The Website of PMH AtwaterOne of the internet's most comprehensive sites on the near-death phenomenon!

One of the internet's most comprehensive sites on the near-death phenomenon!

Leah - Three Generations

Because I had severe asthma from the age of two, my childhood was full of hospitalizations, especially at ages seven and eleven. In those days (late 50s), longer hospital stays were normal and at eleven, (almost 12) had stayed for several months. One fall New England afternoon a resident from another country inserted an IV. He had chauvinistic attitudes and the nurses didn’t like him. One nurse set everything up and then explained that she wouldn’t be helping him, which made him very angry. Of course, I sided with the nurses, silently. Heard the nurses talking later that the proportions on the IV were wrong but they were going to let it run out. Have no idea what was in it.
It was getting dark when my mother came to visit. Abruptly, I was on a corner of the ceiling and could see my body on the bed below. Just as suddenly, I was on a dark river, in a boat rowed by a hooded boatman. It was night, cold and black. The waves hitting the sides of the boat slapped rhythmically and I could smell the river and feel the cold air. It was totally real and still gives me a cold chill in my heart. It was one of the most vivid and frightening experiences of my life. I knew I was leaving and didn’t want to go!
Then I was back in bed with my mother assuring me that she wasn’t leaving. Don’t know what I’d said but the nurses put the sides of the bed up. That seemed silly to me as I was safely back and felt such relief. Quickly, I learned not to speak about this. They sent in a psychologist (or something like that) the next day who really scared me. Had never heard of out-of-body experiences or near-death either, and no one would for decades more. Wasn’t even sure what had happened until reading PMH Atwater’s books, emailing her and getting her kind reply.
A few months after this trip down the river (Styx?) we moved to the Southwest. My health improved but always, in the back of my mind I was haunted by it. Put a lot of effort in the next years into acting like a normal teenager and hiding my differences. Became a passionate reader at seven and continued to read as a teen and beyond and pondered many things. School was easy in some ways because I’d read so much. In other areas I never really caught up. Actually, normal life seemed a bit boring to me, and empty. My real life was inside.
Always felt homesick for some place or time I couldn’t find. Perhaps that’s why I liked reading history and mythology. Searched for where I belonged and found it later in spirituality. There were other unworldly episodes as an adult during severe illness, but nothing as frightening or vivid as the one at eleven.

Now for the next generation---
My identical twin sons were born prematurely in the late 60s. They were a surprise—especially for the doctor—but I’d suspected and joked about having twins. The first born (elder by 5 minutes) struggled with hyaline -membrane disease, while the 2nd born was breech. The doctors weren’t sure they’d live but I was determined they would.
They were lively little fellows and had so many adventures they were in the ER often for stitches. They communicated with each other without speech and were a tremendous support for each other through the tumultuous 70s and in our tumultuous family.
The 2nd twin, David, became frail and suffered from a mysterious illness finally diagnosed as cancer of the liver when he was twelve. He matured remarkably in the last few months between diagnosis and his death at home.
His comments—such as, “I’m not sorry I have cancer, I’ve learned so much. Aren’t you glad you have asthma?” and “I want everyone to understand that I am happy and will be happy.” stunned me. Sometimes he’d lay there quietly and if I asked if her were bored he said, “No, ‘cause I have a lot to think about.” He made up poems and songs but wouldn’t tell me for fear of “showing off.” At my pleading he dictated his poem “Leaves.”

The leaf falls from the tree’s arm,
Doing loops and rolls in the autumn air,
And as it tumbles to the ground it sends a
small breeze gently over the green grass.
Not moving it,
Not disturbing it,
But quenching it,
Cooling it.
(Appendix A in A Special Kind of Love, Care of the Dying Child, by Robert W. Buckingham, 1983, Continuum Publishing Company, New York.)

He said his guardian angel’s name was Leaves, “with both meanings.” He was matter-of-fact about seeing her and about all he went through.
My elder son suffered greatly over the loss of his twin. He also faced the deaths of two best friends in accidents he witnessed in two tragic events in his teens. He had many bad accidents in sports for he’s a champion athlete.
Thank God for his wife and son. He had a long-term stable marriage and they’ve owned houses and created lovely homes wherever they live.
The 3rd generation, one of the new kids—
My grandson is unusual, almost driven, and in an academic high school with high standards is the top student. Now a junior, he’s had so many advanced placement classes he’s got the equivalent of two years of college. He said he wants to know. He seems to have a mission in life is preparing himself. We’re amazed.
For example: He heard about a University summer program last year for students interested in science. Few are chosen to attend. He wrote an essay none of us in the family have seen. A professor told his mom it was so good they sat around reading it aloud to each other. One professor about to leave the program stayed because of my grandson. So, he was a high school sophomore working alongside graduate students in a microbiology lab. With all this, and his passion for music, he’s matter-of-fact, more mature than we were at his age, and loving to his parents and me.
I am grateful to PMH Atwater for her books, which help me see where my sons, grandson and I fit and for the chance to express this.

NDE Cases