Jan Price was destined not to linger in paradise but to return to the physical world and the body she had left behind during a nearly fatal heart attack.
This book is Jan's account of her near-death experience and the many precious lessons it taught her--most important, that death need never be feared, by anyone. She describes the beautiful spiritual country in which she found herself and her joyous encounters there. She reflects on why near-death experiences happen and why they've become so common. Jan's husband, bestselling inspirational author John Randolph Price, also contributes to the story, sharing his feelings and experiences during this tremendous crisis.
Guilt and punishment, forgiveness and transformation, life and love, earth and eternity--Jan Price's remarkable story teaches us about all of them, joyfully and unforgettably.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Not an Ordinary Kind of Day
Thursday, December 30, 1993
A very fortunate woman am I. Each morning someone turns on the classical music station, brings two cups of hot black coffee to bed, then snuggles in close with me to sip the brew and watch through the bedroom window as the orangy-red sun majestically rises over the green hills. That someone is John, a writer of wonderful books and the man I’ve shared my life with for more than forty years. Neat way to start a day.
December 30, 1993, was no different. Laughing and talking in bed at six-thirty that morning, I couldn’t have imagined that in less than seven hours I would die. Death can be very educational. I know that I learned a lot about living by dying, and I would not trade that experience for anything. For anyone who has ever wondered, you do go somewhere when you die. If you didn’t, you couldn’t come back, and I did. Aren’t round-trip tickets wonderful? But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We finished our coffee and jumped out of bed for a quick face wash, then dressed for a long walk down our country lane. We live a few miles north of Boerne, Texas—a small town in the hills near San Antonio. It was a beautiful morning, cool and clear, and I was looking forward to a good stretch of the legs and some deep breathing of the clean fresh air. Watching for cottontail bunnies to scoot across the road is fun too. I always feel that I’ve done something good when I see one—probably something my mother told me when I was a kid. There wasn’t a rabbit in sight that morning. But a very strange thing did happen.
As we passed one house, a dog walked nonchalantly out of his yard and bit me on the leg. I was shocked. So was John. Dogs don’t bite me; dogs love me. Why on earth would one do such a thing? After he sunk his teeth into my leg and made a hole in my favorite gray sweatpants, he casually turned around and went back into his yard. I think John yelled something at him, then asked me if I wanted to turn around and go home. “Yeah,” I said, “I can feel the blood running down my leg.”
Back at the house I cleaned and bandaged the wound and called the people who owned the dog so that I could be assured the dog’s shots were up-to-date. They were, and the man said that his dog doesn’t bite people. Uh-huh. Hanging up, I started to cry. I just sobbed because a dog bit me and I couldn’t figure out why. I know that sounds silly. John probably thought so too, but he held me for a while and I felt better.
That done, I made us a breakfast of my special French toast. Afterward it seemed a good idea to have some quiet time before going to the office. I called to tell my colleagues about my traumatic experience with the dog and said I’d be in later. Then I began to feel funny. I wasn’t sure what it was, but my body felt strange. Throughout the morning as I showered and dressed, talked on the phone (our daughter, Leslie, called from France for a spinach lasagna recipe), and made my to-do list for the day, that strange feeling ebbed and flowed. It was aggravating because I never feel bad, and I had a lot to do that day.
It was almost noon when I was finally ready to go, and I heated some soup so that I wouldn’t have to stop for lunch later. One sip made me feel ill and I threw up. Then the pressure began to increase in my chest, and the backs of my arms started to ache. This was weird. I stretched out on the bed, but only felt worse. I sat up and it was no better, so I got up and walked around hugging myself, trying to decide what to do.
John came up from his study about then, and I told him what was happening. He wanted to call a doctor, and for lack of a better plan I said okay. The only problem was, we didn’t have a doctor—so he got out the Yellow Pages and started down the list. Not a doctor anywhere; the recordings all said they were out to lunch. Finally John got a human voice that said the doctor would be back around one-thirty and suggested we call Kendall County EMS.
Well, that sounded pretty extreme, and I knew they would probably take me to a hospital emergency room in San Antonio, which was the last thing I wanted to do. This was dumb. Why didn’t it just go away?
