Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
Near Death Episode?
I have shared this story with a lot of people. So to those who have heard this before, oh well. If you have a curiosity surrounding near death episodes or out of body experiences, you may find it interesting. Perhaps I will share more about this in the future.
I’m not sure you can call my near-death experience an actual near-death experience. I was told that I was quite seriously ill but I was not near death at any time during the most critical stage of my illness. Near death or not, it was an experience that has remained with me in simplicity and clarity.
My marriage to my first husband was not ideal. I wanted children very badly but suffered an unusual miscarriage that required that I not get pregnant for a year. After a year I became pregnant. Our daughter was born a month late weighing in at 8 pounds 10 ½ ounces. I was happy to have a healthy little girl but I very much wanted two children. I became pregnant when Sara was two years old.
The second pregnancy was fine until about the 5th month. At the 6th month I was confined to bed. That was quite hard for me and for my husband. He had never cared for the day to day needs of our child or taking care of the house. I needed care as well and he was bitter at the turn of events. It was unpleasant and I felt a tremendous amount of guilt for causing such problems.
I had pre-eclampsia and my blood pressure was terribly high. I was retaining fluids and my organs were experiencing great stress due to the pregnancy. The bed rest was not working out as Dan could not or would not assist with the many duties of taking care of our daughter and the household. My health worsened. At just under 7 months I was hospitalized.
Dan was functioning although with the aid of alcohol. A problem that he refused to acknowledge and I had decided to ignore.
My condition did not improve in the hospital – it worsened over the course of a few days. They transferred me from Columbus to Omaha in the early evening. Dan remained at home with our daughter with the understanding that he would join me for what would probably be a C section in the morning.
He went home. I went to Omaha. As we neared Fremont my blood pressure rose dangerously high. My kidneys were failing. My body and baby were in distress. They called the Fremont hospital to see if they should stop there – Fremont told them to continue to Omaha as the specialists were better equipped to save my life.
Once we arrived at Methodist, the staff determined that the baby and I could not survive together. It was important that we be separated as soon as possible. The doctor asked where my husband was – I told him he was at home. He was irritated. They phoned him and told him to get to the hospital as soon as possible – they would try to wait.
He said he would be there in two hours. We waited. They ran their tests. Everyone was hovering over me with looks of grave concern. Some would come in and be very reassuring while others were so stern and so business like.
The doctor ordered a test to see how long it took me to stop bleeding. A technician pierced my ear. It bled. She placed a paper disc under the piercing and let it bleed freely turning the disc to measure the amount of blood. It bled profusely, using multiple discs to catch the flow. Finally, she decided she may have hit a capillary of some sort – I forget the term – and she should try the other ear. First, she had to stop the bleeding – that took some time and steady pressure.
The second piercing was the same. The bleeding was extensive. They ordered blood – they were concerned that I might bleed out during the C-section. They were honest with me but explained what steps they were going to take to get me through the procedure.
They also explained that both the baby and I would die if the pregnancy was allowed to remain as is. I was 7 months pregnant. They explained that the baby could survive. The baby may not survive but it had no chance of surviving in my body. My only chance of survival and the only chance of survival for my child was the C-section. They also explained that the baby could be born alive but die shortly after birth or could be born dead – in effect making this a late term abortion as my life was in danger.
They asked what I wanted to do with the remains if the baby was born dead. I was consumed in grief and overwhelming sadness. I felt like a failure. If I had only taken better care of myself. If I had only succeeded at bed rest – I could have avoided all of this horror. I was awful and now I was paying the price for my stupidity.
A nurse told me that they could dispose of the body for me. I was stunned. I asked how. She said they could dispose of the body as other medical waste is disposed and they could use the remains for research. I shuddered at the thought. I said no – absolutely not. If the baby is born dead, I want to see it, I want the body, I want to bury it. This baby is real, it is a part of me and I will take care of it. She acknowledged my request.
The baby was still kicking. I could feel the movement – I knew there was life and it was time for us to separate. I wondered what was keeping Dan. It had been two hours. The staff called him again. He answered. He hadn’t left the house. I would learn later that he had been drinking and passed out after the first call. The second call had been long enough to make him aware of what he needed to do. He took our daughter to my Mom’s house in Fremont and picked up Mom, both rushing to the hospital.
