My Descent into Death: A Second Chance at Life

( 50 )

Overview

Not since Betty Eadie’s Embraced by the Light has a personal account of a Near-Death Experience (NDE) been so utterly different from most others—or nearly as compelling.

In the thirty years since Raymond Moody’s Life After Life appeared, a familiar pattern of NDEs has emerged: suddenly floating over one’s own body, usually in a hospital setting, then a sudden hurtling through a tunnel of light toward a presence of love. Not so in Howard Storm’s...

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My Descent into Death: A Second Chance at Life

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Overview

Not since Betty Eadie’s Embraced by the Light has a personal account of a Near-Death Experience (NDE) been so utterly different from most others—or nearly as compelling.

In the thirty years since Raymond Moody’s Life After Life appeared, a familiar pattern of NDEs has emerged: suddenly floating over one’s own body, usually in a hospital setting, then a sudden hurtling through a tunnel of light toward a presence of love. Not so in Howard Storm’s case.

Storm, an avowed atheist, was awaiting emergency surgery when he realized that he was at death’s door. Storm found himself out of his own body, looking down on the hospital room scene below. Next, rather than going “toward the light,” he found himself being torturously dragged to excruciating realms of darkness and death, where he was physically assaulted by monstrous beings of evil. His description of his pure terror and torture is unnerving in its utter originality and convincing detail.

Finally, drawn away from death and transported to the realm of heaven, Storm met angelic beings as well as the God of Creation. In this fascinating account, Storm tells of his “life review,” his conversation with God, even answers to age-old questions such as why the Holocaust was allowed to take place. Storm was sent back to his body with a new knowledge of the purpose of life here on earth. This book is his message of hope.

"This is a book you devour from cover to cover, and pass on to others. This is a book you will quote in your daily conversation. Storm was meant to write it and we were meant to read it."

-From the foreward by Anne Rice

As I lay on the ground, my tormentors swarming around me, a voice emerged from my chest. It sounded like my voice, but it wasn’t a thought of mine. I didn’t say it. The voice that sounded like my voice, but wasn’t, said, “Pray to God.” I remember thinking, “Why? What a stupid idea. That doesn’t work. What a cop-out . . .”

That voice said it again, “Pray to God!” It was more definite this time. I wasn’t sure what to do. Praying, for me as a child, had been something I had watched adults doing. It was something fancy and had to be done just so. I tried to remember prayers from my childhood experiences in Sunday school. Prayer was something you memorized. What could I remember from so long ago? Tentatively, I murmured a line, which was a jumble from the Twenty-third Psalm, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the Lord’s Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and “God Bless America,” and whatever other churchly sounding phrases came to mind.

“Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. For purple mountain majesty, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. Deliver us from evil. One nation under God. God Bless America.”

To my amazement, the cruel, merciless beings tearing the life out of me were incited to rage by my ragged prayer. It was as if I were throwing boiling oil on them. They screamed at me, “There is no God! Who do you think you’re talking to? Nobody can hear you! Now we are really going to hurt you.” They spoke in the most obscene language, worse than any blasphemy said on earth. But at the same time, they were backing away.

—From My Descent into Death

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a book you devour from cover to cover, and pass on to others. This is a book you will quote in your daily conversation. Storm was meant to write it and we were meant to read it.”

—From the Foreword by Anne Rice

Publishers Weekly
Although numerous studies and books have explored near-death experiences, the phenomenon has been viewed with caution by many Christian denominations. So it is intriguing to read a first-person report of such an event from the perspective of a pastor in the United Church of Christ. While visiting Paris on a European tour nearly 20 years ago, 38-year-old Storm, then an atheist and art professor at Northern Kentucky University, was stricken with an almost lethal attack of peritonitis. In this necessarily subjective but absorbing chronicle of what is essentially a conversion, the writer describes a descent into Hell, where he confronted his anger and self-centered personality. After praying for the first time, he was rescued by Jesus and brought to heaven for an extensive conversation with Jesus and various angelic beings on topics that include the Holocaust, God's plans for the earth, angelology and, of course, what happens to us when we die. Blending traditional Christian theology with a doctrinal eclecticism more common to New Age philosophy, Storm's book may appeal to readers hungry for reassurance, both about the possibility of eternal life and the meaning of our choices here on earth. (Jan. 18) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385513760
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/15/2005
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 179,177
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

HOWARD STORM was a studio art professor at Northern Kentucky University for more than twenty years. Today he is an ordained minister and pastor of Zion United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Read an Excerpt

1

PARIS

Paris, the City of Light. What could possibly go wrong in the heart of the civilized world? This was to be the next to last day of our art tour of Europe. Saturday morning began with a visit to Eugène Delacroix's home and studio. The studio contained Delacroix's palette, his easel, the chair he sat in, and his writing desk. Just my wife Beverly and I went to his studio because everyone else in the group wanted to sleep late, as they were getting pretty tired of being dragged around museums and galleries from morning till night. We arrived at the Delacroix Museum at nine, and just before eleven o'clock we returned to our hotel room to get our little group ready to go to the Georges Pompidou Center of Modern Art. This was to be one of the high points of the tour of Europe.

