Updated: Jun 17, 2018
I do not remember my death. I remember the last words spoken, but I do not remember dying.
It was St. Patrick’s Day and I was riding with 3 friends. Tom was at the wheel of his brand new used Toyota Celica, Michele sat shotgun while I rode in back with Jerry. We were high school juniors who had just bought concert tickets. We were going to see Journey. Our favorite rock n roll band was on Tour and playing the Miami Orange Bowl. I remember the feeling of camaraderie mixed with wonder, we were given permission by parents to go to a rock n roll concert, unsupervised!
We were all high with the excitement and making plans for the show as we drove fast through the stormy night. Tom had Infinity on the stereo and we were rocking. Steve Perry’s melodious voice blasting out of newly installed stereo speakers, a teen dream moment.
It was a stormy night as south Florida tropical thunder and heavy rain pounded the car, a roar heard over the music.
“Wheel in the Sky” was playing when I wondered aloud,“why are we taking Military Trail?” The direct route to Tom’s house from the mall was I-95.
Tom answered, “I-95 is too dangerous in this storm."
That’s when he hit us, head on. A pickup truck driven by a drunk named Buzz. The highway patrol estimates we were traveling 55 miles an hour. Buzz didn’t realize he was driving north in a south bound lane. It was five cars and nine human lives he destroyed with that mistake.
Days after, while visiting at the hospital, Tom, Michele and Jerry described the scene I did not remember.
Rain was dumping and the debris field ran for ¼ mile. A collision course spread across three lanes of traffic and sidewalks. Buzz was thrown onto a grassy median with barely a bruise.
Michele had a severly dislocated hip and broken shoulder. Tom took ninety stitches across his face and suffered a broken ankle. Jerry was also cut, bruised and broken. Our car was the most damaged, not a panel on that little brown Celica shone anymore. It was crushed like a tin can.
Michele described how they pulled her from the car, her left leg dangling from a dislocated hip. She said her leg was turned around backwards. To this day, she walks with a limp. Then Jerry told me how paramedics cut into the crushed metal box because I was trapped inside and tangled up in the back seat. As they worked on extracting me, my heart stopped and I died.
Jerry described a rush of paramedics, one cutting open my shirt, the other placing defibrillator pedals on my chest and a third operating the machine. He described freaking out, of being restrained by a cop, unable to accept his girlfriend had just died.
It was strange to hear, the story of my death from Jerry. He was the the boy I gave my virginity to, only the relationship had ended abruptly in teen angst and we decided instead, to just be friends.
Seven of us were loaded into ambulances that raced off in search of emergency rooms. Florida had a rash of medical malpractice cases swamping the system and hospitals were leary of accepting dire cases. Jerry described not knowing what to do and how scared he was of telling my mom. This was 1983 in West Palm Beach, Florida and my mom, Pat Pepper-Schwab, was the Mayor. Pat was a very intense and a powerful lady. Jerry told the Highway Patrol that Pat was like having Wonder Woman for a mother.
I first gained consciousness in an intensive care unit. My gentle-mannered stepfather, Ron, was standing near and praying softly, “oh, J-Honey, sweet J-Honey…oh, J.” His warm soft voice drew me out of darkness. Surgical lights overhead blinded as I opened my eyes startling a doctor.
My face was damaged and pocked with shattered glass and an ER doctor was not suited to perform this delicate work. This doctor was a plastic surgeon from Boca Raton. As I woke and opened my eyes, he was pulling glass from my eyes with a tweezer. The moment was like a memory GIF. A brief flash, a fragment. I immediately sank back into darkness.
My next memory was waking up in a sunny room. First thought, "I need to pee!" This memory is vivid. And the pain. My head throbbed, eyeballs hurt, every cell of my body ached and a heavy plaster cast encased my right foot. But I had to pee. I had no clue where I was, but knew that I needed to pee and my body was not cooperating.
Sitting up took Herculean effort. Dropping sideways to the floor, I crawled into the bathroom. Pulling myself along the floor bewildered at the condition of my body. Excruciating pain resonated with each movement. What happened to me!?
I had no memory of the accident. None. Sitting on the toilet, I cried thinking about getting back to the bed. Asking for help never sat well with me. A rebel with pride is a dangerous combination. Later, I realized a buzzer on the wall would have brought immediate aide. I screamed out loud, terrified. Then my mother, the political Wonder Woman, found me and explained I had an accident.
The recovery was slow. My death occurred from a traumatic brain Injury (they did not use this label in 1983) and little understanding of brain injuries existed in the realm of Western medicine. After 28 doctors visits in six months, I landed in New York City where I met the head Medical Director of Squibb Pharmaceuticals. He was considered a world class brain expert and ironically, had lost his only son to a brain injury in a skydiving accident.
His offices perched atop a sleek glass and metal tower overlooking Central Park. He had the entire top two floors as a private clinic. It was amazing and I loved every moment with this kind Yale-educated surgeon who so wanted to understand the human brain. He studied my brain with machines, poked and prodded my body, asked loads of questions. After two days, he sent me off with headache medicine and a large yellow manila envelope containing copies of all the CAT scans and medical findings. One vivid moment is a lingering memory.
He said, “hang onto those films, you will need them one day.”
That didn’t happen, the films were lost long ago with millions of miles of memories. I do not remember my death. I do not remember many moments from my life. The brain injury damaged short term memory. It is challenging and leads to many, many losses. Yet, it is with sincere and deep peace of mind, gratitude, and trust that I share my story with you. Dying and resuscitation is an energetic experience. Death is the soul energy leaving the body. The soul is an energetic resonance that gives you life. Your soul is navigating the body.
Death profoundly changes a person.
One of the greatest gifts to come from my death, are expanded psychic abilities. A multitude of expanded awarenesses exist beyond our five physical senses. A realm of transpersonal communications include Psychic, Expanded Sensory Awareness, Clairvoyance, Clairsentience, Clairaudient, Empathic, Remote Viewing, Psychometry, Mediumship, Channeling, Intuition and Healing Touch.
You sense, see, know, and feel a great deal more than your five senses. Many individuals who have experienced death and returned have expanded sensory abilities. We know things the majority of humans do not know. We sense more, truly we do.
Psychic awareness is my co-pilot. A Peter Pan shadow hovering at the periphery. Expanded psychic awareness brings in oceans of information to surf and sail. At times it is akin to drowning with too much information. At other times, like caring for my Mother during a nine-year battle with ALS, it is a divine gift.
We are so much more than we believe.