It was July 16, 1982. It was a beautiful Friday, summer peacefulness in Shelbyville, Tennessee. A van, a truck, a mailbox, and a tree changed my life changed forever. I now know to call this experience a Near-Death Experience (NDE). Sometimes I wonder though, should I call it my Death Experience? I am now 68 and realize that I was paralyzed with fear to tell my story for far too many years. I had no idea anyone had ever experienced leaving their body, looking at it from above and then being enveloped in incredible white light. Nor did I understand my experiences until much later. NO ONE was talking about NDE’s in the 1980’s. That day is forever etched in my memory with complete visual recall. But it would take a lot of searching to remember other events happening in my life before or after! Why the difference in memory? Our book will tell of the complete journey of the past 34 years through all of my research and through many experiences in life. I start with a poem to illustrate the journey I took when seeds of understanding were planted in my soul in 1982.
Terry Ashby Larkin
To Be of The Earth ~By John Soos
To be of the Earth is to know
the restlessness of being a seed
the darkness of being planted
the struggle toward the light
the pain of growth into the light
the joy of bursting and bearing fruit
the scattering of your seeds
the decay of the seasons
the mystery of death
and the miracle of birth
I share with a humble heart, my Near-Death Experience Story using words from an inadequate language to describe one of God’s Amazing mysteries. This a shortened version of the day I died. The complete story will be in our book.
The Light GAP: G~od’s A~mazing P~resence
The Mystery of Death
By Terry Larkin
Life is so fragile. I was hearing the beautiful sounds of two young children laughing in the back of my van. It was like any other day, I was busy thinking about getting to the city pool. Children would be waiting there for me to blow the whistle and say, “Dive in, three laps everybody, get warmed up. I’ll be ready to see the 8 and under group first. We will work on breaststroke today!!” But, their coach never showed up that day. My van and a tree changed that beautiful laughing sound. All I could hear were the agonizing screams of my two young boys screaming, “Mom!” That horrifying sound, I still hear sometimes, 34 years later. The day would bring changes to every one of my senses. I know I added many more senses than I had the day before. Life gave me five senses, death gave me pause to recount. Memories, are they stored in our bodies or is it outside of our bodies? I would find out the answer that day.
I remember the unbelievable calm and peace I felt when I realized I was looking at my lifeless body below. How could that be? I had to process that. Today, if I close my eyes in one of my quietest moments, I see and feel a LOVE and LIGHT that envelops my body. Memories of entering into a GAP of light so brilliant white I wish I had a palate full of dazzling white paint, so I could share that amazing brightness with all of you!! But, it would be a journey of many years and experiences to bring at least some understanding. Let’s travel back to Shelbyville, Tennessee in the year 1982. Maybe I can share that light, in a different art form, the painting of life lived vibrantly through words.
One day I needed to pick up some flyers about a fundraiser to give my swimmers and discuss some fall plans for Children’s World, I was the director there. I was coaching a swim team. I traveled out in the country on a two lane rural highway. I spent time talking, but as I re-entered my van I did not put on my seat belt.
A man driving a pick up truck was in front of me and turning right. He went over the into my lane to do this. I swerved to the right to miss him, but we collided and I went smack into a tree. I reacted instinctively, but did not look. I went smack into a tree that was close to the road.
I know I was unconscious, but I don’t know how long. I awoke to screams from my boys calling “Mom!” This is etched in my memory. It is something that never leaves and it resurfaces at odd moments. I could not move. I kept going in and out of consciousness. I wish today I knew who the angels were that came to my car. I can picture a friendly face of a man. In my research only recently, I found out it was the passenger from the truck. The driver was in the house calling 911. They took the boys out of the back, I was told later. The ambulance driver helped me see that our boys were sitting outside with a lovely woman. Just in 2016 I met the grandson of this lovely woman. She is no longer living, I wish I could thank her for calming my sons who had to be in traumatic shock. Nowhere but in a small close knit town would someone find my husband, Doug, and have him arrive just as they were putting me into an ambulance. I feared that Jason & Jeremy would have trauma, but all of those thoughts came MUCH later. My only memory is people staring at me through the window telling me not to move. Little chance of that happening! I must have been asking over and over because they kept assuring me they had my boys. Luckily I never had to see that van smashed as it was. I know Doug was afraid there would be too much trauma for me to see it.
I don’t remember the ambulance ride, but I do have a few faded memories of being in the emergency room at the Bedford County Hospital in Shelbyville, Tennessee. I remember seeing Doug when they had me on a stretcher on the road, but I don’t remember anything said. So much had to be told to me later as I was recovering.