Back in the hotel room there was a feeling of nausea rising up inside me. A few times on our trip I had had indigestion and taken some over-the-counter antacid and aspirin tablets, which always alleviated the discomfort. Now I took two aspirin and washed them down with some stale Coke from the evening before and continued talking to one of the students, trying to ignore the growing discomfort in my stomach.

As I was talking to my student Monica about the day's plan, I felt as though I'd been shot. There was a searing pain in the middle of my stomach. My knees collapsed and I sank to the floor. I held my gut and screamed with pain. Something terrifying was happening inside me, and I didn't know what it was. I was surprised that there was no wound on the outside of my body. In fact, there had been no sound, and as I glanced about, there was no way a bullet could have entered the room. I looked up at the windows that opened onto the balcony. Morning sunlight was streaming through the closed glass of the balcony doors, filtered through the sheer curtains. There was no broken glass where I expected to see a bullet hole in the window, no ripped hole in the pristine curtain. There was only a wound deep inside my abdomen.

The pain was drowning me, like I was sinking into a lava pool of agony. As I thrashed about on the floor in desperate confusion, I searched feverishly for some explanation of what was happening to me. One minute I was talking with Monica about our upcoming museum visit and the next I was writhing on the floor, consumed with pain. I had collapsed at the foot of the bed but had wriggled my way into the narrow space between the wall and the bed. In terror, I struggled into a space where I would be safely wedged into a fetal position. Constricted between the bed and the wall, I struggled to control my rising panic. By screaming and groaning, I knew I was adding to my predicament and making it impossible for my wife to understand what was happening to me.

I screamed for my wife Beverly to get a doctor. She was numb with shock. I cursed at her when she didn't respond. She composed herself enough to call the hotel desk and was told that a doctor would be summoned immediately. From the floor I looked up at the full-length windows in the French doors to the balcony. Through the transparent white curtains, light was flooding into the little hotel room, and outside the sky was a brilliant cerulean blue. Somehow I felt reassured by the beauty of the day. Something was very wrong with me, but I took comfort in the fact that a doctor was on the way. This was Paris, the City of Light. I would be okay. As I waited, the pain kept getting worse. I tried to be stoic. I fought to control the gnawing terror.

In ten minutes the doctor arrived. He was slightly built and in his early thirties. I could resist only feebly as he struggled to pull me up onto the bed. He asked me what had happened as he opened the buttons of my shirt to examine my stomach. His probing fingers on my abdomen aggravated the pain. I fought against him. He said I had a perforation in my duodenum. I must go to a hospital right away.

"Will I need an operation?" I asked.

"Yes, immediately," he said. He phoned for an ambulance and then gave me a small amount of morphine by injection. The intense agony began to subside. He explained that the morphine was just enough to get me to the hospital, but wouldn't interfere with the anesthetic of the surgery that I would be having very soon.

It became possible to think more clearly. The hospital stay would be most inconvenient. Tomorrow my wife and I with the students on the tour were supposed to drive to Amsterdam for the return flight to America. But things would work out. I could manage. I always had.

The two young men who arrived with the ambulance appeared to be very pleasant. They lifted me from the bed and supported me on either side, carrying my weight on their shoulders. We went down the hall and into a tiny hotel elevator that took us down to the first floor. There was barely enough room for us in the little elevator as I was propped up between them. The elevator stopped at the first floor, one floor above the street. From there, a long, winding staircase led down to street level. The ambulance attendants found a straight-back chair from the hotel dining room and carried me down the stairs. The men were straining to keep me aloft and balanced. I teetered and tottered as they struggled to carry me. I kept murmuring, "Please don't drop me." They laid me on a gurney at the sidewalk and then slid me into the back of a little ambulance. For a moment I panicked because I was afraid we were going to leave without my wife. To my great relief, I saw Beverly climb in the front seat beside the driver. The ambulance careened wildly through the Paris streets with its distinctive siren clearing a path through heavy midday traffic. I was reminded of scenes from World War II movies by the siren's sound, wailing mournfully through the congested streets of Paris.