The second two hours of waiting for Dan to arrive were a time of prayer. I cried softly and bargained with God. I told him quite clearly what he needed to do. First, I wanted to live. Because Sara needed me. Dan would never be able to raise Sara. I also told him that I wanted the baby to live but if the baby died, I would understand, but I still needed to live for Sara.
I finally explained that if I were to die, then it would be important that the baby die with me as Dan would surely kill it inadvertently – taking care of Sara would be much more than he could handle. I kept going around and around – explaining to God what he needed to do in all the situations I was projecting of the future.
A nurse came in – I sensed her concern as she hovered over me, checking vitals and performing important tests – keeping me alive until Dan could arrive. They were frustrated and I was in pain. They asked if I wanted a Chaplain. I said I wanted a Priest – surprised – she asked if I was Catholic. I had to think for a minute… I had been teaching at a Catholic School for the past few years – attending mass with the kids – getting to know the priests and the nuns – the first thing out of my mouth was “Priest”. I’m sure I looked confused as I shook my head and said – no I’m a Presbyterian – a Chaplain would be fine…
The Chaplain, a man, came in and we talked. I told him what was going on – we discussed the delay. He asked about the bruising on my neck – we determined that the ear piercing must have caused bleeding in the area – that was gross and frightening. I began to understand why everyone looked so worried when they stepped into the room.
He understood that I wanted the body of the baby and he would make sure that the baby was baptized if it was born alive. He would remain with my husband and tell him of my wishes. He prayed with me and he left me to my thoughts. They dimmed the lights – all that was left was for Dan to get there – I was stable but I was being monitored – they would jump into action if warranted.
They encouraged me to rest. I closed my eyes and prayed – again going over my directions for God. In case he hadn’t fully understood all the conditions of his support. I was making myself crazy, I was feeling the pressure. I couldn’t bargain anymore, I couldn’t review the options, I couldn’t make demands – I was tired, I was drained – I took a deep cleansing breath and simply said to my God. I give up. I can’t do this. It’s up to you and you figure it out – it is beyond my capability and I want you to handle it.
There was a tremendous amount of relief and a calming sense of peace. It was such a departure from my type A personality thing… a simple prayer – thy will be done… and I truly meant it. I could and would accept whatever came my way. It was no longer my problem – I gave it to God and I rested.
When Dan and my Mom arrived, I was calm - ready to take the next step. I told them it was OK. I looked like shit and you could see the fear in my mother’s eyes. Dan looked fearful but you never knew how deep that feeling went – I had a sense of his distance…
When I awoke in recovery. Dan and my mother were beside my bed – both smiling. Dan said they baptized the baby boy and they needed a name so they named him Evan Kenneth – I remember asking them how they spelled it – even in that haze I worried about the spelling. I also remember Dan telling me how relieved they were when they heard the nurses and doctors laughing during the C-Section… Evan had peed all over everyone and they were pleased that his plumbing was functioning correctly – they laughed from relief.
I didn’t see Evan for 10 days – he was taken to Children’s hospital which was 40 blocks or so from Methodist. He was placed in the premie intensive care unit at Children’s while I was placed in the intensive care unit at Methodist. The near-death experience (or out of body event) happened sometime after I was placed in my room in intensive care.
It didn’t happen immediately. I recall the room. The visit from Dan and my Mother. The visit from my doctor. I remember the nurses having trouble getting blood from my arm and a technician finally taking blood from my ankle. I remember that I still had an IV in my arm and bags were attached to a pole. I remember the nurses asking me to use a bed pan but only a vague memory of that exists.
At some point after all of the initial settling in procedures I had fallen asleep. Or I assume it was a sleeping condition. I was aware of my body lying in the bed but then I was also aware of being in a different area – new surroundings. A darkened area – I was moving – traveling forward – moving without any effort on my part, I was without pain… I was exhilarated and relieved – this freedom – this place – it was perfect and I was happy - it wasn’t long and I saw a light in the distance. I neared the light and it was pulsing. The light would get larger and then recede in size – it was vibrating – almost electrical in nature but not extreme – a gentle pulsating expansion and recession of the light. It appeared spherical in shape. The presence of the light was soothing. I wanted to get nearer to the light.
