The Website of PMH AtwaterOne of the internet's most comprehensive sites on the near-death phenomenon!

One of the internet's most comprehensive sites on the near-death phenomenon!


Many actually walk out on their lives, giving away or leaving behind what they have, so they may pursue a more spiritual way of living – perhaps seeking out a new profession, maybe as a healer, minister, counselor, or as an individual more involved in the creative arts. They are infused with a sense of “mission,” that they have a job to do and they had better be about doing it. This is very real to an experiencer; that sense of mission is passionate and ofttimes quite consuming in how it affects them. The stories of what happens next and what experiencers do about pursuing this new passion are inspiring, and can uplift and enlighten others. These people show all of us what true priorities are and the value of becoming more spiritual in how we regard  our daily lives.   As part of this “turn-around” in lifestyles, there are other experiencers who simply lose touch with anything detailed, such as clock time (appointments, schedules), employment (tasks, planning), investments (retirement, stocks/bonds), and money itself (budgets, debts). This has little to do with expressing spirituality in a more active way in one’s life. Rather, what is more often the case, is that the experiencer, still detached and wide-open, wants to help others, please others, and experience the newness of life devoid of the pressure of expectations. In this freedom of “being new,” an experiencer just wants to be free.  Seldom are the challenges that can come from this shift in priorities big enough of an issue to become really threatening - until somewhere between 14 to 20 years later (I identified this timeframe as “the fourth phase of integration” in my research and recorded this finding in various books, especially “The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences”). When that time comes, it’s as if the experiencer “hits a wall” and comes face to face with some serious financial issues, especially in regards to family, children, and debts. It is during this period that experiencers often question:  “Was it worth it? Did I do the right thing? Was I kidding myself? Do I have the right to put my family at risk just because I want to pursue a different way of living? How about the future of my family? Who takes care of them? What is my responsibility here? Is there a better way I could have handled this?” This period of questionning can lead to feelings of deep grief and guilt, and sometimes anger, and sometimes a great sense of loss.  Negotiating “the darkness light can bring” is no easy task. Few if any counselors and therapists recognize what is really going on here. Based on what I have observed, I submit that the real culprit is. . . they never grieved for their death. Near-death experiencers, the majority, either physically died or nearly so. Afterward, they are so changed by what they went through that they never look back. . . until years have passed, maybe several decades. The “wall” they hit then is that grief. What I have found to be helpful when this occurs, is spreading one’s baby, childhood, and growing-up pictures across the walls and stuffed into purse or wallet. Viewing this, and acknowledging and honoring the life once lived, is very comforting and calming. Spending time remembering “before,” understanding what the major influences were and whether that was beneficial or troublesome, really taking a good look at adulthood (if an adult experiencer) and examining motivations – all of this is very revealing. Going through a grieving process of acknowledging that what was lost is never really gone, but has shifted around in value and meaning, is extremely valuable. You are still you, but now you are a different model of who you once were, and it’s okay to be that way. With most experiencers, once they relax into the different way they now regard life and how it can be lived, and how much better and freer they feel, there is immense relief and a sense of deep healing. Some regrets can linger, yet, eventually, even those fade. “The peace that passes all understanding” can result. For those who cannot face that “wall,” or cannot in some way maneuver their way through a process of reassessment and “realignment,” disappointment and despair can follow, perhaps leading to illness or denials. In my research, those adult and child experiencers most likely to commit or at least attempt suicide after their near-death experience, did so during this fourth phase of integration.  Taking a broader view of the integration process can help to highlight problems/challenges before they become serious or threatening issues. Last I heard Yolaine Stout, herself an experiencer, was planning on writing a manual that could be a guide and an aid for individuals going through the initial phases after a near-death episode. It is my hope this project of hers is published soon. Perhaps others, like Yolaine, will be so inspired that they too will come up with similar projects. To show how important this issue is, what follows is a real tear-jerker, a near-death experiencer who committed suicide because of the guilt he felt in not being able to handle money after his experience, and because of the way his mismanagement affected his family. Situations like this occur far too often, although in most cases, the result is not as final as suicide. The experiencer’s friend, Margo, is now dedicated to finding a way of getting necessary information to the people who need it most. Perhaps you can help her. Her e-mail address is included, in case you wish to contact her directly.  Blessings to all, P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D. Subject: Can you help me? From: "Margo Spilde" Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 12:19:08 -0500 I became friends with a man who had a NDE. During our friendship he expressed his concerns and desires to me regarding money after a NDE. My friend felt very strongly that there needs to be information available regarding how your emotions change after this experience and how it affects your relationship towards money and specifically guidance in how to deal with it. What he told me was that much literature and guidance was offered to him while in the hospital but none of it had anything to do with money and how to deal with that after he got home. In his particular situation, he did all the things he had always said he would do but hadn't gotten to yet because of time or money or both. My friend, Steve, took his family on a trip he was always going to do. He bought the ring for his wife he had always talked about. He also bought a pickup, boat, and 4-wheeler in order to have the experiences he had always wanted with family members. I have read that some people start giving away money to help others. The reactions are as diverse as the people and experiences I'm sure, but the bottom line seems to be that no one is offering guidance in this arena. While working with Steve regarding his finances everything was under control and getting better. He then wanted to buy a different house and I was working with him on that possibility. Unfortunately Steve had bought additional things between these two meetings and he had become convinced that he had ruined his family's finances beyond repair. Although I tried to reassure him that everything would be fine financially, he became more desperate and convinced he had caused damage that could not be repaired. Steve believed the only way to fix the problem was if he was no longer here. That could not have been further from the truth.  I worked through this financial situation with Steve and his wife and it appeared that everything had been repaired and moving along normally. Unfortunately, neither his wife nor I saw that Steve was slowly putting all of his affairs in order. I did not see that what appeared to be agreement with me regarding everything will be fine was actually peace in his final decision.  To conclude my story, I made a promise to my friend Steve. My promise is that I would do all that I can to help people before they have to live through the financial devastation that he did in a time when a person should be celebrating the fact that they have more days to live rather than worrying about money. At the time I made this promise I did not realize it would be the last time that I would ever speak to Steve. Sadly, Steve took his own life in an attempt to fix the financial damage that he believed he had caused. I have now made a promise to Steve's wife that I will fulfill Steve's last wish to offer guidance about money and the emotions towards it to people who have lived through a NDE.  I have come across several stumbling blocks in trying to fulfill my promise to Steve and his wife. I could use some help from people who have lived through a NDE either personally or as a close family member or friend. It appears that there is very little if any information about finances or money in regards to NDE. How do you think I should get started because it appears I may need to start by researching the topic with people who have experience in this area? Any insight you can give will greatly enhance my ability to fulfill my promise. Currently I am setting up a website in order to get the ball rolling. My attempts at going through hospitals have not worked out thus far and so any insight you have regarding distribution of information or research will also be helpful. I am strictly setting up a not for profit foundation in honor of Steve in order to get this information to the people that need it.  I thank you in advance for any help and guidance you offer. Margo

NDE Cases