After an amazing ride traveling at high speed, with the little ambulance swaying dangerously around each corner, we arrived at the emergency room of a large public hospital in Paris. I was immediately met by two young female doctors who began a thorough examination. One of the doctors looked like a young Jeanne Moreau. The other was thin and pale, with the saddest eyes. The intimacy of the examination they were doing was embarrassing. After consulting the X-ray films, they told me I had a large hole in my duodenum due to unknown causes, maybe an ulcer, maybe a foreign object. I must have an operation immediately or I would die. I asked if this could be done in America and was told I wouldn't survive the trip. They assured me that this was the best and biggest hospital in Paris. They were completely convincing as to the urgency of the situation and the necessity of the surgery.

They needed to get a tube into my stomach, but failed to tell me about the procedure. A big man straddled me and began to force a large aquarium-type tube down my nose. It slammed against the back of my throat, forcing a gag reaction. The more I gagged, the harder he shoved. Through the tears filling my eyes, I saw the thin doctor with the sad compassionate eyes make swallowing gestures with her hands, and I swallowed as hard as I could and the tube slid down.

I was still feeling the pain, but the morphine had taken the madness out of the terror. It was manageable now. As part of my effort to stay in control, I forced some weak laughter and made lame attempts at jokes. I was scared. I told my dear Beverly it would be okay. The doctors talked about a hospital stay of three or four weeks. Then there would be a couple of months of recovery at home.

Following the examination in the emergency department, I was taken by gurney out of the emergency building and rushed several blocks to the hospital building where the surgery would be performed. Every time the wheels banged against an imperfection in the concrete sidewalk, pain shot through my stomach, but I was comforted by the beauty of the surroundings. It was noon, the sun was shining, and it was the first day of June in the beautiful city of Paris, France. What could possibly go wrong?

We rode by elevator to a double room on the upper floor to await the operation. My roommate was a handsome elderly gentleman by the name of Monsieur Fleurin. He spoke English and was in his late sixties. His wife was visiting him. Her father had been an American who had come to France as a soldier during World War I and stayed. Her English was excellent. She immediately tried to reassure me and comfort my frightened wife. Madame and Monsieur Fleurin were exceedingly handsome people and gracious to us frightened foreigners.

It was about noon and, after a flurry of activity, everything became calm. The bed I was given had no pillow, so Beverly made a roll of sheets to support my head. This was the beginning of the wait for the surgery, and the acute pain was gradually increasing. Jolts of stabbing, throbbing pain spread out into my torso. They took my breath away. The doctors told me to lie as still as possible, so as not to provoke the leaking hydrochloric acid and other juices that were digesting my insides.

At that time, what I did not know was that on weekends, Parisian hospitals are understaffed. Most doctors vacation on the coast of France or in the country. I later learned that there was only one surgeon on duty in the entire hospital complex! Only he could operate; only he could authorize any kind of medication. I never saw the surgeon that day, and since nurses in France have no authority to give medication, they were powerless to do anything for my increasingly grave condition.

In the emergency room they had inserted the large rubber tube through my nose and down into my stomach to suction out digestive fluids. It was very difficult to talk and my mouth became very dry; my mouth tasted like rubber. I wasn't allowed to drink anything to relieve the dryness. The pain in the center of my abdomen grew worse. The torment radiated out into my chest and down to the pelvis. Staying curled in a fetal position felt like the only way to keep the fire from radiating farther out into my extremities. Tears ran down my cheeks from the pain. The only sound I could make was an occasional low moan like an animal. Whenever I tried to talk, it agitated my abdomen and magnified the pain. It was best to lie perfectly still and focus on trying to breathe as quietly as possible.

Minutes stretched into hours. No doctor came. Whenever a nurse entered the room, I begged for morphine. There was nothing they could do. When they ignored my pleas, I asked Monsieur Fleurin to beg for me. I told the nurses that I was dying and I had Monsieur Fleurin do the same. In the middle of the afternoon, the nurse said she would contact a doctor to see what they could do and gave me an injection of a "stomach relaxant." It had no effect whatsoever. Every time Beverly or I asked the nurses about the operation, they said it would be done within the hour. By early afternoon the relief from the morphine I had been given at the hotel had worn off completely. The fiery pain grew steadily worse. My stomach felt like it was full of burning coals. Hot flashes of intense pain shot into my arms and legs. I kept repeating in French that I was dying and begged for morphine over and over again.

I kept thinking that I should be unconscious because of my condition. Nothing in my life had prepared me for this intense agony. Why didn't I black out? What had I ever done to deserve this?

The nurse became increasingly impatient with our questions and pleas. Beverly was told that if she didn't stop her demands, she would be put out of the room. My poor beautiful wife could do nothing for me, and she couldn't get anyone to lift a finger to help me. She was acutely aware that she was losing me, and there was nothing she could do about it in spite of all her pleas.

