977, Age 12

He stood in the hallway pointing a gun at me. It was my father’s 38 caliber revolver. He had that stupid evil grin on his face, and it put fear in me, the kind of fear I’d grown to know from all the bullying that went on in my household...’why would he do that, it’s one thing to play with an actual gun when he wasn’t supposed to, but why is he pointing it at me’…then a flash of orange came from the end of it, I felt a hot stinging feeling in my left side, then my ears were ringing. I was confused, shocked, by what I felt and heard. I instantly turned and ran to the back of our bedroom by the window where light was coming in, and I looked down at my left side…’why is my hand on my side?, I didn’t put it there?, why is it red and warm? I pulled my hand away it registered---I was bleeding, and bleeding A LOT.

I felt the warm blood leaking down my side, inside my pants, down my leg. Then panic, fear, and an explosion of emotions beyond words hit me all at once…’ he shot me!, I’m shot!, being shot means dying!, I’m going to die! body sprang into motion running down the hall past him as he reached out to grab me. I ran down the stairs, across the house, out the back door, and across the back yard toward the neighbor’s house. As I made it to the large set of trees between our yards, I became aware he was behind me and running toward me. I ran as fast as I could but my legs felt heavy, I felt dizzy and hot.

Standing in front of the screen door looking into my neighbor’s house I saw my neighbor, a school friend and classmate, staring back at me. I yelled, “help me”!...and burst into his house to show him my bleeding side.

Things became blurry, my mind felt overloaded with panic, I could no longer make sense of what was going on around me, but I recall seeing four things:

My friend handing me a wash cloth to put on my side.

My friend on the phone as he stretched the phone cord around the corner of a wall so he could look at me while he was talking on the phone.

My brother (or so I thought) sitting on the sofa with a scared and wincing look on his face.

Seeing the colors orange and white through the front door of my neighbor’s house as he stood at the door.

…’that’s the ambulance!, the ambulance is here, they are orange and white, they must be here for me’!

With a cold metal feeling against the entire back side of my body, I began to fall backwards. My entire body fell, as if I was falling ‘flat’ from a laying down position vs falling over from a standing position. I reached and reached to stop my fall…to grasp…grasp anything…but I couldn’t find anything to grab and hold. My fall was into complete blackness. My eyes kept looking around but there was nothing to see. Then a great struggle ensued…’I have to stop myself from falling’! felt as if it would last forever. Struggling turned to panic and panic to fear as I continued falling…’when will I stop falling! when will I hit the bottom!, when I hit bottom I’m going to be hurt, I’ll die, and no one will know I’m down here’!

It became a cycle of struggle, to panic, to extreme fear, and back to struggle, all in complete blackness, a complete void, while feeling I was falling faster and faster and faster.

I didn’t hit bottom. I stayed in that ‘falling’ feeling. It was perpetual, black, a complete void; I don’t recall breathing, not breathing, or trying to breath. I recall trying to see, but no light or object would appear. I recall thinking…’it doesn’t hurt now, my side doesn’t hurt, my body doesn’t hurt’…but I couldn’t reach my side to touch it or lift my head to see it, and I became aware it’s because my body wasn’t there. I was very confused and afraid…’how can I be falling with no body’?

Then I became aware of what I’ve described to my wife for many years, after a nightmare, as my “blob”. A black murky tumbling cloud-like blob of blackness seemed to come for me. It was shapeless, yet seemed to have edges and borders…it was in steady motion moving ever toward me as I struggled against the feeling it was reaching for me, coming for me. Yet I felt my struggle was pointless. I felt helpless, and hopeless. Overwhelming fear welled up inside me and I began to scream as loud as I could with hopes of being heard, and saved, from this blob of blackness and feeling of falling….’the fright is so strong, the fall endless, I feel loneliness, guilt, fear, shame, hopelessness, helplessness---any negative feeling I’d ever experienced was there, intensified as if the volume was turned to high, and those emotions were yelling at me…this was forever, forever is here, now I know what forever really was…why can’t anyone hear my screams, stop the blob from getting me, no one to catch me and stop my fall, nothing left, this must be what dying feels like, I’m dead’.

