In December of 1991, Mary Helen Hensley was involved in a car accident that changed her life forever. Upon impact, traveling at more than seventy-five miles per hour, she felt time stall and temporarily left her body. In those moments, Mary Helen was consumed with a sudden clarity. She realized she had the choice to either remain in her body or exit from the earth, allowing the remainder of the scene to unfold without feeling any pain. She chose to depart from her body—and enter heaven.
In heaven, Mary Helen was welcomed by two angels who walked her through the place of light and encouraged her to go back to earth and help others. When she returned to earth, Mary Helen was suddenly struck with a desire to live a life of service and quickly set out on a journey into metaphysical healing. Her adventures took her to Ireland, where she went on to become a chiropractor, find love and new friendships, become a mother, and help numerous people with her gifts of communicating with the dead and seeing into the future.
Promised by Heaven is a remarkable spiritual journey that questions everything we understand to be true. Describing in great detail her experience in heaven, meeting angels, and returning to earth a changed woman, Mary Helen Hensley offers an unforgettable account of her path to find her true calling.
Related collections and offers
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Promised by Heaven
“YOU’RE ONE lucky little lady.” The voice seemed to float in from beside me with a deep, soothing Southern drawl. “Are you feeling strong enough to tell me what happened?” My nose burned with the smell of disinfectant, and every square inch of my body ached as if I had been trampled by a herd of wild elephants. I opened my eyes and tried to focus on the man standing next to me. As my sight adjusted to the harshly lit room, I realized that I was in a hospital. The man who was speaking to me was not a doctor but a policeman. There were nurses walking in and out from behind a curtain, constantly checking monitors, smiling, but saying nothing. I could hear a woman’s voice requesting assistance in the ER over a loudspeaker.
I looked over at the officer, careful not to make any sudden movements, because it felt as if my head would split in two if I did. In a raspy voice, sounding as if I hadn’t had a drop of water in days, I said, “Hey, I know you. You were at the accident.”
“That’s right,” he replied, with a slightly puzzled look on his face. “Can you remember any details that might help me figure out how all of this happened?”
I swallowed and grimaced with pain, unaware that I had fractured a bone in my neck and that the rest of my spine was now shaped like a backward letter C. I thought back to earlier in the afternoon, when I had set out on a short drive to town, and suddenly blurted out, “You should talk to my friend from college. She was only a few cars behind me when it happened and saw the whole thing! Did you find the piece of paper on the front seat of the car? A lady put it there, and it had her name and number on it, but then she ran away. There was a guy in some kind of uniform who turned the engine off. Surely he saw something!”
The officer became visibly uncomfortable and confused. “Young lady,” he queried, “how do you know about the lady who put her phone number in the car?”
“I saw her, of course.”
“And just how did you know that your friend was at the scene of the accident?”
“I saw her, too,” I replied, starting to get a little agitated.
With a tone much less confident than when our conversation had begun, he wrestled with his words. “Miss, there is no way you could have seen any of that happen! Your friend . . . the lady with the phone number . . . the man in uniform. All of those things were going on while you were still unconscious and pinned in the car.”
It was at that moment the penny dropped.
I struggled to pull myself up so that I could look my inquisitor in the eye. What I was about to share was going to change me in ways that I could scarcely imagine. I immediately became emotional as I proceeded to tell him what had really happened that afternoon. He listened carefully as I described exactly how the accident had taken place and the unusual circumstances that surrounded it. He stared at me with his mouth partially open, his brow furrowed as he listened on in amazement and confusion. It all seemed so clear to me, but he was obviously very disturbed by the uncanny way in which I was able to describe the incident. When I had finished speaking, he asked no more questions. In fact, he didn’t say another word and quietly left the room.
As I sat on the hospital bed, I looked around at my sterile surroundings and reflected on what I had told the policeman but more so, things I hadn’t told him. The day had started out like any other, but what had transpired that evening was nothing short of miraculous, and until now, no one has ever heard it in its entirety.