In hindsight I realize that this woeful lack of attention resulted not from malice, but rather from bureaucratic ineptitude and indifference. I also realize that because I did not express the agony I was experiencing more dramatically, the staff didn't realize the full extent of my crisis.

My whole life had been one of self-sufficient stoicism. I believed I didn't need anyone's help. I could handle anything. I could do this, I thought.

In my extreme pain, seconds seemed like minutes and minutes seemed like hours. Minute by minute, second by second, the time passed into hours. By eight o'clock that evening the pain had become totally unbearable. I'd been in the same bed, in the same position, in the same room since noon without ever seeing a doctor. The pain didn't come and go in waves anymore, it just got worse and worse. The hydrochloric acid leaking from my stomach was spreading throughout my abdominal cavity and literally eating me up from the inside. The searing torment was gaining strength and I was getting weaker. Breathing was almost impossible. I tried to pour every bit of energy into inhaling and exhaling to stay alive. It was vividly clear to me that if I failed to breathe, it would be the end of my life. Period. I was so weakened from the ordeal, I knew there was very little strength left in me.

I kept thinking, this is not how it's supposed to end. I was fading away in a Paris hospital and they were indifferent to my agony. Why didn't they care? What would happen to my wife, my two children, my paintings, my house, my gardens—all the things I cared about? I was thirty-eight years old and just beginning to achieve some fame as an artist. Had all my work and struggle come to this?

I had grown so frail that I could hardly lift my head or speak. Beverly looked drained, totally emotionally exhausted. I didn't want to tell her that I knew the end was near. I told her I couldn't hold on much longer. It had gotten very dark outside the window of the bare hospital room.

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First Chapter

1

PARIS


Paris, the City of Light. What could possibly go wrong in the heart of the civilized world? This was to be the next to last day of our art tour of Europe. Saturday morning began with a visit to Eugène Delacroix's home and studio. The studio contained Delacroix's palette, his easel, the chair he sat in, and his writing desk. Just my wife Beverly and I went to his studio because everyone else in the group wanted to sleep late, as they were getting pretty tired of being dragged around museums and galleries from morning till night. We arrived at the Delacroix Museum at nine, and just before eleven o'clock we returned to our hotel room to get our little group ready to go to the Georges Pompidou Center of Modern Art. This was to be one of the high points of the tour of Europe.

Back in the hotel room there was a feeling of nausea rising up inside me. A few times on our trip I had had indigestion and taken some over-the-counter antacid and aspirin tablets, which always alleviated the discomfort. Now I took two aspirin and washed them down with some stale Coke from the evening before and continued talking to one of the students, trying to ignore the growing discomfort in my stomach.

As I was talking to my student Monica about the day's plan, I felt as though I'd been shot. There was a searing pain in the middle of my stomach. My knees collapsed and I sank to the floor. I held my gut and screamed with pain. Something terrifying was happening inside me, and I didn't know what it was. I was surprised that there was no wound on the outside of my body. In fact, there had been no sound, and as I glanced about, there was no way a bullet could have enteredthe room. I looked up at the windows that opened onto the balcony. Morning sunlight was streaming through the closed glass of the balcony doors, filtered through the sheer curtains. There was no broken glass where I expected to see a bullet hole in the window, no ripped hole in the pristine curtain. There was only a wound deep inside my abdomen.

The pain was drowning me, like I was sinking into a lava pool of agony. As I thrashed about on the floor in desperate confusion, I searched feverishly for some explanation of what was happening to me. One minute I was talking with Monica about our upcoming museum visit and the next I was writhing on the floor, consumed with pain. I had collapsed at the foot of the bed but had wriggled my way into the narrow space between the wall and the bed. In terror, I struggled into a space where I would be safely wedged into a fetal position. Constricted between the bed and the wall, I struggled to control my rising panic. By screaming and groaning, I knew I was adding to my predicament and making it impossible for my wife to understand what was happening to me.

I screamed for my wife Beverly to get a doctor. She was numb with shock. I cursed at her when she didn't respond. She composed herself enough to call the hotel desk and was told that a doctor would be summoned immediately. From the floor I looked up at the full-length windows in the French doors to the balcony. Through the transparent white curtains, light was flooding into the little hotel room, and outside the sky was a brilliant cerulean blue. Somehow I felt reassured by the beauty of the day. Something was very wrong with me, but I took comfort in the fact that a doctor was on the way. This was Paris, the City of Light. I would be okay. As I waited, the pain kept getting worse. I tried to be stoic. I fought to control the gnawing terror.