The tear of my clothing, and cold metal against my leg made me aware again….’why were my jeans being cut away with scissors and why was my shirt being ripped off me!? back was on something cold and metal, yet I felt something warm and wet against my skin. I was aware of my body again and a new kind of panic set in. I struggled against everyone touching me and felt hands holding me down as clothes were being cut and ripped off me. I lifted my head and opened my eyes and realized the room was a medical room and a bright spot light was on me. People were running all over the room, and a voice was talking to me…”you’re going to be okay, we have to put some things in you to help you get better, lay still”. I felt a tube going down the back of my throat and inside my belly, and I wondered why my nose hurt so much when it went inside me. Then a burning and stinging feeling in my penis made me yell and lift my head up to look. A hand was stretching my penis straight up and shoving a tube INSIDE the hole where my pee came out! The top of my hands had needles and tubes stuck in them and tape was holding them in my hands---and it HURT! Everything HURT!

I realized I was in a hospital, and the people running around, talking real fast, yelling things at each other, were nurses. One of them pushed me down to the table and I felt the warm wet blood squish against my back---again. I heard some type of noise start, like a machine was turned on, and my throat felt funny like I was going to gag, but I didn’t. I lifted my head again to look toward my feet, and I recall two things:

Seeing black stuff flowing through the tube that was shoved into my stomach…’those are the chocolate Girl Scout cookies I ate for my after school snack’

Sitting in a chair against the wall at the end of the table I was laying on, looking as calm as could be, the smiling face of a local doctor. He was unforgettable---he was the only person from India living in our small Michigan town of 3,000 people.

I don’t recall being loaded in an ambulance, but I do recall waking up in one as we bounced down the highway, going fast, and sirens wailing. I was told we were going to a larger hospital approximately 45 minutes away. The doctor was beside me, other medical people at my other side. I recall that ambulance ride clearly because it HURT! Every bump we hit, every turn, every movement---my entire body hurt.

At the larger hospital I remained more aware of my surroundings. I heard people talking about me…a lot of talk about me. My mother was there, doctors, nurses, pouring over charts, papers, everyone staring at me and the occasional visit by a person wearing medical clothes coming to my side….then lifting up the bandage to look. Firearm related hunting accidents were not uncommon in the area I grew up in, but it’s not every day a 12 year old boy is shot at close range with a handgun, and lives.

I recall my mother and a couple of doctors came to the little room I was in and explained the bullet hit and destroyed my spleen, shattered a rib as it exited my body, potentially damaged other organs, and caused severe bleeding inside my body. Surgery would be performed immediately to explore for damage and clean me out.

I recall the green tiles of the surgery room, and I recall wondering…’what is a spleen’? Then a man with a surgery mask on his face put a clear plastic mask on my face. With soothing voice said, “breathe this in, we’re going to fix you right up”.

When I woke up, I was strapped down. My wrists, my ankles, my chest, all strapped to a bed and I panicked trying to get free. A nurse calmed me and told me I was in intensive care, I’d be okay, but I had to rest and be still. I hurt EVERY WHERE. Tubes and wires were all over me, everything ached and throbbed, especially my stomach and side, and I was horrified. I was bewildered, scared, and fed up with people being around me and poking at me. I wasn’t sure how long I was there, but I recall being moved to a hospital room on a different floor.

After a painful ride down hallways, an elevator, more hallways, and into a room, I was in great pain again, exhausted, and trying to get my mind caught up to what had happened. I began to have clarity of thought and attempted to process my situation. Here’s what I came up with:

I had been shot, with a REAL gun, by my brother-the-bully, and some how it felt like I died……but……’oh my god, what happened to me’?! I couldn’t connect the dots. I didn’t know what to think. I knew it was a horrible place, but the pain in my body had stopped. It was a horrible thing, I knew it, and felt it…what happened to me was horrible, where I went was a horrible place, but the unbearable pain of my body was gone in that place. And it suddenly hit me that what happened was…’wrong…horribly wrong---and it happened to ME’. Fear came over me like a wave.

I could tell by the light in my room evening was coming soon. It was getting darker. Everyone had left my room, I was in extreme pain again, and feeling completely alone, scared, and mentally overloaded. I was done. The pain, the entire situation, was just too much to handle. I was done. DONE. I wanted to die. I didn’t care how horrible it was before---I didn’t want to feel my body anymore---and I didn’t want to live having to face people, and face all the horrible things that happened to me.

