Tag Archives: NY

The Light. What I learned from my near death experience

It’s only recently that I fully came to understand how my near death experience so many years ago changed the course of my life.

It was the middle of January and a typical winter day in Rochester, New York when the days are short and bitterly cold. Snow blanketed the ground as I made my daily trip to the hospital to spend time with my son who was two weeks old and cradled in the intensive care unit.  I felt as though my life was frozen in time, nothing else mattered.

My life went from total joy in anticipation of our long awaited arrival to a place of confusion and fear.  The nurses who cared for my son Kyle repeatedly remarked on how thin I was for just having a baby. I was totally unaware of my body. I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, but I didn’t give it much attention. My only focus was on Kyle.  On this day I gowned up, scrubbed my hands and went through the glass doors to the intensive care unit where a nurse carefully handed me my son who slept in an incubator. I sat in a rocking chair and found being here with Kyle was the only place I felt at peace.

Thirty minutes into holding my son, I felt a drastic change in my body; I knew something was seriously wrong as I hand our son to my husband.

My son Kyle and I

My son Kyle and I

 

By the time I was rushed into the emergency room, I was in and out of consciousness and I didn’t understand what was happening to me.  The room was small and cramped with doctors and nurses rushing in and out of the room. My Doctor yelled orders to the staff and it felt chaotic.  With a nurse on either side of me, I could see the frustration in their face as they struggle to attach an IV to different parts of my arms because my veins had collapsed. I had lost too much blood.  My doctor moved swiftly to stop the bleeding because he knew my heart would not be able to maintain the blood pressure. I was failing fast.

That’s when I felt myself gently float above my body. I felt warmth, peace and love surrounding me with a beautiful soft white light that led toward a tunnel.  As I looked down at my body lying on the hospital bed, I was aware that I was dying but it didn’t feel like a tragedy even though I was just 24 years old.

I pondered in this peaceful place between two worlds and I had no sense of how much time had elapsed. It’s difficult to put into words how I felt, but I will try.  In this place I felt an immense amount of love, acceptance and warmth.  I could see clearly that the many negative thoughts that had previously occupied my mind were in no way justified.  Why had I believed I was such a terrible person, why had I strived for so much perfection, why had I tried so hard to be someone other than myself?

The Flip Flop

I believe it was during that mysterious time between two worlds that I made the choice to begin again. When I awoke my body felt cold. I was confused and in pain. I was missing the warmth and love I had felt in what seemed just moments ago.  I was thinking about my son Kyle, and how we were planning to bring him home the following week. I felt the urgent need to see him right away.

It was 24 hours before they removed the tubes from my body, and a total of 48 hours later when Kyle passed away in my arms. He was barely three weeks old.

Losing my son is all that occupied my mind for a long time. I felt unsafe in the world and desperately wanted and needed something, I couldn’t comprehend that I had the most amazing experience of my life and now I felt empty. It would be months before I felt any of the love and joy that had surrounded me when he first came in this world.

At the same time, I was acutely aware that I no longer wanted the same things out of life. I had worked diligently towards work advancement, material things and always looking my best.  None of these things mattered. I felt lost.

And now…

When I look back at the moment where I left my body and felt the warmth and love through every fiber of my being, I realize that the soft powerful white light was me – my soul. Each and every one of us has this light inside of us.

The only gap between us and our souls are our thoughts.

 

This article was written on the 32 anniversary of my NDE.

Wendy Brabon

 

My Dad– a life of survival, acceptance and trust.

Being raised in London, England during World War 11,” I never felt like a victim during the war, people often referred to us as the poor children, it was part of my life and I accepted that” said Ken Graham.

Kenneth Peter Lewis Graham was born in the Spring of 1938. World War II  would start a year later when he was just one year old . While being raised in the midst of war, their Mum worked as a cook  and their Dad was in the Royal Air Force and served in India and Burma during the war, their Dad was a complete stranger to the boys until 1945. Ken spent much of his time with his 17 month older brother Derek.

My Dad and Uncle Derek in 1947. London, England

My Dad and Uncle Derek in 1947. London, England

When the war started many young children were sent away from London and moved to areas thought to be less at risk from aerial bombing. Operation Pied Piper, which began on September, 1939, officially relocated more than 3.5 million people.