In ten minutes the doctor arrived. He was slightly built and in his early thirties. I could resist only feebly as he struggled to pull me up onto the bed. He asked me what had happened as he opened the buttons of my shirt to examine my stomach. His probing fingers on my abdomen aggravated the pain. I fought against him. He said I had a perforation in my duodenum. I must go to a hospital right away.

"Will I need an operation?" I asked.

"Yes, immediately," he said. He phoned for an ambulance and then gave me a small amount of morphine by injection. The intense agony began to subside. He explained that the morphine was just enough to get me to the hospital, but wouldn't interfere with the anesthetic of the surgery that I would be having very soon.

It became possible to think more clearly. The hospital stay would be most inconvenient. Tomorrow my wife and I with the students on the tour were supposed to drive to Amsterdam for the return flight to America. But things would work out. I could manage. I always had.

The two young men who arrived with the ambulance appeared to be very pleasant. They lifted me from the bed and supported me on either side, carrying my weight on their shoulders. We went down the hall and into a tiny hotel elevator that took us down to the first floor. There was barely enough room for us in the little elevator as I was propped up between them. The elevator stopped at the first floor, one floor above the street. From there, a long, winding staircase led down to street level. The ambulance attendants found a straight-back chair from the hotel dining room and carried me down the stairs. The men were straining to keep me aloft and balanced. I teetered and tottered as they struggled to carry me. I kept murmuring, "Please don't drop me." They laid me on a gurney at the sidewalk and then slid me into the back of a little ambulance. For a moment I panicked because I was afraid we were going to leave without my wife. To my great relief, I saw Beverly climb in the front seat beside the driver. The ambulance careened wildly through the Paris streets with its distinctive siren clearing a path through heavy midday traffic. I was reminded of scenes from World War II movies by the siren's sound, wailing mournfully through the congested streets of Paris.

After an amazing ride traveling at high speed, with the little ambulance swaying dangerously around each corner, we arrived at the emergency room of a large public hospital in Paris. I was immediately met by two young female doctors who began a thorough examination. One of the doctors looked like a young Jeanne Moreau. The other was thin and pale, with the saddest eyes. The intimacy of the examination they were doing was embarrassing. After consulting the X-ray films, they told me I had a large hole in my duodenum due to unknown causes, maybe an ulcer, maybe a foreign object. I must have an operation immediately or I would die. I asked if this could be done in America and was told I wouldn't survive the trip. They assured me that this was the best and biggest hospital in Paris. They were completely convincing as to the urgency of the situation and the necessity of the surgery.

They needed to get a tube into my stomach, but failed to tell me about the procedure. A big man straddled me and began to force a large aquarium-type tube down my nose. It slammed against the back of my throat, forcing a gag reaction. The more I gagged, the harder he shoved. Through the tears filling my eyes, I saw the thin doctor with the sad compassionate eyes make swallowing gestures with her hands, and I swallowed as hard as I could and the tube slid down.

I was still feeling the pain, but the morphine had taken the madness out of the terror. It was manageable now. As part of my effort to stay in control, I forced some weak laughter and made lame attempts at jokes. I was scared. I told my dear Beverly it would be okay. The doctors talked about a hospital stay of three or four weeks. Then there would be a couple of months of recovery at home.

Following the examination in the emergency department, I was taken by gurney out of the emergency building and rushed several blocks to the hospital building where the surgery would be performed. Every time the wheels banged against an imperfection in the concrete sidewalk, pain shot through my stomach, but I was comforted by the beauty of the surroundings. It was noon, the sun was shining, and it was the first day of June in the beautiful city of Paris, France. What could possibly go wrong?

We rode by elevator to a double room on the upper floor to await the operation. My roommate was a handsome elderly gentleman by the name of Monsieur Fleurin. He spoke English and was in his late sixties. His wife was visiting him. Her father had been an American who had come to France as a soldier during World War I and stayed. Her English was excellent. She immediately tried to reassure me and comfort my frightened wife. Madame and Monsieur Fleurin were exceedingly handsome people and gracious to us frightened foreigners.

It was about noon and, after a flurry of activity, everything became calm. The bed I was given had no pillow, so Beverly made a roll of sheets to support my head. This was the beginning of the wait for the surgery, and the acute pain was gradually increasing. Jolts of stabbing, throbbing pain spread out into my torso. They took my breath away. The doctors told me to lie as still as possible, so as not to provoke the leaking hydrochloric acid and other juices that were digesting my insides.

At that time, what I did not know was that on weekends, Parisian hospitals are understaffed. Most doctors vacation on the coast of France or in the country. I later learned that there was only one surgeon on duty in the entire hospital complex! Only he could operate; only he could authorize any kind of medication. I never saw the surgeon that day, and since nurses in France have no authority to give medication, they were powerless to do anything for my increasingly grave condition.

