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The Precious Truth

I'm sorry all. I know I said I would try to condense it, but I just can't. I just can't cut out anything I said here. It isn't my job to "tell the story" I guess. Betty told my story almost exactly in her wonderful book. It has been my "job" of sorts to relay the messages I got in my NDE. Not to retell the experience but to retell, over and over and over again, what I learned. And I'm sorry, but I just have to say what I have said here in 11 pages! LOL LOVE. Please, learn how to love with all your being. It is the only thing that matters.


In reading the surgeon and physician’s reports, I cracked up laughing:

Surgeon C. D. Hearn 11/12/91 Right thoracotomy tube inserted with moderate difficulty, 500 mg Tetracycline injected through tube. Patient had a vague reaction with pulse of 37 which rapidly decreased. Tetracycline was removed sooner than desired because of this.

Attending Physician K. M. McKarrol 11/12/91 Rt. thoracotomy tube applied. 500 mg Tetracycline injection, patient exhibited anaphylactic shock with decreasing pulse and B.P. Patient briefly expired. Recovery thorough.

"Patient briefly expired"!!!! What was that supposed to mean? "Patient passed gas"! Oh, if they only knew how good it felt to break wind!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL! I knew. When the tetracycline hit my lung, it felt as if my body was on fire and it was spreading. I came straight up off the table, looked into the doctor's face and screamed, "you're killing me, I'm going to die." I'm sure I did this, I thought I did, I remember it as clear as day, but he looked at me with this stern face and said, "It's just the tetracycline going into your lung. It will stop in a minute." I fell back and thought, "How can this guy ignore me. I know I'm going to die, and he won't listen to me."

The tightness in my chest was overwhelming, as if a giant hand had reached in, grabbed my heart and started squeezing and twisting at the same time (cardiac arrest). I was on fire from the inside out and now my heart was being crushed. I stared at the monitors thinking, if I stare long enough, it will make them look, they will see that something is wrong inside my body, and they will stop this.

All of a sudden, I thought, "No, I'm going to die...." and it was very calm. I didn't feel panicked or afraid, just very serene and calm as I watched the blood pressure monitor and the pulse rate drop. It was all so slow motion. I just watched the numbers dropping and I remember thinking, "Can't they see, can't they see what's happening? I'm dying, and they don't even know it."

Then the monitor flat-lined, and I will never forget that sound as long as I live in this body. It was frightening, but at the same time, it was like a confirmation, and an invitation. I heard the alarm go off, and it was if it was saying, "Yes Tina, now you are dead. Now you can go." It was all so strange. I remember thinking, as I felt the tetracycline spread through my chest and my heart begin to feel squeezed, that I wanted out of my body. I felt like I was mentally trying to claw my way out of my own skin. I know it sounds stupid, but I was begging for someone to let me out of my body, because the pain was so intense.

And then, suddenly there was no pain. There was nothing. But for a brief moment, I felt the doctors panic when I heard the nurse scream, "Oh my God, she's dead!" I just felt calm and peaceful for a moment as I thought, "Yes, I tried to tell him that, but he wouldn't listen to me." It really sounds stupid. And as I was leaving my body, I was trying to reassure the nurse, "No, I'm not dead, I'm right here, can't you see, I'm right here."

Then it was me who felt rather stupid as I realized I could see my own body lying on the bed. And I could see the nurse, the doctor, the other attendants in the room, and I realized I was looking down at them.

I felt an "Uh, oh, maybe I am dead," kind of sensation. And then the whooshing entrance...........the experience itself.

Then it seemed like I was floating, not walking but just moving away through a tube or a very narrow passageway. I don’t recall moving “towards” a light, but being IN a light, a very bright, white light that just seemed to get brighter the farther I moved away.

I began remembering parts of my life, not like seeing pictures, but living them over again in a very fast, short way. It was as though I was living the experiences of other people I had known or come into contact with during my life. It was as if I knew exactly how they thought and felt at those very moments. I felt how I had made them feel in a given situation, and at the same time, I felt my own resulting feelings from the event. The "hell" that I experienced, was the pain, anguish, hurt and anger that I had caused these others, or that I suffered as a result of my actions/words to others. "Hell" was what I had "created" for myself and my own soul through turning my back on unconditional love, compassion and peace, either towards myself or towards others in my life.