Back in the 80’s there were no MRI’s to figure out what was happening with a body. They knew I was bleeding internally, but it appeared to be slow. I do remember agonizing pain as they had to move me on to an x-ray table. I faded in and out of consciousness periodically. My head hurt so badly it felt like hammers were knocking in it somewhere. The pain in my abdomen caused me to be conscious only part of the time. They stitched up my chin, which evidently came down on the steering wheel. Who knows where and what I hit exactly. No seat belt, and air bags were only in the imagination of an inventor. But, amazingly enough they found no broken bones. I heard these words, “there is slow internal bleeding”. I remember a searing out of control pain, screaming and then blackness. Very black.
I was myself again. The next memories were extremely clear, but I was processing what I was seeing. Thoughts were very calmly going through my head…I remember the conversation going on in my head like it was yesterday, even though memories of my life in 1982 have faded greatly. As I was researching this book, I needed to go back and piece together the periphery of my life, parts I filed away in my deep sub-conscious mind. My during my NDE, it’s like a crystal clear pool of water with in tact memory. The thoughts swirling in my head…
I don’t remember arriving at the hospital. I’m in a bed in a room. When and how did I get here? Oh yes, the accident. Oh, that’s my doctor, I recognize him, Dr. Rich is our family doctor. I do remember a pain and then blackness. Pain & screaming, I remember that. But now I have no pain. In fact, I’m feeling wonderful, peaceful and calm. How can that be?
Wait a minute, I am down there? That’s my body? How can I be looking down at myself? Who are all of these people running around like crazy? Why are they running in and out? There are so many of them. What are they doing? Hey, everyone, I’m right here!! I’m just fine! My thoughts don’t seem to be changing their actions.
No, memories are not stored inside my head. I am remembering and thinking very rationally without my body.
I realize I am hearing their words, shouts, and a lot of confusion. I recognize my doctor, but still questioning thoughts as I was making sense of the scene. He seems to be yelling at everyone that is coming in, he’s looking totally stricken. Interesting.
Why am I feeling so calm? I have no pain. “Hey everyone, I’m NOT in any pain!” I hear something about my spleen rupturing. I hear, “it’s a huge tear, she’s losing a lot of blood”. I’m thinking, where does it go?
I am so peaceful. The areas around me are huge. I’m not really confined in a room. Oh, and the boys are fine. I know that. I know what house and set of friends now have my children. I am happy they are safe. Doug is talking to them, but leaving in a hurry. I never thought…how did I know that? I just did.
Wait, all of the people were leaving one at a time. They are gone. My body is still lying there. I’m studying my body. It looks so small now. The expanse of this room is absolutely HUGE. My doctor is holding my hand. “I’m sorry, I didn’t KNOW!” “I’ll wait here to be the one to tell Doug.” Tell Doug what? Why are you so sad? I’m feeling great.
Reflecting back, I don’t ever remember having a conscious thought, “I guess I’m dead.” Odd, I’ve long wondered why I don’t remember that. I still don’t know.
I have reflecting, calm thoughts as I watched the scene below.
Hmm, my husband Doug isn’t there in the room. I don’t see him now. The doctor is waiting for him, but he keeps talking to me and holding my hand. Wait, I can’t feel him hold my hand. I am feeling my doctors anguish and pain. I am feeling emotions, but no physical touch. My body is so motionless down there.
The hospital room started to be quite foggy looking and there was a huge amazing white light above me. The scene below me was getting smaller and smaller, disappearing into a blackish fog. Eventually I was all in a white foggy looking space. Time was moving, but time was standing still. There was no definition of time. I was peaceful, serene, and I remember an enveloping love that has no words.
It wasn’t very dark, but above me was an incredible white light. There was no definition to my space at all. There’s not turning of a body to look at something, I saw it all at once, all at the same time. And yet, there was no “body” with me that I could see. The foggy look began to swirl in a cone shape. The brilliance of the white light ahead was almost blinding, but there was no awareness of my eyes or any body part. In and around the cone shaped foggy clouds were streams of very light colors. There were blues and purples mixed with greens and yellows in hues that we don’t see on earth. It was beautiful, but nothing like a rainbow. These colors were floating in and out of the fog streaming into the light. As I got closer to the point of this cone, it seemed larger, more like an opening. But the incredible light was getting brighter and brighter as I traveled towards the opening. I was already receiving a very profound message that I brought back with me. LOVE is ALL there is! There were no words, a knowing had been absorbed inside my being. The feel of this love was incredible. This love message was the first and the most prominent in my memory from the whole time I was in this realm.
I began hearing sounds. Ears, did I leave them below? It wasn’t singing exactly. It was more like chimes, not any chimes I had ever heard before. There was a voice quality to it, but more like humming and chanting with no words of any kind. I LOVED those sounds. They were beautiful. I wanted to get closer to them.