An elderly man dressed in dirty overalls and worn-out work boots got into his car to run a few errands in the afternoon. He drove down Highway 17, one of Charleston, South Carolina’s, busiest motorways, and proceeded toward his destination. No one will ever know if he simply didn’t see the red light, or if he sped up in an attempt to make it through the intersection before the oncoming traffic entered. His speed would indicate the latter, and his collision with a young couple earlier in the year suggested his deteriorating driving skills and slow reaction time should have taken him off the road permanently. We never met face-to-face, but this man’s life was now forever entangled with mine. He shot through the red light, smashing into me, broadsiding my car, and hurtling me into oncoming traffic. The violent impact literally knocked me out of my body.
My first memory of death was that no matter how we die—in an accident, a murder, or even from an illness—we can exit the body just prior to its actual demise, if we choose to do so. Time means nothing during the transition from this form to the next.
The day had been unusually warm, even for the South. It was December 14, 1991. I was on my way to a Christmas party and just two months shy of turning twenty-two. Dressed in a Santa Claus T-shirt and bright-red Bermuda shorts, I had just left my apartment and reached the major intersection at the end of my road. Little did I know I was about to become the newest member of the old statistic that states: “Most accidents occur within two miles of home.” Waiting for my light to turn green, I had no idea that the crossroads before me was to be the metaphorical and metaphysical crossroads of my life. When the light finally changed, I moved slowly through the intersection, safely making it past the first few lanes of cars that had stopped at the light. Just as I was passing by the last lane before turning toward town, I looked left, immediately realizing I was about to die.
Time ground to a halt as I felt my body brace for the collision. Then a funny thing happened. I became consciously aware that not only was this accident waiting to happen, it was waiting for me to make a decision as to how it would take place. I was consumed with a clarity that I am still unable to adequately describe. I had the distinct choice of remaining in my body, experiencing the horrific impact with all senses intact, or I could simply exit, allowing the remainder of the scene to unfold without feeling the sensation of having my body crushed.
It all seemed very natural, and it felt as if I had all the time in the world to make this decision. Its deceptive illusion is so obvious when faced with death. I was so overwhelmed with a certainty that I had “been there and done that” so many times before, I sensed I had nothing to gain from experiencing this impact inside my body this time. This time. . . . It was this choice that has shaped the rest of my life, because this time, unlike the countless times before, I remembered dying. Call it evolution of the spirit or an old soul finally figuring it all out again. At that moment, I became engulfed by the peace that passes all understanding. I was comfortable with the familiarity of it all as I recognized that I was not about to become a helpless victim of death, but an active contributor in my own passing.
Time resumed at an explosive rate as I catapulted upward and out of my body, moving instantly from participant to spectator. I watched the driver make no attempt to swerve as he slammed his car into mine, like an old sea captain, purposely steering his ship of fate into the waters of my destiny. I could hear the festive jingle-bell necklace I wore around my neck banging out an eerie tune at the instant I saw my head smash into the driver’s side window. The sound of bending steel echoed as I watched the seat fold in half beneath my body, crumpling like piece of paper. I looked on with peculiar and detached interest as blood began to soak through my clothes. The glass had shattered and flown up my shorts, cutting my most personal areas and embedding into my bare legs. The safety belt had pinned me to the back of my seat, as if my battered frame was hanging in suspended animation. As the momentum slowed, the car finally came to rest in the middle of the highway, stopping six lanes of traffic in its tracks.
Now out of my body, I noticed that a friend from college had been only a few cars behind me at the same stoplight. I simply observed her horror as she recognized the mangled body that was trapped inside the now-crushed Toyota Corolla. It was then it occurred to me as strange—I had just witnessed this accident. A shocked state of awareness set in as I took note that I was effortlessly floating, looking down at the body that had taken me through twenty-one years of life, and it did not faze me that I was no longer inside it. I quickly adjusted to the absolute freedom of being unencumbered by a physical form and watched as the rest of the scene continued below.