Perhaps, as many have said, NDE is not Death. Perhaps it is not "going all the way," and perhaps when I "die" and do "go all the way," I will know some other version of "hell". But for now, in this life, this time around, with what I learned in my NDE, I am quite satisfied to accept my belief that "hell" is of my own creation and choosing. If I choose to be hateful, hurtful, uncompassionate, unempathetic, unforgiving of myself and of others, then I can choose to live in the ensuing hell that I will feel and know in my heart and soul through those actions. I have felt it, since my NDE. Every time I have hurt someone or not tried with my heart and soul to be loving and forgiving of them, I have had the horrendous "reliving" of the PAIN and hurt I felt during my "life review". And this has just absolutely made me want to rip my heart out of my chest.

So many have said that that "life review" process was also my own conscience and ego, and many have tried to convince me that it was a creation of my own mind. Maybe it was. Maybe the LOVE I felt "standing at my side" forgiving me, and reassuring me that my "heaven" was in forgiving myself and learning how to love again, maybe that too was just wishful thinking or a figment or creation of my own mind. Even if it was, I know I cannot STAND, cannot BEAR the pain I felt during my review that I had inflicted on others. There are no words adequate to describe it. I have had my chest cut open, my ribs broken, I have been stitched from one side of my body to the other. I have been shot, stabbed and received all manner of physical abuse, and I would CHOOSE all of these physical inflictions again over EVER having to feel the pain I caused others—the pain I felt during that life review. THAT was hell. Period.

As my experience continued, it seemed as though I knew all kinds of things and feelings that I had never learned or experienced in my life. It was at one time like standing in the largest library in the world and knowing the contents of every book without having to read them. I just KNEW. And I knew what a glorious experience this was and how it would change my life. It was warm and calm and peaceful and felt like happiness. There simply are not words to describe it. I wanted to keep floating away, as it just seemed to feel better the farther I went.

Then it was as if I had to make a choice to return to my body or to stay. But I knew I couldn't stay. I felt guilty and confused, wanting to be with my daughter, but not wanting to go back through that tunnel—for if I did go back, it meant I couldn't stay in that "light". But I had to go back, I had things to do. I didn’t know exactly what they were, but I knew my daughter was waiting for me, and I had things I had to do. I felt so confused and frustrated.

The return was almost the same: the whooshing sound and sensation of being sucked back through that same "tunnel". And then I opened my eyes, and that jerk doctor was saying my name, and I felt like it was a curse. I just wanted him to shut up! "How DARE you say my name," I wanted to say, "how DARE you call out to me!" I was furious. My body felt disgusting, like it weighed a ton and was slimy and filthy, and I didn't want to be in that cold, awful shell. I was so furious with him for what he had done to me. What that was, I wasn't completely sure, but then for him to "pull me back" as I felt he had surely done. Oh, God, I was so angry—you have no idea.

When I was finally left alone, I was dazed and confused, cold and hot at the same time. It felt as if every hair on my body was standing on end. My mother was the first person allowed into the room to see me. I wanted her, I was calling to her in my mind, begging for her to come and hold me, wrap me up in her arms and assure me that I was here, like an anchor, to hold me down. I can't explain this need. When she entered the room, I saw the look on her face, and I started to cry. She was terrified. The look on her face was horror. And then I knew. I knew something bad had happened to her, and she was terrified. She stepped to the side of my bed and reached out to take my hand, and I whispered, just as she was taking my hand, "Mom, I died." And as she made contact with my hand, she pulled back, clutched her hand to her chest and backed away from the bed. I will never forget the look on her face, or the way she stepped back from me as long as I live. I wanted to scream. I wanted her to hold me so bad, and she couldn't bring herself to even touch me. She didn't touch me again for almost 5 years. (My mother and I finally talked about this. Three weeks ago, when we finally had our talk. I understand now, how terrified she had been. She hadn't known what to think when she walked in that hospital room. She had never seen anyone the color that I was. She said it was as if I had NO color. Not white, not gray, but like she was looking at a ghost, and she was just absolutely terrified. She was also terrified at almost losing her only child, and she never, ever, wanted to think about that again or talk about it again.)