It was the light that halted my forward progress. I struggled to go further, finally realizing I had no body – I was traveling by my essence – a mere being without form. The light was firm – I was to wait. I resisted – trying to move to the right – trying to move to the left… it was futile. The light was the ultimate power but still I continued to try – the draw of the light had completely taken over my being. The light wanted me right where I was – squarely in front… the light became more intense, it began to pulsate more and grow from a spherical shape into a cone like shape. As the light was transforming from one shape to another it was transmitting information… the light wasn’t speaking but it was letting me know the secrets of the universe – I was amazed at the clarity and the ability I had to absorb all the information and how simple it all flowed together… armed with such insights I wanted more than anything to enter the light – again I fought to go forward and the light resisted.
There was no talking – it was more of a telepathic conversation – I just knew. I remember a humming sound – a background noise – nothing I could put my finger on but a sound… Lacking words, there was still a message. Lacking words, it is hard to translate or share that message, but if I had to say what the light said to me, it would be something like this, and truly I wish it were more profound but here it is…
“I never promised you a rose garden, I never said it was going to be easy, you have everything inside of you to get through anything. Now you need to go back”.
I was scared and angry, I didn’t want to return. I was without pain. I knew everything. No more doubts. The light was beautiful. I wanted to go in. The light had had enough – it grew taller – pulsating as it grew – the light moved a distance from me and I could see it from the front and from above… it was a strange vantage point… The light was more intense and suddenly it fell inside itself and was gone – it consumed itself in a self-implosion and I was sent violently back to my body – waking instantly to excruciating pain and awareness of my surroundings.
I remember glancing to my right and seeing a nurse replacing a bag of blood onto a pole and adjusting the monitors. I exclaimed “Did you see that?” and she said “What?” and I said “the light”. She looked at me like I had lost my mind but I knew the secrets of the Universe – the joke was on her. I told her “Never mind – I’m going back” I closed my eyes and tried to go back but I couldn’t. The explosion or implosion of the light and the return of my pain was so violent - I felt that that was a part of the message… what I was supposed to have gained from the journey…
The secrets to the Universe had given me such comfort and upon returning to my body were instantly lost. The fact that I knew the answer to all the mysteries of life was nice but it would have been nicer to be able to state with some certainty what those answers actually are. I had this feeling that the violence of my return meant that there would be violence in my future – an explosion – a massive force that would cause me pain and rock me to my core… oh great, I would survive nuclear holocaust. Surely that was what the light had meant. I had everything inside of me to get through anything…
During those days of recovery in the hospital, I had brief moments of recall – fleeting memories of something amazing but ultimately those secrets of the Universe that came bubbling to the surface would quickly disappear into the fog. The leaving of my body, the darkness, the light, the hum, the telepathic message, the no nonsense - don’t talk back to me – return to my body… all of those details remain clear. The violent return to my body – most painfully remains clear.
My thought that I would survive nuclear holocaust wasn’t exactly comforting. Since that time, I have experienced numerous destructive events in my life. I have come to realize that your life can be blown apart, destroyed, altered in a lot of ways – some big – some small. Nuclear holocaust isn’t the only challenging life option.
During those, difficult times I remember the message from the light – you have everything inside you to get through anything. That message has served me well. It was a tough love thing from the light. I had surrendered to the light and the light was being honest. The light would be there to help but it was up to me to live this life – I needed to trust in a higher power and trust that the higher power was within me. There to guide me through whatever problem I was currently facing.
I have a religious belief. I consider myself a spiritual person. The presence of the light is in keeping with my belief in a supreme being. The light could mean something different to another person – that would be their story to tell. I have a comfort with the light… I have a relationship with the light.
What I experienced, may not have been a total near death experience but it was an experience that I will never forget. I had completely surrendered my will to God. I received what I consider a special message. I didn’t know it at the time but I received a message of hope in facing an uncertain, challenging and life altering future.
My out of body experience was a profoundly personal experience - it was unique to me. Each person who experiences an out of body event or near-death episode will have a lesson suited to their need. I firmly believe the event itself and the memory of the event is designed in such a way as to assist an individual with their immediate need and their future development and course of action.
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