I asked God to take me that night. I hurt, I sobbed, and begged,…’God, if you’re real, you’ll take me now and make this go away, I give up, I can’t take it, I want out, I’m done’….those thoughts echoed in my mind and I began to feel myself falling asleep.

I was shocked when I woke up. I felt wonderful! I felt an overwhelming sense of optimism, and I was happy! I opened my eyes but couldn’t see much. All I saw was light….everything was bright, a glow, not a direct light, it was a glowing white light. I was rubbing my eyes so I could see better, but it was just a lot of light in my eyes as I rubbed. Someone came in my room, I think two people….”wake up sleepy head; it’s time to wake up”. They were glowing, the bed was glowing, the walls glowed, the chair glowed, and everything seemed bright and happy. And---my body didn’t hurt anymore!

One of them walked over to the window and let up the shade. The morning light poured into the room and I rubbed my eyes some more. The bright light in my eyes faded to a more normal kind of light from the window, and I could see the room, objects, and people, more clearly.

I felt…GREAT…and no idea why.


My brother admitted he found the gun unloaded, but decided to look for ammunition, and loaded one round. A game of “Russian Roulette”? I lost his game, and didn’t even know I was playing.

He graduated high school, enlisted in the Navy, and went AWOL shortly thereafter. He was arrested, taken back to his ship, and then released. Alcohol, drugs, and party-time became his ‘thing’ and pushing all that on other people became his life. Friends he made along the way dropped by the wayside due to personality conflicts. He was arrested in a law enforcement sting operation for selling drugs. He’s a convicted felon. His personality became manipulative as people in his life came, and went. He married a young single mother with two daughters. He became controlling and bullied her, and her daughters, and his bully-persona ran their household. The short lived marriage ended with her escaping from him, and the entire drama played out that she “abandoned” him. My gut instinct told me different, but I didn’t listen at that time. I recently learned he’d arranged an aggressive bullying-type-sexual-fantasy in which his wife was raped and sodomized by another man---as he watched---and she was NOT a willing participant. She planned, plotted, and then escaped with her daughters and their belongings. He stalked her for a brief time, and then gave up. She protected her daughters from him, re-married; and together they raised the girls to become amazing young women. Soul searching, and acceptance, helps her deal with the rape.

My father had been called at work, and drove to meet the ambulance. I saw his face as I was unloaded and wheeled into the emergency room of the larger hospital. The look on his face said it all. He was devastated---absolutely crushed. He did it right, he taught us well. Every safety course, every instruction about mechanization of a weapon, every element of responsibility was taught, acknowledged, and practiced. He respected and trusted his sons, and expected responsibility in return. I was age 12, my brother 2 years older---he knew better. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he loaded that gun.

My family unit didn’t change much after the shooting. Talk of guns or hunting became taboo. No one ever brought up the topic of me being shot. I stopped trying to talk about it. I’m not sure how a 12 year old boy that survived what I survived figures out how to “talk about it”, but I certainly had a barrier up the few times I approached the subject. It was met with equal barrier. Everyone just did the best they could to return to ‘normal’. I had so many questions…and no answers to any of it. The bullying continued. I fought back more, to be bruised more too, but I did fight back.

From April 1977 until he passed away, the doctor from India was the only doctor my father would visit for his medical matters. My father died in May of 1983, age 43, of a heart attack. He, too, lost a game he didn’t know he was playing.

From my NDE forward, I began a slow and methodical disassociation with my family and began to see they were not what I should be defining as ‘family’. Family was out there somewhere else, maybe not on earth?...but it was certainly not in that house, with those people…I knew that for sure. My father and I were the closest, but he passed away 3 months after I turned 18. What little bond was there with the rest of them weakened, and two decades have passed since I last saw them. I don’t miss them.

My mother coddled my brother throughout his adult life, to present day as far as I know. Medical bills, living expenses, free loading, it became the norm. Such is the life of a bully left unchecked. It was evident to me she became afraid of him. I recall an argument between them, after my father passed away; he hit her with a vacuum cleaner. I guess that did it? I guess that was the point she decided he ‘needed her’…she needed to fix him? Attempts by me to intervene and break the dysfunction were met with debate and argument.

I grew tired of it quickly. I wanted to live my life, and I left for college. I was never a good student in high school...too preoccupied with day dreams and pondering the essence of life I guess. I clawed my way into a university after 2 semesters of community college. I was a “transfer student”---a perfect fit for me! I married young (another perfect fit for me) and we both graduated. A boyhood dream I once had to fly---to fly military jets---was becoming a daily thought. Educated, in debt, and eyes wide open, off we went into the world.

