At about 4:30am 19 December, 1996 I had a head-on collision on Whittlesy Road in Norwalk, OH, about a mile from my home. I hit a van with a young man driving, we were both doing 65mph according to the patrol report. I had taken an Ultram at about 2:30 am at the Mansfield Post Office where I worked. Some of us were sent home early d/t having all our work done at about 4 o’clock. I was aware that I had unusual side effects from the medication I took for back pain, what I didn’t know was that this drug is known to many (but denied by the maker) to cause a type of blackout wherein the body functions but only with the subconscious mind in control – no conscious thought. The last thing I remember was going through a little community just south of Norwalk, then I heard the sound of metal crunching. Instinctively, I knew this was the end, I said goodbye to my children, asked God to forgive my erring ways and accepted my fate.
Then, for an unknown amount of time, everything was black, no sound, no feeling, nothing. And then, the experience of a lifetime happened. Not an experience like the one in this article, but something I would return from with evidence of my journey. All of a sudden I was standing outside my Ford Ranger looking at the carnage of my truck and the blue late model van, light radiated from all directions, there were no shadows anywere nor were there any dark places not even under a house or tree. Mind you, this was a moonless night in temps of 10 degrees F. Without further ado, I turned and walked north on Whittlesy, heading to say goodbye to my girls as I knew I was about to meet God and had to hurry – this was my only request. About a hundred yards or so up the road I saw into the woods on the knoll over the river, a cemetary. Although I had walked and ran down this road a hundred times, I had never seen this overgrown burial site. I walked into the woods and stood over the grave of Mary, who had died in 1852. I immediately returned to the crash site to help the other driver who was in real rough shape. His car was mangled on one side. When I looked in the window, I suddenly returned to my body with the knowledge that it was only because I had selflessly chosen to help a stranger over seeing my children one last time. I carry that with me as I serve others as a Registered Nurse. I left Ohio with my kids as soon as I could drive, which was not until March, without ever confirming the grave.
Seventeen years later, in 2013, I was working with a Nurse Practitioner who did a lot of Civil War grave research. I asked him if there was any way to find out who may be burried in an abandoned cemetary. He confirmed that there was a registry he could check. With the help of google earth, I found the name of the cemetary, which has since been cleaned up and has a marker. With the name of the cemetary in hand, my coworker looked on the registry for me. Much to both our suprise (I really don’t think he believed the story) The first name on the list was Mary who in fact died in 1852. I relive that night every time I or someone else crosses the center line – it reminds me that the ancient Egyptians were right in believing in the afterlife so many thousands of years even before Christianity. And I KNOW there is hope for all of us.
Lastly, I started that day with a 135 IQ. Since then, I have accomplished the rare feat of perfect scores on both an IQ test an the SAT. I came back with more than I left with.