In the emergency room they had inserted the large rubber tube through my nose and down into my stomach to suction out digestive fluids. It was very difficult to talk and my mouth became very dry; my mouth tasted like rubber. I wasn't allowed to drink anything to relieve the dryness. The pain in the center of my abdomen grew worse. The torment radiated out into my chest and down to the pelvis. Staying curled in a fetal position felt like the only way to keep the fire from radiating farther out into my extremities. Tears ran down my cheeks from the pain. The only sound I could make was an occasional low moan like an animal. Whenever I tried to talk, it agitated my abdomen and magnified the pain. It was best to lie perfectly still and focus on trying to breathe as quietly as possible.

Minutes stretched into hours. No doctor came. Whenever a nurse entered the room, I begged for morphine. There was nothing they could do. When they ignored my pleas, I asked Monsieur Fleurin to beg for me. I told the nurses that I was dying and I had Monsieur Fleurin do the same. In the middle of the afternoon, the nurse said she would contact a doctor to see what they could do and gave me an injection of a "stomach relaxant." It had no effect whatsoever. Every time Beverly or I asked the nurses about the operation, they said it would be done within the hour. By early afternoon the relief from the morphine I had been given at the hotel had worn off completely. The fiery pain grew steadily worse. My stomach felt like it was full of burning coals. Hot flashes of intense pain shot into my arms and legs. I kept repeating in French that I was dying and begged for morphine over and over again.

I kept thinking that I should be unconscious because of my condition. Nothing in my life had prepared me for this intense agony. Why didn't I black out? What had I ever done to deserve this?

The nurse became increasingly impatient with our questions and pleas. Beverly was told that if she didn't stop her demands, she would be put out of the room. My poor beautiful wife could do nothing for me, and she couldn't get anyone to lift a finger to help me. She was acutely aware that she was losing me, and there was nothing she could do about it in spite of all her pleas.

In hindsight I realize that this woeful lack of attention resulted not from malice, but rather from bureaucratic ineptitude and indifference. I also realize that because I did not express the agony I was experiencing more dramatically, the staff didn't realize the full extent of my crisis.

My whole life had been one of self-sufficient stoicism. I believed I didn't need anyone's help. I could handle anything. I could do this, I thought.

In my extreme pain, seconds seemed like minutes and minutes seemed like hours. Minute by minute, second by second, the time passed into hours. By eight o'clock that evening the pain had become totally unbearable. I'd been in the same bed, in the same position, in the same room since noon without ever seeing a doctor. The pain didn't come and go in waves anymore, it just got worse and worse. The hydrochloric acid leaking from my stomach was spreading throughout my abdominal cavity and literally eating me up from the inside. The searing torment was gaining strength and I was getting weaker. Breathing was almost impossible. I tried to pour every bit of energy into inhaling and exhaling to stay alive. It was vividly clear to me that if I failed to breathe, it would be the end of my life. Period. I was so weakened from the ordeal, I knew there was very little strength left in me.

I kept thinking, this is not how it's supposed to end. I was fading away in a Paris hospital and they were indifferent to my agony. Why didn't they care? What would happen to my wife, my two children, my paintings, my house, my gardens—all the things I cared about? I was thirty-eight years old and just beginning to achieve some fame as an artist. Had all my work and struggle come to this?

I had grown so frail that I could hardly lift my head or speak. Beverly looked drained, totally emotionally exhausted. I didn't want to tell her that I knew the end was near. I told her I couldn't hold on much longer. It had gotten very dark outside the window of the bare hospital room.
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2006

    Storm is NOT a fundamentalist

    A previous reviewer described Mr. Storm as a 'fundamentalist' pastor for the United Church of Christ. This is completely inaccurate. There is nothing 'fundamentalist' about the United Church of Christ (which supports gay marriage, opposes war and injustice and even boasts a transgendered pastor). None of Storms teachings hint of fundamentalism either. For instance, he relays the explanation from the Light Beings and Jesus of how matter is formed and how it happens over long periods of time. That is called evolution--something fundamentalists refuse to believe. 'God abhors war' is another quote. Fundamentalists--at least the ones I have met--do not hold this view. You'd be hard pressed to find a fundamentalist who doesn't, for example, support the current Iraqi slaughter. Storm's own 'soul brother' in the book (e.g. the deceased person with whom he communicates) is none other than the great anti-Vietnam War and civil rights activist (and Trappist monk) Thomas Merton-- hardly a fire and brimstone type. Whoever this reviewer is needs to re read the book and refrain from coloring its message of inclusiveness for all creeds, races, nationalities, sexual orientation etc. with his/her rigid and doctrinaire beliefs. The very title of the review alone refers to the author as a 'televangelist' which is an absolute falsehood. I consider such statements an affront to and a misrepresentation of teachings of the United Church of Christ--the denomination to which I proudly belong. That said, this book changed my life. It dispelled any doubts I had about a metaphysical reality and inspired me to return to the United Church of Christ where I was christened, raised and confirmed.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2005