My Air Force career and transient lifestyle kept me moving and allowed me to conveniently lose touch with nearly everyone from ‘that’ part of my life; however, recently I contacted my neighbor...the one I ran to for help.

We had a great conversation, and I asked specific questions about that day. He recalled many details. How he couldn’t get me to sit still…I kept wandering around, like I was afraid to sit down...afraid to stop moving. He offered a rocking chair for me to sit, and I refused, stating, “I don’t want to bleed on it”. He finally got me to sit down on their sofa. I kept ‘falling asleep’ he said. He continued talking to me to keep me awake, but I remained drowsy.

Of greatest interest---he stated my brother was never in his house. My brother ran from his side door to a local school a few blocks away to get my mother who was hosting a Girl Scout meeting.

The boy I saw wincing on my neighbor’s sofa wasn’t my brother, it was me. Hearing his side of the story brought even more memories back. Based on things I saw, and the perspective from which I saw them, I was out of body during much of my time in his house.

Oddly, looking back, during that period of our youth we (my brother and I) looked a lot alike. Not like twins, but wearing similar haircuts at that time, we looked very similar.

As he continued the conversation, it became evident I was standing at his front door next to him as the ambulance arrived, even though I recall seeing it from behind the door---seeing the daylight of the doorway, then seeing orange and white in the distance through the front screen door.

The EMS vehicle was orange and white as my neighbor recalled…he stated I stepped from his front door to the porch to meet the EMTs with their equipment as they rolled up the sidewalk next to the steps. My neighbor recalled the ‘stretcher’ as a metal gurney.

I have no memory, other than falling asleep while sobbing, of the night in my pediatric room when I asked God to take me and end my misery.

I healed quickly. Though rarely an issue, pain was easy to deal with. Doctors and nurses of the pediatric floor were surprised how fast I healed, and I was ready to get out of that place within a few days, however, they wouldn’t let me go. I was discharged at two weeks, completely healthy, happy and ready to go back to school. They wouldn’t let me go back to school right away as I needed more rest at home…so they told me…‘but why’?...

Follow up medical appointments were mostly with our family doctor. Everyone in the office was surprised how fast my body normalized. Finally, I returned to school. It was bitter sweet.

Regardless the teasing about my scars in the boys’ locker room, and living in a small town with the “shame” that comes from such an unusual incident, I remained optimistic about my life. I viewed myself as above all of those people, felt more mature than they acted, any attempt at seriousness by anyone toward me was laced with my sense of humor. I was different than everyone; I knew it, felt it, but no way to explain it. Somehow, I had to learn to fit in. I became an expert at finding coping mechanisms for day to day life, and I also developed an odd sense of intuitive awareness.

Simple things like playing snow-ball-fight with friends….no one could ever hit me from behind because I somehow ‘saw’ them coming and I ducked…and….‘knowing’ a deeply personal story told by a college friend was a complete lie as to save face, then learning a few months later I was right about what really happened…and, being known in my USAF career for excellent split second judgment that save me, and my aircraft, on several occasions. I became an excellent flight instructor because I could ‘see’ what the students were thinking, and help them at their level, where they needed it most.

I became the ‘people-watcher’ type person when in a crowd...I could see the little glow of energy around and between people, and it fascinated me. As a young boy, I had no knowledge of auras or any other metaphysical concept, but I knew what I was seeing was real. Years later, I stopped paying attention, but with the help of my wife (of 30 years, and best friend through all the years of dealing with this issue) I learned it was aura energy I was seeing. Today, when I concentrate, I can see an aura.

My entire life since my NDE, I can feel energy from people and I have to be very careful to avoid negative energy situations. My current occupation in a public education alternative education program has brought a greater sense of awareness it seems. I see the troubled students come and go, but I’m also seeing their energy…the good, the bad, the ugly. I’m becoming sensitive to energy again.

The shooting left me without a spleen. Inside me are two metal staples holding the blood supply ‘ends’ together. Scar tissue surrounds them now. I wear three distinct scars: a long vertical abdomen scar from surgery, a bullet entry hole, and an exit hole. My other scars, and gifts, as life continues to teach me, aren’t visible.