A lady, who was either in a rush to be somewhere else, or too afraid to get involved at the time, ran over to the car, placing her name and phone number on the front seat of the passenger side. A man in uniform reached in, turned the ignition off, and frantically looked to see if he could pull me out. He soon realized that the entire left side of my body was pinned between what was left of the seat and the bashed-in driver’s side door. He tried to keep onlookers from getting in the way. People were rapidly beginning to congregate, some attempting to offer a helping hand, but most just trying to catch a glimpse of the wreckage and the unfortunate soul it belonged to.
As I began to gather my wits, I comprehended that I was transitioning from life into death. Immediately, one of my greatest childhood fears was instantaneously dissolved. I had always had a terrible dread that when we die, we cease to exist. Poof! Gone! No memory or identity, just nothing. It was a ridiculous fear, in my case, as I had been exposed to numerous extraordinary paranormal experiences. In fact, the first two decades of my life had not been without their share of visions, visitations, and prophetic dreams. Nonetheless, there was still a deep-rooted anxiety that periodically gripped me in my youth, no matter how many times I had seen proof of life after death. At the time, like so many in their formative years, I was young and confused and didn’t fully understand my dreams and visions.
I was overjoyed to remember that I knew exactly who I was, with all of this lifetime’s memories intact, but with a complete lack of concern for my body and the end of the life I had actually been living only moments before.
I know people have described near-death experiences with the “tunnel of light.” I did see the light, but the trip through the tunnel must have been so fast that I actually missed it. I will, however, never forget the sound that accompanied me on this journey. It was the most bizarre buzzing noise, unlike any hum I had ever heard. It was present as I watched what happened on the ground; however, a most beautiful drone, the otherworldly tones of the Music of the Spheres, replaced it as I landed in a magnificent bright light. How could one ever adequately describe the symphony of the heavens? One second I was hovering above my car, watching the spectacle that was my own accident, then, in a flash, I was somewhere else. Somewhere so miraculous that my human mind and limited vocabulary could never articulate its awe-inspiring beauty.
Without delay, I became conscious of two “Beings,” illuminated by the most stunning backdrop of fluid light. The colors weren’t from our world, as I have never seen such translucence in a rainbow or vibrant shades in any work of art. I was surrounded by a mixture of a distant relative of magenta with a shimmering, pearly sheen. The atmosphere seemed to breathe this unusual hue with the palpable texture; I could feel it all around me, in me. . . . These two Beings appeared to be a part of these colors, yet seemed to step from the palette, taking on a solid and recognizable human form. They were wearing what resembled flowing gowns, but the brushed caramel material from which the gowns were made looked to be a part of them, as opposed to separate pieces of clothing.
They greeted me with a love and joy so pure; it was as if I could feel myself melt right into them. For a moment, I became one with them. I had temporarily become that extraordinary wash of light, feeling it course through my soul, cleansing me and welcoming me home. It was perfectly clear that the spirits before me were not friends or family from the life I had just abandoned. They were guardians who had spanned millennia with me, watching and guiding lovingly from this place that was becoming more familiar as each second passed.
The stories of Divine Beings who lovingly watch over us were true! These were my guides, my spiritual watchdogs. They really did exist! They were there to assist me in my transition from incarnation in the physical to life on the spiritual plane. I was now becoming fully aware of how I had known these Beings, sharing in the excitement of this reunion. We were not speaking in the manner I had been accustomed to in my earthly existence. We were sharing from our hearts, soul to soul, in a universal language that knew no bounds or limitations. There were no words spoken, only thoughts and feelings that filled my spirit with lucidity that far surpassed that of any dialogue I had ever partaken in on Earth.