    Amazing

    Thank God Mr Storm had the courage to write this book and share it with us. One of the best reads in a long time

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    His testimony is a gift to us all

    Well written and very believable

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    Must read, message more profound than imagined

    this testimony is meant for us all

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2008

    Amazing and life-altering

    This book is in no way ordinary. It has altered the way I see myself as a human and the purpose I have to love God and love all others, including enemies. The story of Jesus in the Bible is a story of God's unending love for all people, and the choice of their acceptance or rejection of this love. Howard Storm's conversations with Jesus and the angels confirm that God's overarching desire for humanity is to love fully as we are fully loved by God. Jesus, in His example on earth, fully reveals the Way to God's love and its extension to each other. Humanity has so much potential to fulfill the perfect will of God but has rebelled and has hated and killed and rejected Christ as they reject God. How powerful and comforting to know that this life is a spiritual preparation for the next life in heaven, that our choices now decide the future. This truth is the very essence of the Gospels: love the Lord and trust in him, repent from sin, and love each other. Knowing that all of heaven is watching and praying for my right choices changed my worldview and the way I view this life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2008

    GOD LOVES US!

    I decided to read this book because my soulmate passed away a few days ago. I feel like i'm dying slowly and i pray to god to take me with him soon. I learned a lot from this book but nothing can change my mind about how i feel right now. It's the saddest and most painful thing that's ever happened to me. I keep asking god why he takes away the people that we love the most and why we have so suffer like this. I pray everyday that he takes me with him or that i at least get to see him and talk to him in my dreams but nothing has happened yet. But i still have hope that god will do something about it soon or later or whenever he thinks i'm ready. I love god and i know he knows what he's doing and i also know that everything happens for a reason. But right now i feel empy inside and i feel like nothing will ever fill that empiness inside me. I love god and i know he will soon want me to see my baby again! he was my everything, my reason for living. I miss you and i will always love you! rip until the day i hold you again!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2007

    Mommy likey

    My art teacher recommended this book to me-the book itself was very moving and impacted me deeply. I bought copies for all the special people in my life and let them pass it on from there.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2006

    It's Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!

    I read this book on after a recommendation from my mother. It made a profound change in my life. Any time I am feeling down or need the reassurance that God truly loves me I read this book and I come out smiling(after a few tears) and knowing that I am loved wholly and unconditionally. If you need reassurances that God does exist and does love you just read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2005

    Amazing Testimony!

    I loved this book. Howard Storm was sent back to witness and give others a second chance also. This is a great read for believers and non-belivers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not For Me

    If you embrace traditional Christian religions, you might find this book enjoyable. Personally, I found it "preachy" and bordering on dogmatic. There are many better books on NDEs out there.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Started off interesting, but devolves into feel good theology.

    The authors description of his NDE started off well, describing the despair of hell. A couple of problems: The author throws in criticism of America which seems to be the authors bias,that was my first problem with it. The other was the book imho devolves into feel good happy thoughts. I did like his points on how our lives affect others and that we need to learn to love others as well as ourselves. There are good lessons here, but my advice for Christians is to get better acquainted with your faith, then read books like this. Remember Paul's warning, Gal 1-8 says: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" NASB

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    Should be requred reading for everyone

    If you are religous or not, this book should be required reading for all who live and breathes. I cannot tell you how moved I was while I was reading the book and I didn't want to finish it. I was hungry for more. How elequent Mr. Storm is in describing his near death experiences. I know I will keep this book forever and read it over and over again. Read it! This book will an overall change on how you look at and live life!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2005

    Amazing book!

    It's difficult to describe the impact this book had on me. There is so much that I took away from this book that the only thing I can say is read it!!! =) I was a bit skeptical when I first began reading his account, but once you read it, there's no mistaking that it is sincere and very possible. I ended up passing it along to my husband, who couldn't put it down, and read it in one evening. I passed it along to my Mom, brother, his girlfriend, etc. and it had the same affect on each person. I certainly won't take this as the gospel since it is only his perspective, but everything Storm describes biblically makes sense and I couldn't find one thing that could be discredited. I recommend this to believers and non-believers alike. I think that everyone can benefit from a better understanding of God and what amazing things He wants for us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2005