To this day, I can’t eat chocolate Girl Scout cookies. Also, when I close my eyes to calm my mind and sleep, the lights are still there. They are now more organized and I can sometimes ‘control’ them. I look deeper and deeper to see even farther away pinheads of light that blossom to swirling clouds of light. I call it my kaleidoscope. It’s like a kaleidoscope of white light inside my eyes.

The dichotomy for me is about 3 or 4 times per month since the day I was shot and died, deep sleep also puts me in that place of darkness again. Those fears, those emotions, the black tumbling of darkness seemingly reaching for me, the fear and utter emptiness that causes me to scream and beg for an escape still happens. There seems to be no predictor, no set of circumstances that may or may not take me to that place, however, that place is still very much a part of me. As I acclimate to alternative education in the public sector, I’ve had fewer nightmares, and I’m not sure why. The month of October was free of nightmares, and I’m thrilled about that!
I pursued and accomplished every goal I set for myself, paid for my own education and became the first college graduate in my ‘family’. I fulfilled my dreams to be a military jet pilot, and retired in 2011 as a USAF Officer and fighter pilot, with over 25 years service.

My USAF retirement physical included a chest X-Ray…and findings of several tissue masses in my chest; the largest mass is against my heart. I have no idea why, but I was never really worried about what the tissue masses were. I was informed of the test results during an errand, told to “rush to the hospital, the imaging department is waiting for you”. After the tests, and seeing the sad looks on the faces of the imaging techs, I rode my motorcycle home to tell my wife about the tests. It never dawned on me I could be in serious medical trouble…it just didn’t seem “bad”. Whatever was going on didn’t feel bad to me. After much panic and worry by medical staff, further medical testing and evaluation showed the masses are spleen tissue. Three of the little spleens next to my left lung seem to have blood supply as does the largest-little spleen next to my heart. Together, they behave as a fully functioning organ.

Thoracic Splenosis is the medical name for my condition, and organ auto-transplantation is the process by which it happened. It seems the bullet impact, and follow on surgery, caused microscopic fragments of spleen tissue to make their way around my chest cavity, take root, and grow. Medical science believes these spleens existed my entire life after April 1977, but an initial chest X ray when I entered USAF service reveals no tissue masses. Less than 50 documented cases since the late 1800s make it a very rare condition. Oddly, my annual blood work always shows perfect numbers, and I rarely get sick. It’s as if my little spleens work over-time to compensate for the original being removed---maybe they behave as a super-blood-filtering-mechanism? Doctors have stated my overall spleen-function is likely higher than an original spleen given how the human body biologically compensates in situations such as mine.

Those medical findings took me on a journey of inquiry, and I found an original medical record from April 1977:

”…..was then taken to the Gladwin hospital and initial evaluation and resuscitation done by Dr. XXXXXXX”….. (Name blanked by author for privacy)

My wife, an experienced RN, read the record and said, “Dude, you died”….then handed the record to me. When I read those words my mind flooded with memories, images, words, thoughts, and fears. For all those years I knew what had happened, but never put it in present day context until I read the actual medical event in that original record. So many things began to make sense to me. I launched into an inquiry via email and phone calls.

I contacted the doctor that saved me. We chatted, and although retired from medicine now, he didn’t seem surprised about my little spleens. When I asked him about the word “resuscitation” in my original medical record, he was silent…then said, “we all did what we could for you, the rest was in God’s hands”.

Contact with a former EMS supervisor involved with the call bringing me to the hospital reluctantly recalled some detail….similar to what the doctor said, and then stated EMS records from that era were destroyed long ago. It was obvious he was uncomfortable discussing details, so I didn’t press him. It didn’t matter---we both knew what happened.

Contact with nurses from that time period resulted in conversations with two that were there. They recalled the incident with clarity, and mimicked what the doctor told me. They added, “the doctor was our only ER certified doctor at the time, when he left with you in the ambulance we questioned him because what if another emergency came in!...he said he didn’t want to lose you, and that he’d risk leaving the ER to make sure you survived the ambulance ride”.

No one called it. No one told me they called it…’time of death is’…’dead for XX minutes’…etc. They did what they could, and the rest worked out. When discussing this with my wife, it’s likely the ER folks didn’t give up on me because I was a child. “They don’t give up on children until they absolutely have to”, she said, “They just don’t”.

I’m glad they didn’t call it.


Austin Texas

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