When she told me her story, it took me a long time to come to my senses. Hearing evidence and testimony of the existence of the Heavenly world outside our earthly life and learning that there is no death, based on a fact from real life and not from books with their theories—it was difficult to digest that right off the bat.
But I did ask her the question:
“Why havn’t you told this to anyone before?”
“To people, to me.”
“But it was in the Soviet era. There would have been only one path for me—to a psychiatric hospital.”
Now I will try to recount the whole story from memory. This woman is still alive, and without fear I often give to all “doubting Thomases” her name and address on Lake Baikal, and send them to visit her to have a cup of tea and hear this story “straight from the horse’s mouth”.
“I couldn't give birth. I have had a heart disease since birth. Such a process as childbirth could be fatal for me. But show me a normal woman who voluntarily refused to be a mother?! I got married and took a chance.”
(I was listening without interrupting her, holding my breath. I will only add one thing: she was a professional nurse. So she perfectly understood her risk and its consequences).
“It was time to be in labor. I lay down on the delivery table. And then something happened that at first I did not understand. I was above my body, and all around were the screams of the doctors: ‘We are losing her! Quickly inject her with a drug (I don’t remember which one), otherwise we won’t be able to resuscitate her.’ While there was panic in the delivery room, I felt as if I was going down some tunnel. What happened next was quite incredible. I found myself in some amazing place, where there was such a huge amount of light, and such beauty of nature and colors! The first thing that came to my mind was: ‘Why are people so afraid of death? After all, it is so nice and quiet here. I would like to take both my dear mother and sister here. They would love it!’ Then I heard a quiet male voice: ‘Bring her back to earth. Her time has not come yet. She has children to raise.’ And some force pulled me back down. My whole being resisted. Coming back into the body was very unpleasant and painful, like metal grinding. (This is often mentioned by clinical death survivors.) When I came to, everyone was smiling, apparently rejoicing that everything was over. At night, by agreement with the nurse on duty, we opened the intern's room, found my medical history and read the terrible words: ‘cardiac arrest’. Then I finally realized that this was neither delirium, nor fantasies, nor inventions of the human brain. I had died and I had been ‘there’.
“Did you pay attention to the Lord’s words?” I asked.
“That you had barely made up your mind to risk having one child, but the voice spoke of more than one.”
“You are absolutely right! I didn't even notice or even think about that.”
(It should be noted that later, after her first son was born, this woman gave birth to a daughter in her second marriage.)
“What was your second labor like?”
“During my second labor, when my daughter was born, I had clinical death again. There was another cardiac arrest.”
“Oh my! And did you go ‘there’ again?
“No. First, as in the previous time, I left my body, floated over it, watched the doctors and went down the tunnel. But I didn’t go ‘there’ anymore—some force immediately dragged me back, and coming back into my body was even more painful than the first time.
We were silent. I asked my question mentioned above and added the following:
“What a blessing the Lord has bestowed upon you! Now you’re not afraid to die.”
She smiled shyly.
I will add from myself that maybe for her courage and determination to give birth, although the doctors had predicted death, she was granted life twice... at a time when many of us hurried to kill our own unborn children. Maybe God granted her this for her future conversion to Orthodoxy?
But today her house is full of grandchildren. After all, the Lord said that she had children to raise.”
To be continued…