In someone's diary yesterday, rmg was credited with saving a life by telling LittleZephyr “As someone who has died twice, I feel obliged to point out that suicide is not, in fact the easy way out. ...One little known fact about death is that it is never quick or painless.”
I responded that “I can't believe I'm agreeing with rmg, but he's right. I only died once and those last two seconds were a painful eternity. If you shoot yourself in the head, that last three seconds is spending the entire rest of your life in searing, hellish pain.”
Here is the whole story of that death.
It was January of 1976. I had just gotten out of the Air Force the previous summer, had gotten a girlfriend (who I would later marry), and started college. Except for being piss-poor, life was pretty good. I had a three room shotgun house in the ghetto, a late model car that was paid off (a 1974 Gremlin), and high hopes for the future.
I was on my way back home from the university, where I had just registered for classes. My girlfriend was with me.
We were almost through Collinsville on highway 157, a four lane undivided highway with a 50 mile per hour speed limit, when a truck pulled out in front of me. Not dangerously close, but enough that I had to touch the brakes to slow, as he pulled out straddling the lanes.
The car lurched violently, and I was out of control, in the wrong lane, facing a three quarter ton pickup truck speeding toward me at about seventy miles per hour.
He was perhaps fifteen feet from the car. I knew I was dead. The time dilation started then. When they have slow motion of violent scenes in movies, that's actually kind of what it's like.
That split second of terror lasted for an eternity. The collision lasted longer. I was thrown into the windshield, which my face broke. My shoulder hit the dashboard, and dented it in by a half foot.
Things went dark, but I could still feel pain and motion. The car was moving backwards now.
Pain, pain... believe me when I tell you that getting smacked in the face with a three quarter ton pickup truck hurts like hell. Literally. I know what a cockroach feels like when you step on him.
And sickness. Horrible sickness, as if every cell in my body was trying to puke.
And this pain and torture would continue for the rest of my life.
Finally, after what felt like years, the pain and sickness and motion and feeling slipped away as well. I found myself facing a choice.
I was at an impasse, inside something that was vaguely cave-like at two openings; it is impossible to describe because there are no referents. I had to choose which one to enter, and didn't know which one to choose. I prayed for guidance. At this point, it was all too evident that the choice was between heaven and hell, and I couldn't tell one from the other.
A voice came: “Neither. It isn't your time yet. You still have a very important task to perform.”
But what should I do?
“Turn around, and head toward the light.”
I was back in the wreckage. Twisted metal, blood everywhere. My head was swimming, my glasses were gone. I tried to open the door, and it was stuck. I kicked it open.
The searing, horrible pain was still there, all through my body. Especially on the right side. I was having a hard time breathing. I sat on the edge of the seat and coughed up blood, then puked blood.
My sweetheart was next to me, silent and motionless. “Oh God, please don't let her be dead!”
She then started screaming horribly.
Time was still going very slowly, although not as slowly as before I died.
Eventually the rescue crew came and took us to the hospital. My face was purple and swollen, my right shoulder was dislocated. My girlfriend suffered a concussion and cuts, and her pelvis was broken in six places.
I've worn my seat belt ever since, and I have not feared death since. But I do have an aversion to searing, torturous pain. And ever since then, I have an unshakable faith in God.
Nov 09, 2003
This illustrated perfectly the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19–31. The rich man begs God to let him return to Earth long enough to warn his brothers. God answers “they didn’t believe the prophets, why would they believe you?
And indeed, this true story changed no minds whatever. “It was a hallucination” or some such nonsense. I witnessed the “gates” to heaven and hell, and my testimony does absolutely no good whatever here.