John asked, “What do you want me to do, honey?” And I heard myself say, “I guess you’d better call EMS.” He did, and then called our office. Laura, our administrative director, answered. John told her what was happening, and she immediately swung into action by activating a prayer network.
The record shows that John’s call to the Kendall County Emergency Medical Service was received at 1:15, and the ambulance was dispatched at 1:25 with Melody Juarez and Carl Wengenroth on board. They would have left sooner, but regulations call for a response team of three people, so they decided to wait a few minutes for the other paramedic. But Carl, who was driving the ambulance, began to feel uneasy. He turned to Melody and said, “Something tells me that we’ve got to leave now!” She agreed, and told us later that if they had delayed any longer, the full arrest would have occurred before their arrival. I’m sure glad there were angels on the scene.
While we were waiting, John ran in and out of the house, checking on me and watching for the ambulance—in our rural area the house numbers aren’t easy to find. I started to feel quite warm and changed clothes several times, unsure what to wear for EMS. I finally chose navy knit pants and a striped T-shirt. I’m not sure why, but I’m glad I picked that shirt because it was a fairly old one and ended up being cut off me when I arrived at the hospital.
Once dressed, I lay down on the bed, and though the pressure had intensified, I felt very calm—no concern, nothing seemed particularly important. I was distancing. John reported that he could hear the ambulance, then the siren stopped, and then they appeared in our driveway. The paramedics rolled a gurney into our house, to the entrance of our bedroom. Because of the furniture arrangement and the step down, they had to park it about five feet from the bed.
The pleasant face of a young woman peered down at me. That was Melody, who was in her late thirties with blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. She smiled and asked me what day it was, when I was born, and other similar questions while taking my pulse. “Your pulse is strong,” she said.
“I’m glad,” I said, “because my lips are numb.”
“Can you walk to the gurney?”
“Yes.” And I did.
Since it appeared they were going to take me away, I said to John, “Be sure to bring my purse”—I guess I thought I’d need to refresh my makeup later on. Then I remember saying, “I feel dizzy.” Since things got a little fuzzy after that, I had to rely on Melody’s EMS report for details:
Patient’s pulse and respiration were taken. I advised patient we would place monitor [EKG] on her as soon as she was belted on stretcher. Patient walked to stretcher…. As patient was placed on stretcher, she advised she felt very dizzy and became unconscious, unresponsive, no pulse … patient was in V-Tach [very wide and fast ventricular rate] to V-Fib [ventricular fibrillation—blood flow to the heart stops completely] … full arrest, no pulse … precardial thump was applied, no change in pulse. Quick look still showed V-Fib [full arrest]. Patient shocked [electric paddles] at 200 J, no pulse. Patient shocked at 300 J, no pulse. Patient shocked at 360 J … slow heartbeat … patient’s respiratory effort was assisted with [oxygen] … regained respiratory rate rapidly after third shock and heart rate returned. She became semiconscious, pupils slightly dilated, did respond to daylight.
The EMS report also stated that Melody and Carl arrived on the scene at one-thirty, and in less than four minutes, I was belted down on the stretcher. As noted, I quickly lost consciousness—not a blackout as in a faint, but a complete detachment of the mental faculties from the physical system as it was shutting down. The death process was beginning. My breathing had stopped, and when Melody checked my pulse, she couldn’t find one. The life force was withdrawing, the energy that maintains the body was being released.
The report shows the severity assessment went from urgent to critical at this point. The EKG monitor was attached and the “quick look” by Melody confirmed there was no heartbeat and that I was already in full arrest. Flat line. My heart had stopped and blood was no longer circulating to bring oxygen to the brain. I had died at approximately 1:35.
Table of Contents
|1||Not an Ordinary Kind of Day||3|
|2||My Husband Remembers||17|
|3||Where It All Began||28|
|4||The Love Connection||38|
|5||Perceptions of Reality||47|
|6||In the Celestial Silence||60|
|7||Loving and Caring People||68|
|8||A Look at Death||78|
|10||Cracks in the Veil||106|
|11||Memories and Understanding||119|
|12||Bless Your Heart||131|
|13||The Beloved Old Friends||138|
|14||Rebirth of the Soul||148|
|15||A Spiritual Renaissance||161|