My husband was next, and when he walked in, he just looked dazed. Confused. As if he had no idea what had just happened. He knew something had happened, he knew it was not right or normal, but he was just dazed and confused. I reached for him, still needing someone to hold me, to make me feel "grounded," but he wouldn't even come near the bed. I never told him how I felt, never told him how his reaction made me feel. But today, in retelling it all to John, it made my heart ache all over again to remember how BADLY I needed one of them, my mother or him, to just hold me. To make me feel like I was still here. To "anchor" me to this life and this body. The fact that neither one of them would even touch me almost devastated me.

It was weeks later, after I was at home, that I tried to tell my husband what happened in that room. About the glorious and beautiful part, what I saw and what I learned. He couldn't listen, wouldn't listen, didn't want to hear, and all I ended up doing was sitting and crying for days. I didn't try to tell him again. It wasn't until weeks later that I finally went to the minister at our church and talked to him. But this wasn't a lot of help. I went to a psychiatrist, sure I had lost my mind. He just assured me I was sane and mentally healthy, but at the same time wanted to run tests on me and refer me to other "scientists" and "doctors". I gave up. For a long time, I just held it inside. Many times, lying in bed at night, holding onto the memories of the glory and the beauty and the wonder. Many times, crying and feeling as though my heart were being ripped out for being put back into this disgusting body with this new "light" in my brain, my mind, my heart, something, somewhere.

The emotions though, in the retelling, over the past few years as I have started to tell it, every time, the emotions, the feelings, the remembrances, are just the same as if they were happening this very moment. The joy is just as joyful, the pain prior to death is just as painful, the loneliness and ache for another human's touch in the moments and days following is just as much of a physical ache now when I remember them as they were the day it actually happened. But the piece of joy that I know exists in my soul—given to me in that hospital room—is with me always. And when I embrace it, the way it "embraced" me, it is warm and loving and peaceful and calming, and it is with me always and forever until I can go back and be a part of it again.

My whole life did change after that day. Sometimes in little, subtle ways, sometimes in big ways, but it definitely has never been the same since. Everything that I think and feel about things, the way I see and hear things, has changed in some way or another. The first year after the surgery and the experience, I felt confused, frustrated, sometimes afraid. I felt ashamed and embarrassed to tell anyone what had happened in that room. I was afraid that they wouldn’t believe me, or would make fun of me, ridicule me, or think I had just lost my mind. I also felt guilty. If I had died, and I was even close to “God” or “Heaven”, then I should not have wanted to come back. I felt as though I had turned my back on what I was taught about “God” and “Heaven”. But I saw no “God”, and I did not “know” the experience to be “Heaven”. What I did know, was that it was absolute peace and love and harmony and oneness and calm. I do know that I was not afraid. I wanted to be there, wanted to stay, and I am not afraid of going back. In fact, I look forward to the day that I have fulfilled my purpose and can go back and keep going to what is next for me.

There IS something better for us in this life that most of us don’t seem to realize or allow ourselves to reach. I now KNOW there is something even better after this life. In the years since my experience, I have had a strong desire to LIVE life and have continued to try to pursue that goal. I have learned how to truly love people, so much so, that at times it physically hurts. I have always been extremely sensitive to people and their feelings, internally, but even more so now I seem to “feel” people.

I have always loved to touch and hug people. But now sometimes touching people is painful, confusing, frustrating, frightening or it can be extremely warm and happy because it seems as if I just "know" things about people that I touch, things which can be happy, sad, good, bad, absolutely wonderful or at times absolutely frightening. It has become an ultimately sad and at the same time, ultimately happy secret to carry around though sometimes I want to tell people what I know, but I couldn't tell them why or how. I just know it. So, I don’t say anything. I question myself about how and why I think and feel and know these things. There must be a logical, reasonable explanation for how I know, and why I feel these things. I just haven’t found the answers yet, so how could I possibly expect anyone else to believe me?

It is so frustrating not to be able to talk to anyone about these things. It is so frustrating to not be able to tell people things that I know could help them or make them feel better or reassure them, because I couldn’t possibly tell them how I know.

I wish I could tell people: it isn’t just about believing in “God” or “Heaven” or “Buddha” or UFO’s that is important. It’s about believing in peace, love and human compassion. It is about valuing life and living it, meeting your potential and following your heart and soul. It is about living a life in contact with others, the way that you want to be treated. To try to tell these things, with no facts to back my words, would make me sound like some kind of hippie or flower child on an LSD trip. How, could I possibly begin to tell you?