As I felt the presence of these Guides, these watchdogs, I was flooded with the memories of how it all began: an odyssey of adventures as my lifetimes unfurled before me. The backdrop of colors that greeted me on my arrival was now like a grand cinema screen, surrounding me 360 degrees and in multiple dimensions. In a single instant, it all became crystal clear. I was ready to examine the story of my life. With the interest of an actress critiquing her own performance, it was as if I was watching a film with my best friends. My spiritual cheerleaders enveloped me in their love, proceeding to guide me, step by step, through twenty-one years on Earth as Mary Helen Hensley: the marvelous, the mediocre, and the dreadfully disappointing bits of my intriguing young life.
How startling it was to see how tiny gestures had snowballed into life-changing moments for those who had witnessed them, and how heartbreaking it was to see the same effect with thoughtless acts and unkind words. Still, I watched, taking mental notes as to where I had been excellent at taking on soul-inspiring lessons about the importance of kindness and compassion in all situations. I also became painfully aware of how, in the course of history, the phrase “judge not lest ye be judged” had been invariably altered, losing its most vital point—that no one great deity judges us in the end. It is we who must judge our own performances. This is truly a daunting prospect when watching your life play out in front of you: aware of the contents of each scene, unable to change them, yet knowing what’s coming next.
In that all-loving space, I understood that it was me, myself, to whom I must be accountable.
Far from the stories I had grown up with in the Bible Belt of America, there was no fire and brimstone, no wrath of a vengeful God. Only the hushed solitude of a place so beautiful it hurts to remember.
While looking back at my life, I was experiencing humankind’s most difficult challenge—to sit with oneself. The experience was despairing as well as euphoric, but ultimately it was love revealed in its highest form, which no person should fear. Remaining ever mindful that every second really does count, in the midst of all the chaos, joy, and pain, we are never disconnected or more than a “passing” away from home.
To adequately and fully describe all that went on during that journey back to the Source of Life would take volumes. To be honest, some but not all details as to the inner workings of life’s greatest secrets were hidden behind a veil of forgetfulness that those in Spirit must have felt was necessary to conceal, so that I could return and experience a productive life. To pine away for the splendor and love of that extraordinary place would be to throw away the precious, short time we have in this world. I didn’t fully understand at the time that I would now walk between the two worlds for the remainder of my days.
One of the benefits and burdens of remembering your death is a feeling of tremendous responsibility to always strive to do the right thing. To treat people with anything less than kindness, fairness, and respect carries a heavy price tag when you are able to remember who you really are. The intensity of emotion while witnessing my life story is one that I will never be able to translate appropriately. Remembering beyond the veil carries an indescribable sense of knowing that isn’t always that easy to live up to when dealing with others, especially those who don’t remember what lies ahead. It gives new meaning to rising to the occasion, turning the other cheek, doing unto others, and all of the other clichés to which we have become so numb. I think of the quote: “A hero is someone who is excellent when no one is looking.” But guess what, heroes: Someone is looking and that someone is you.
Of the many things that I can remember, there is one that I feel compelled to convey with certainty—I think it is important to state that reincarnation is a fact. It’s not too often that I emphatically state anything without following up with “in my perception” or “in my opinion.” In this case, I simply can’t do lip service. I hang my hat firmly on the fact that continuous life is not some dream fantasy those who are afraid to die soothe themselves with in order to quell their fears or lessen their apprehension. I will emphatically profess, without any reservation, we have lived before. We have lived here, and in many other places, just as we will continue to do so until such time as the great unknown becomes fully revealed. Earth is one of many options for growth and expansion, and just like going to school, we come here and reincarnate here, until we are finished here. We don’t jump in and out of “Earth school”—we work our way through until we feel that we have exhausted all that is offered and can move on. I’d had experiences of this knowledge as a child, and now I stood face-to-face with the reality that life really does go on. This was a red-letter day for the preacher’s daughter. Imagine, for a moment, the enormity of coming face-to-face with the memory of reincarnation, when prior to that day, the concept had never existed in my belief system or been mentioned in my upbringing. Returning to a battered body would pale in comparison to the challenges I would face reinventing my entire perception of existence prior to birth and following death.
