In about 1995 I was at the Mount Hood Community College, in Gresham, Oregon, at an event called "The Strawberry Shortcake festival" there was free strawberry shortcake and free introductory mini classes. I was with my first husband, my little boy, and my mother in law at the time. In an attempt to get away from my mother in law I dodged into a dark classroom.
There playing on the screen was the Dannion Brinkley story, Saved by the Light,. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114342/combined
Sitting in that dark classroom mesmerized and with chills running down my back I knew the story was true. It felt truer than anything I had found on my life journey to that point and I wanted to know more.
Afterwards a very kind gentleman named Wally Johnston, who was the presenter, was there discussing the International Association of Near Death Studies (IANDS). He was trying to raise awareness of the study of Near Death Experiences (NDE) and mentioned that there was a local group that met called the Friends of IANDS, I took the handout and felt determined to go to the group.
The first time I went to an IANDS meeting I was quite young 24, and I had not had an NDE but I had been assured that it was not necessary to be an experiencer it was only necessary to be respectful. I was nervous and I entered the classroom where there was a circle formed. I listened to their stories and the difficulty people have afterwards. Most people that I heard speak in that group wanted to stay on the other side, but were told they had work to do here and must come back.
With time little by little my life changed and I stopped going to those groups, not because I didn't want to I just went through a lot of personal changes.
Now after nearly 20 years later I am now about to graduate from College in the Film Program at the Art Institute of Portland(AIPD). I am headed into my 2nd career and faced with my Senior project and after much contemplation I came back to the story of the NDE. While in discussions with the head of my Department, Courtney at AIPD I told her how there are many, many movies about NDE, and that I wanted to do a different angle on the subject. She asked me why did I want to make the movie. I answered that the issue is affecting a large percentage of the population, estimated between 4% and 15%. Most people who have an NDE are not comfortable talking about their story because of how friends, family, and the medical community will receive it. The experience brews inside of them, repressed, often leading to depression, or even causing them to become recluse. What I want to do is to help make the NDE common knowledge so that people, family, friends, and the medical community will know how to deal with it. People are suffering by holding in these experiences, that to them were more real than anything they had ever experienced.
And that is the point where Courtney pulled out my story, Surviving Death is about the after effects of what people go through after they have an NDE.
Whether you believe it in or not is not important, what is important is that REAL PEOPLE, a large percentage of the worlds population are experiencing NDE. There are perhaps 18 common characteristics (NDERF.org) 15 common characteristics (IANDS.org) to validate this experience, and they are suffering. Because of ignorance and fear the families, friends, and doctors of the people who experience NDE dismiss, downplay, or deny the reality of the experience. If you are a health care provider, a counseller, a hospice worker, or anyone who has a friend or family member who has experienced an NDE, it is time to take is seriously. These people need to process what happened and they want to talk about it. In most cases it is a beautiful story that brings a new philosophy about life that centers around love and kindness.