Well, at least I finally made peace with my frustration. It just suddenly became perfectly logical and clear to me. Something that seems in reality should have been perfectly logical and clear all along. It doesn’t matter if I tell, or who I tell. It doesn’t matter if I find the logical, rational facts to be able to explain to anyone what happened or the reality of what happened. It is my truth and mine alone, and that is all that matters.

It is not unlike being a parent or a friend, wanting to help or protect those you love and care about by sharing your knowledge and experience in an effort to keep them from having to suffer needlessly in learning lessons you have already learned. In reality, the telling does not keep your children or your friends from going ahead down the same path in an effort to learn for themselves. They must—we all must—learn our truths for ourselves. We do not know a truth or fact until we have experienced it for ourselves. We must see it, feel it, taste it, hear it, experience all of its realities with our own senses for any truth to become our own.

What I have experienced, what I know to be truth, may very well help someone some day. It may help them to seek out their own truth, or to listen to their truth when it becomes available to them. Sharing what I know may only be a seed to help others find the answers to their questions, answers which then may become their own reality. What I have learned may serve to give someone else comfort or reassurance when they find the same truth. It may help them to know and accept that such truth really does exist. It is my responsibility to myself and to my truth to tell anyone I can, even if I cannot back it up with quantifiable fact. If they are not ready to listen yet, don’t want to hear, that is okay. When they are ready, when things, places, and experiences in their own lives have acknowledged for them the truth, they will be more accepting of it and willing to make it their own truth.

That truth I am speaking of is that there is more to life than material possessions. People are more than what you see and hear and judge at face value. There is a soul/inner being/Holy Spirit within each of us that guides us through this life and leads us down the path of our purpose. To know one's peace or inner truth, one must learn to listen and accept that inner being and know that it exists. When a person has accepted this truth which comes from within, they will know that what really matters in this life is knowing love, peace and compassion.

Everything in life is only this: the opportunity to learn and experience unconditional love. Every day, you touch someone’s life. It may be in line at the grocery store, it may be someone you work with, see at church or school or just walking down the street. Just your very existence has in some way touched their life. Likewise for those you come in contact with even briefly. They have touched you, have had some impact on your experience, no matter how minute it may seem at that given moment.

Cherish each moment from each “person” that touches your life. They may have taught you something you didn’t even know you learned. You may have taught them something you didn’t even realize you could teach them. Feel compassion and empathy for them, because you do not know that you haven’t known them before or during this life, or that you will not know them again in your future. You do not know, how valuable, what little seed of knowledge they give to you may be to your future or to theirs.

Don’t wait to find your “heaven” in the clouds. Find it here on this earth and in this lifetime, because it exists and it will be for you what you make it and what you are willing to accept of it.

“Religion” is to each individual their own personal experience, values, beliefs and what they need to know and find from it. The existence of a “Heaven” or a “Hell” and ones existence therein, in my knowledge, is not based on their belief or faith in a “God” or a “Satan”. It is based on their belief of truth, knowledge, faith, love, peace and compassion. Verbally professing to have faith in a “God” or a “Satan” or the “Heaven” which Christians profess to exist will not assure an eternal rest in a “Heaven” with a “God” or a “Hell” with a “Satan”. I know this to be my own truth from my own experience.

A “Heavenly” existence for any of us will be what we have made of our own individual earthly existences, the truths we have lived and taught and believed in our current lives, and the love, peace and compassion we have known for ourselves and for those we have touched. Anything else will be what we make to be our own “Hellish” existence.

It would seem that I have given people good reason to question MY faith. How can they believe me, how can they know if I believe if I don’t spout profusely about God or the fact that God saved my life and showed me a new way? Don’t you think for one second that I haven't asked myself this same question numerous times in the last seven or eight years. The first person I told and spoke to about my experience was a minister because I was so confused and riddled with guilt over how it related to my “religious belief”. I have asked myself all the same questions, over and over and over again. What is my purpose? Why did this happen to me and what am I suppose to do with this information if no one will believe my experience even happened to me? It was the most wondrous, enlightening experience a person could have and live to tell about. Therefore, if there are people out there who haven’t even had this experience but are professing the wonders and magnitude of God, why can’t I?