It was the relaxed and very familiar way in which the Guardians guided me through the journey of my life that made this all so evident. While watching the stories of my life, I was building on the knowledge and information gathered from previous lifetimes. It all became obvious during this process, which also made it easy to disengage from any feelings of blame, resentment, or anger toward missed opportunities of accomplishment in the life I had just left. The prospect of moving up and onward in a different body, with a different set of circumstances, was patiently waiting around the corner.
I discovered that we are like actors in a guild who tend to incarnate together, taking on various roles in different lifetimes. In this life, I am playing the part of daughter to my mother and father, the sibling of my two brothers and one sister, and currently, I have the role of the mother of two beautiful little girls. I have played the girlfriend, the wife, divorcee, and now, single mother. I have been the student as well as the teacher, doctor turned metaphysician and author. In my next life, any of these people may appear as a parent, a partner, a good friend, or even an aggravator. This is why all of us have had the experience where we felt as if we knew someone we had never met before, or taken an instant liking or disliking to another person for seemingly no reason at all. As for soul mates, I discovered that we have many.
What we need to remember, as we get caught up in the romantic notions of finding our one true soul mate, is that we may have decided long ago to experience life with several of our soul mates, as friends, family, or lovers. We play our roles in one another’s lives, loosely following a script, allowing the freedom of improvisation at each actor’s discretion. This is the stuff that being human is made of. It’s what makes life so worth living. While you might be following your lines word for word, your costars may choose to deviate from the script, throwing you completely off track and into a situation that creates even more opportunities for growth and expansion of the soul.
The term “soul group” has been used to describe these players and is an appropriate description for how it all works. Members of a soul group incarnate together at various times and in appropriate lifetimes, teaching or learning a similar set of lessons in conjunction with the other members of the group. They support one another through many journeys, and certain themes have a tendency to appear consistently, as each member strives to reach a new level of spiritual awareness. It is a most amazing approach to living and one that will never allow the human race to grow tired of itself.
For example, a soul yearning to learn compassion may return to this world as a dastardly character, ruthless and without conscience. He may find a soul mate in his child, a cherished and long-awaited heir, who is then taken away, killed by cruel and tragic circumstances. The soul who died knew prior to incarnation that its time on Earth was limited. Its mission was to provide an arena for its companion soul to experience tremendous feelings of grief and loss, possibly resulting in a better understanding of compassion.
Another soul wishing to learn lessons in devotion may find itself married to the most disloyal of spouses, not because this soul is inherently unfaithful, but because it is playing the part of the infidel, so that the soul on the receiving end of this painful relationship might embrace the value of commitment.
The combinations are endless, and members of the same soul group have a complete understanding of the roles they will play before the curtain even opens. All roles, whether we understand or embrace their value, are equally important, and by the same token, divine in the eyes of our Creator. It changes one’s entire perspective and begs the question Is it actually possible for another person to harm us?
For those who have lost loved ones to violence or acts of malice, it is nearly impossible to comprehend. But in the grand scheme, each and every spirit is fully aware of who they are to become—aware that perceptions may be that they are anything but an all-loving spiritual being. But no matter what appearances may seem, each life and every lifetime is a crucial component in the expansion of the heart of humanity, while furthering its own personal evolution as it moves back toward The One.