Ken and Derek were sent to a farm at Chalfont Saint Peter, shortly after arriving the boys came down with dysentery and nearly died, they were sent back to their Mum in London after they had recovered enough to travel. While many children left London to live safely in the country, Ken and Derek spent their childhood in the midst war.

Both the boys attended Droop Street elementary school. They walked to school every day with gas masks slung across one shoulder. At times when the air raid sirens went off, they would hide in a shop doorway until the all clear sounded . During classes if the air raid sirens went off all the students would stand up and then continue their lessons in the school air raid shelter. If a buzz bomb went overhead we would all hold our breath and hope the engine would continue. If the engine stopped it meant the buzz bomb had run out of fuel and dropped from the sky filled with high explosives.  Source: Derek Graham

As a small child Ken would run around with his friends, one time he got caught throwing rocks at German Prisionors of War until the Tommy (British soldiers) yelled at them and sent them running. Often during the day Ken and his brother would collected shrapnel or tin foil dropped by departing bombers to help the efforts. The city was in the dark thorughout the war, at night they would find themselves running to bomb shelters due to airraids.

By the time the war ended in 1945 Ken was about 8 years old, he grew up fast in the streets of London. I have heard many stories about the gangs of London and my Dad’s explorations. I heard the reason why my Nanny (Grandmother) chose to get on a ship to Canada was to give Ken and Derek a new life.  At that point my Nan was 59 and 9 months when she emigrated to Canada, leaving her three grown up daughters in London to start a brand new life with her boys . They sailed from Liverpool on the Empress of Scotland and landed in Montreal and from there they spent two and a half days on a Canadian Pacific train to Edmonton

 

My Dad and his family outside his home celebrating end of war!

 Celebration – War has ended, outside my father’s home in London, England.

Arriving in Edmonton, Alberta Canada at the age of 15, my dad met my Mom two years later. He taught my Mom how to speak English, since she was from the Nederlands and spoke mostly Dutch. The two of them loved to dance, go rollerskating and have fun. It wasn’t long before my parents were married with their first baby on the way. By the time Tim came into the world my Dad was barely 18 years old.

My father wanted desperately to give his family a good life, he worked hard and felt kids should be seen and not heard. Respect was important in my family and we did not talk back. My parents had the first four of us kids before moving to Toronto, Canada where my father found better work and started taking engineering classes in the evening.  Soon after, my youngest brother Trevor was born.

I recall my Dad sitting us all down for one of our family meetings excitingly telling us we were moving to the United States of America, home of the free and lots of opportunity. He loved the idea that we could be whatever we wanted to be in life.

Moving from the city of Toronto to a small town in Kendall, NY was not easy. It was quiet in the Country and a bit of an adjustment especially for me– since I had never climbed a tree and  had an accent which made me feel different. 

Coming from the city we were used to living in a small space, however this home in Kendall was huge with six bedroom on 12 acres of land.  My father said this was his favorite time in life, where he enjoyed his six children (my sister Audrey was born in Kendall). For the first time my Father was part of a community, working at Eastman Kodak and coaching the boys baseball teams.

My Dad renovating our house in Kendall, NY

My Dad renovating our house in Kendall, NY

Things became more complicated and competitive as “the boys” got older.  I remember my Dad holding a family meeting and asking what kind of engineer did each of my brothers want to be? They were required to make a decision in that moment, each one of my brothers spoke up one-by-one. Tim, Manufacturing, Ron, Mechanical, Shane, Manufacturing, Trevor, Mechanical when I asked my Dad, what about me, he proudly stated that I could work at a the local hospital as a nurse’s assistant and meet a nice doctor.  

His thoughts on women were old fashion and I never bought into it, however I know he wanted us to be successful and to be the best we could be.

For me, its important to understand where we come from and what our parents have endured.  I had the priviledge of spending the past week with my Dad in San Diego, where he shared his life with me in ways I have never expereinced before.  I am forever grateful.

My father has managed his illness very similar to how he dealt with war as a child… as a survivor with acceptance and trust.

My Father passed away this evening on August 6, 2013.

Wendy