I have studied numerous religions in the last seven years. I have studied and researched and asked a multitude of questions, trying to find these answers. Trying to find quantifiable facts to be able to relate to, to give me sound grounds to go on in telling my story to people and the beliefs my experience gave to me. I believe now that I had to do that first to understand my purpose and fulfill it. I believe it is not my purpose to tell or teach people about God. If you will look, and listen, I have not professed my faith in “God” nor have I denounced it. What I have done is to profess and support my faith in the teachings of your religious belief.

You see I have found, learned, and know with my inner truth, that this is not just about God. And THAT, is my purpose. There are plenty of people out there to teach you about God, Allah, Buddha, or the Goddess, in Christianity, be it Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian, or in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Pagan belief or any other name you need your “religion” to be. If you study any of them the message is the same. The message is tailored to your cultural, spiritual, family, religious needs. That message is LOVE AND COMPASSION. The basis and the basic principle of any of these religions has the same set of “standards”. Love your fellow man, have compassion for him, do not kill, do not take what is not yours, respect your father and mother, for they are your guides and teachers in this life, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

It is not my purpose to even attempt to teach anyone about “their” God. Perhaps it is my purpose to help people “feel” what they learn. Perhaps it is my purpose to remind myself as well as others that it is not just the words but the message. We are wasting valuable time, precious resources, energy and spirituality fighting over the “names” of it. Christianity is not better than Buddhism. Christianity is not “right” and Buddhism “wrong”. If Christianity is what is required to teach the majority of Caucasian, middle class America about love and compassion, then the religion for that cultural group needs to be Christianity. But if Buddhism is what is needed to teach the Eastern Civilization about love and compassion, then so be it. It is not ours, yours or mine or anyone else's place or need to try to tell anyone they are “wrong”, or that their religion is not “right” if it still teaches the same message.

Your “God” has many faces and many names. Did he put you here to tell others about your God? Or did he put you here to teach others about love and compassion? And if so, how are we teaching it? By being pompous and uncompassionate toward others belief systems? Denouncing their “God” over ours? Or by living, breathing, showing them what our God has taught and shown us?

Yes, please question MY faith, for it will make you question yours. What is your faith? God? Buddha? The Book? The Scientific Theory? Or is it loving and being compassionate to all things that exist in this life that you know now? Listen to your own inner truth, it will tell you.

I feel a need to tell a few people in my life right now. To try to share with them, talk with them and help them to understand what they want and need to understand right now. But I have no desire or need to argue anymore. In the last seven years, I couldn't, wouldn't tell, because I felt a need to be able to "convince" people that my story was true, that it really happened and that what I learned from it is TRUTH. If I couldn't "prove" it, or MAKE them see the truth, then I didn't want to tell them about it at all.

I now know that my truth is MY truth in the way I see and feel and hear it to be truth, and that I cannot and do not need to convince someone else of it. They may share that truth, but in different ways or at this moment in life, different tangibles are helping them to make their way to their own internal truth. This is where they need to be in their life at this moment, and it is not my desire to take them from this place. I only have a need to share with them what I can, to be able to help them find their own inner truth.

Right now, I speak softly or not at all. If they need or want to hear my truth, I could whisper it, and they would hear it and know it. They will not know it from my words but from my actions and from their own inner voice. "And they will know we are Christians by our love."

I have spent so much time doubting and second-guessing myself these past years, that I have come to believe that even now, as I am beginning to share my experience with others, my doubts and questioning keep me humble. The doubting keeps me from being or feeling boastful or egotistical in the telling.

It was not until very recently that I whispered to a very special person, almost apologetically, "I am special. I know that I am special." Not special because of material things or physical attraction or talents, but because I have this knowledge, because I have had this experience, because I have been given a unique opportunity to learn how to love again, unconditionally. Without the doubts and the second guessing, I am afraid the magnificence of the experience would have made me boastful in the telling. And then surely no one would have believed me.

But they do not need to believe me. I do not need for others to believe me. I only hope for others that they can listen to and believe in their own inner truth. I only need to show others the lesson of love and compassion through my actions. That our One True Creator showed to me.

Tina Kettler




Heavenly Encounters Main



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