I remembered exactly why I had chosen to incarnate into my family. Its specific value system and any idiosyncrasies were all custom-ordered for my personal development and any advancement my spirit had set out to achieve. My father’s dedication to spiritual and physical discipline, paired with my mother’s overwhelming capacity to see the good in everything, were a combination that I requested in order to obtain the background necessary to accomplish my work in adulthood. The respect that I had for my brothers and sister without sharing a deep emotional closeness was also part of the plan. I had chosen to become a member of a family unit that had allowed me to grow and develop with an independence that was never overshadowed by any one sibling’s influence. My brother Jonathan, and my sister, Beth, provided complete stability and “normality,” if there is such a thing. My older brother, David, inspired a sense of adventure and mystery. They were equally important pieces of the puzzle of my life. We had been born so far apart; David, seventeen years my senior, Beth, ten years ahead, and Jonathan almost five years older, meant that I spent the vast majority of my time on my own, developing my personality traits and building close friendships outside the family.
My siblings were meant to be an easy source of love and friendship in my youth, rather than a battleground for life lessons this time around. I had chosen a different curriculum this lifetime that had primarily to do with my parents’ belief system, the teachings of Christianity in its present form and a comparative study as to how it had been altered from its origins, and integrating that influence into my own personal convictions—the ones that had been formed from my individual experiences. It all made sense now: why I had spent so much time on my own with my parents as a preteen and young adult. I had more to gain from what I was to discover when being weaned from my mother and father than I did by waging war or developing extremely close relationships with my brothers and sister. My Guardians had rekindled my understanding of just how vital the choosing of one’s family is to laying the foundation of who we are to become in the future. They also reminded me that what was to be now, might not be the same down the line.
The most fascinating aspect of the reincarnation cycle for me was learning how a thread of lifetimes works. The thread is a simple expression used to describe how a soul will incarnate into a theme or situation over and over, approaching the lesson from every possible angle. The kind soul to the homeless man on the street, the disinterested passerby who never even glances at the man with the cup of loose change, the homeless person himself, the teen who taunts and jeers, the sensitive child who cries for his troubles. It’s the opportunity to walk in the shoes, be the one who picks out the shoes, the one who pays for the shoes, the one who makes fun of the shoes, the one who discards the shoes, and the one who eventually outgrows the shoes. . . .
I was overcome with a new zest for living and a tremendous feeling of recommitment to my life on Earth. My spiritual teachers, the Guardians, knew before I breathed this thought. . . . I was choosing to go back. I recognized that I just wasn’t finished yet. We do have that choice, and as I learned that day, there are many opportunities to leave this life, if we choose to take them. These are what I call portals of exit. They are the near misses—we’ve all had them—close calls that could have been the big one, the lucky break, the miraculous recovery by the grace of God, the time when “someone was definitely looking out for me.” I learned that our higher selves are well aware of these portals; it is our own souls who determine how, when, or if we use them. I had just squeezed through a portal to study my performance rather than letting it pass me by. I was now preparing to shove myself back through it, with a new vision from a place I now remembered as home.
The Spirits impressed upon me that there is not one life set in stone, with a concrete beginning and an unchangeable end. That would be incongruent with the way the rest of the universe operates. Free will, it’s been called in the past, but it’s more like Thy will be done . . . on Earth, as it is in Heaven.
I had always thought that thy meant God’s will, when in actuality, it means our own free will and what we chose to do with it. Portals of exit give us the chance to be the authors of our own stories, not puppets on a string, doing the bidding of an unwavering or disinterested master. We can write and rewrite the script as we go along, with the guidance of our spiritual companions and departed loved ones. It is the most amazing part of the grand plan. We have been given the tools to experience ourselves in life for as long or as short as we choose, with as much happiness and health, or as much pain and suffering as we see fit in order to learn the lessons of growth and development that this earthly school has to offer. Thankfully, I retained that memory; it is the keystone on which I forged the new foundation of my life, postaccident.
I had been given a wonderful gift. The chance to live on, make changes, and begin a new direction in life, complete with fresh memories of where I had come from—the place from where all of us have come. I had also been given specific impressions of how my life would change when I returned. Things would definitely not be the same. I would go back into my body, with access to different gifts and abilities that I had not been privy to before the accident. The bar had been raised, and so much more was going to be expected of me, if I chose to follow this path. I knew that this course of action was not going to be easy. However, with this endowment also came a promise: constant guidance and support, if only I would open my heart and allow myself to receive.