    Televangelist sees the light

    Howard Storm describes an NDE he had in 1985 that totally reversed his world view from being an art professor and atheist to being a fundamentalist minister for the United Church of Christ. The book is structured into three basic phases, the NDE experience, dialog and dogma, return and recovery. The NDE experience resulted from a perforated stomach that was left untreated because he had the misfortune of entering a French hospital on a weekend at a time when the doctors go home to relax. He was in terrible pain and left his body to be met by malicious spirits which coaxed him to their dark area and then set upon him tearing at his flesh. A voice emerged from his chest saying 'Pray to God' which he thought was a stupid idea. The voice repeated the phrase and he finally tried it and saw that his attackers would retreat the more he prayed. A large, loving, luminous being came to his aid, healed his suffering and carried him upward out of the darkness to an area of light. Jesus and angels surrounded him and asked him if he would like to see his life. They showed him the scenes he would not have chosen. His navy lieutenant father was a disciplinarian who established complete authority over raising the family. 'It was horrifying to see how I had become so much like my father, putting status and success above everything else.' After the life review Howard has extended conversations and asks detailed questions about issues that were factors about his decision be be an atheist. He asked what God was like, why there were wars and why God allowed them. He asked about the Holocaust and the cold war. He was told it would end in 'a couple of years' and also that 'The world is at the beginning of a major transformation. It will be a spiritual revolution that will affect every person in the world.' He asks about the future and is shown a vision of what it will be like. He asked many questions including topics like death, creation, angels, atheism, and Jesus. 'What is the best religion?' yielded 'The religion that brings you closest to God.' The book is well written for a general audience. The author asks intelligent, probing questions and comes back from the heavens with answers of interest to us all. It is obvious that he is sincere and his life was dramatically affected. Many will probably wonder, however, why the author waited twenty years to write the story and whether his current career may have colored some of the more dogmatic statements found in the book like 'No one approaches God who does not know the mediator [Jesus] of God.' 'God doesn't want anyone to go away from God. In this world and in the next, God calls all people. No one is good enough to go to heaven, yet God wants all of us to go to heaven. We choose between God and separation from God. God's love has given us the freedom and ability to choose. God's love will allow the greatest sinner in the world to choose heaven. God will allow the kindest person to go to hell. As we live in God's love or opposed to God's love, we are making our choice. The evidence of how we express God's love is how we love one another. Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another. This is the way to heaven. The opposite is the path to hell. It's not complicated. We know in our hearts where we are going. Heaven is a gift from God we don't deserve, except for God's love for us. Hell is what we desire when we reject God.' Readers of a liberal bent may find claustrophobic passages that seem to indicate that God's heaven is not big enough for the diversity of the peoples on Earth and life throughout the Universe. Others of the fundementalist persuasion will probably feel more secure to see that a fellow traveler has embraced the NDE experience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2005

    Life Changing

    This was one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. I think this book will have the capacity to change people's life in a positive and spiritual way to become exactly the person that God intends all of us to be. It explains how you first have to love yourself so that you can love God and others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2005

    A Book Everyone Should Read

    I read Howard Storm's book five years ago, when it was being produced by a London publisher, and have had numerous conversations with him regarding his near-death experience since then. In my opinion, his message is vital for everyone, regardless of religious persuasion. This man was a hard-core atheist prior to his near-death. Now he is a minister and missionary. That dramatic transformation alone should give anyone pause. The remarkable events leading to his transformation and the lessons he learned are even more compelling.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2005

    A Modern Day Prophet

    This account of Mr. Storm's near death experience is the first I have ever taken the time to read. It is a powerful and reassuring message of God's love for us. Everything he testifies to seeing and believing seems to be so in tune with my sense of God. This next comment will be sure to draw some fire from many, but if his story is the truth, then this book could be considered one of the most important Christian writings since the Gospels since he speaks directly to Jesus. Mr. Storm was sent back for a purpose. Thank you Mr. Storm for your testimony. God is Love!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Great book. Credible, well-written.

    Great book. Credible, well-written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Absolutely awesome and beautiful!  Everyone on the planet should

    Absolutely awesome and beautiful!  Everyone on the planet should drop whatever they're doing and READ THIS BOOK!!!  Let God change your life in the best ways possible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Pope Simon Peter II y Jason James Karpinsk

    This book should be highly reviewed, studied; the actors in play are real people who will be questioned and invited to the Vatican to see the churches history. We are becoming a more "open" and "trasparent" to the world "accountable" and "truthful" led through "honesty" church. Very good stuff that truly would define all of life for all of humans NOT CONTRADICTING ANY PART OF THE WORD OF GOD AND I CAN PROVE THAT...FOR EVERY THING YOU PUT INTO QUESTION!

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