Since I was a little girl, music has always been huge in my life. There were records always being played in our family room. I have wonderful memories of my older sisters playing piano, and sitting and listening to them with envy. My turn would come. My parents made sure all five siblings had piano lessons and played an instrument all with private lessons. I had my turn in that too. I choose to play a flute and I loved piano lessons. But, like many dutiful teenagers I gave them up because I was just too busy for such things. I was playing in the band and orchestra. And oh, did I have a crush on the orchestra teacher. I was at football games marching as a majorette. My social life seemed most important. Oh, it would be much later as an adult that I would regret that decision to stop piano! We all sang in the church choirs from the time we were 5 on through high school. I loved to sing. My mother had a beautiful alto voice and I loved to hear her sing. Choir directors at the Orchard Lake Presbyterian Church just assumed all of the Ashby girls would be altos as well. I kept saying, but no, I can hit all of these high notes easily!! They insisted I was an alto. I didn’t move to soprano until high school. And all of my adult life, in every church in all of our moves, I always sang in the choir. I still do. There are only two years in my life that I did not sing in a choir. I was too sick to do it. That story will come out later in my growth story. I love singing. I did keep playing the flute all through college, and I still play to this day. Amazing music and sounds can take me back to my near death experience. For years I searched to hear this music again. First it was my record stack. Then I had my 8-track stack. Then it was my cassette stack. And now it’s my CD stack. Even today my CD’s are like a mountain of steps, searching to find just the right sound. Music…it’s God’s celestial orchestra. I’ve come pretty close to the sounds. Many thanks to Dr. Wayne Dyer and James Twyman for producing the powerful frequencies that bring my being back to that light. I will share that experience as my journey unfolds.
The sounds carried me towards light. The sounds are locked into my soul and were never lost. After the beautiful colors mixing and the sounds, I was moving closer and closer to the end of this conical shape. It sounds odd to say that an incredible white light was drawing me into a small space. But, that smallness absolutely dissolved in an instant into dazzling, alluring, and brilliant WHITE.. I was wrapped in the most loving LOVE. I emerged into the “arms” of an incredible white light being that enveloped me. There were not arms, but it is a way that my five senses can describe how seeing, feeling, hearing and knowing all meld into one. I’ll have to say that now I wonder why I didn’t experience smell or taste. Something I will have to check out next time! At that point it was love, information, messages, my earthly life all coming to me at once. I can remember this so vividly. It’s a place I always seek. Love is all there is, love is all there is!
I need a new expanded vocabulary beyond my native English to describe how all senses go together. I think I could spend hours on the internet, reading every thesaurus, listing every adjective for the meaning of this concept, but what I always find going inward is the word LOVE. There was information but not condemnation nor judgment in any way. In years to come, I would NEED to move as close to this realm as I could come in my earthly home to try to figure out the second message that I received on this journey. We have the ability to heal ourselves! God perhaps already knew I would need that knowledge in years to come. The search would continue for a very long time.
I had heard the messages: Love is all there is and we have the ability to heal ourselves. I also heard I came back for a special reason. Now, as I reflect back on all of this I cannot imagine that I didn’t want to just STAY there and not return. So many people that have had an NDE, Near Death Experience, talk about a conscious decision out in this realm to come back for some reason. Oh, how I wish I could say that happened to me. I have no memory of a conscious decision to come back. If I had that memory, my journey would not have been so long! I know now God had a reason to send me back. The words were even in the knowing state when I returned. I came back for a reason! I came back for a reason? WHAT?
I learned over time how to relive this, but the method for reliving was LONG in coming. This message was an addition to the others I had heard. I came back for a very special reason. But, for reasons that only God knows, I had no idea why I came back! I came back into a body racked with pain. My time with God seemed incredibly long, but the trip back was like a snap of a finger and I was back in my body screaming.
I’m back in my body and oh the incredible pain! Somehow, the look on my doctor’s face was happier though, at least my earthly brain thought that. Around me were doctors and nurses, but I had NO view from above. My thoughts were not even there saying, “I was in my body”. Once again I moved in and out of consciousness, only this time at some point I saw Doug. He said, “They are rushing you into an ambulance and taking you to another hospital.” I do remember the doctor saying they couldn’t give me too much medication. Medical staff needed me awake so they could monitor what was happening. BLACK. Out again.
I only have sketchy memories after this. My husband told me I was in Baptist Hospital in Nashville. Eventually doctors would tell me they had to clean out all of the blood inside, where it was in all the wrong places. There was nothing left of the spleen to fix. They replaced almost as much blood as a human being has in a body. It took me a long time to come around, I’m pretty sure at that point I was well sedated for a lot of the time. The doctors showed my husband what happened in my body and said the surgery went well. They were expecting me to recover completely, all wonderful news. Today I still have a complete mental block of the 8 days I was in Baptist Hospital ( It is now called St. Thomas). I don’t remember anything until I came home. Even that was very sketchy until I visited the home I lived in back then. Why is that? And, why then is my NDE memory totally crystal clear after 34 years? Continuing stories will be in our book! *TAL
( There is more in Chapter 1: The Light GAP: God’s Amazing Presence)
 I AM Wishes Fulfilled MEDITATION CD by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and James F. Twyman