With no tearful good-byes—in fact with no farewells at all—I heard a deafening, whooshing noise; it sounded so harsh compared to the unearthly Music of the Spheres. Pain and terror were the next things I felt as I was sucked back into my body, which was now out of the wreckage and lying on the road. I have no memory of how I got there. I know I had regained consciousness before the ambulance arrived. I had demanded to show that I was okay and had convinced somebody to let me stand on my own. I vaguely recall speaking to and then seeing my boyfriend’s sister, first by phone, then when she arrived at the scene just before I left for the hospital. There were brief moments of lucidity, as if I had only been in a minor “fender bender” in the car. However I got there, I was now in shock, crumpled in a heap on the hard pavement before being strapped to a board, neck and back immobilized, then placed in an ambulance.
A lady was leaning over me and stroking my hair, attempting to soothe me as I sobbed, trying to piece together what in the world had just happened. She kept saying over and over that there was no way they were going to let me die, most likely because I kept crying and talking about dying. She thought that I was fearful that I might actually be passing away, when little did she know, I was babbling about the fact that I had already died. I knew that I was going to make it, but at that stage, I couldn’t have told her or anyone else why. My encounter with that beautiful place, those sounds, my Guardians, now seemed like a distant dream as I faded in and out of consciousness, on the way to the emergency room. And the fate of the elderly man who crashed into me? His massive, uninsured four-door vehicle had allowed him to simply walk away.
Unbelievably, I was released from the hospital just a short time later, never scanned or X-rayed, riddled with a host of unidentified and very serious injuries. It used to boggle my mind as to how this could have happened. My car was hit at an estimated 75 mph, yet somehow I slipped through the cracks, only to discover how badly I had been injured weeks, months, and years later. I have since developed a greater understanding as to why this was all part of the plan. Each wound and subsequent complication brought me closer to the new path laid out before me. Divine timing was most certainly at work. As far as the medics in the hospital were concerned, they had patched me up as best as they could, and it was time for me to face up to the emotional trauma of this crash on my own. My boyfriend, Ben, took me home when I was released, where I spent the night in shock and bewilderment. Most of all I remember the horrific pain of my physical body, which now felt like a two-ton weight, compared to the spiritual body that had just taken me to another world and back again.
For the first time in my colorful medical history, I downplayed my story when I called my parents. No gut-wrenching tales of twisted steel and smashed glass, no stories of blood and broken ribs, hearing loss, or head injuries. Not a word was mentioned about where I had actually been, whom I had met there, or the fact that I had been so lovingly reminded of the reason I came into this life in the first place. I simply told them that I had been in a little accident. No big deal. They were so far away, it was nighttime, and the news that I had died and come back was a little much for anyone to stomach just before bed.
It was a long time before I told them what really happened, and I never really gave the full story to my boyfriend or his family. I just didn’t think they were ready. As I now look back, it was me who wasn’t able to share. I played the scene over and over in my mind, trying to figure out if this all could have been the product of smashing my head through the driver’s side window. Easy enough to explain my life review and the “Beings of Light” as hallucinations, but I would have imagined that my “delusions” and all of the information I was exposed to would have been in some way congruent with my current beliefs, or at the very least, in line with the way in which I had been raised to believe things were. I also simply couldn’t explain away the fact that I had seen the collision take place, as well as the people who came to my aid, all with a bird’s-eye view of my unconscious body. I would discover soon enough that this most certainly had not been due to any sort of delirium.
Ready or not, Pandora’s box had burst at the seams. The young girl who had always experienced the peculiar dreams and visions—she who communed freely with spirits as a child—was now about to understand why her entire life had been leading to this day, this serendipitous “accident,” this glimpse of another world, and most of all, the incredible new course that life was about to take.