Someone on Facebook linked to a show on CNN about life after death.  I could only watch snippets of it on the Internet, so I did a little more research and discovered that one woman they had interviewed, Mary C. Neal, had written a book about her experience.

The next day I checked the book out from the library.

I’ve always been intrigued by those who have died and come back to life.  My own grandfather died and was revived.  He saw the white tunnel that others speak about.  I’m sorry that I never got to talk to him about it.

Mary C. Neal is a respected orthopaedic surgeon who loves the outdoors.  She and her husband take a trip together to Chile to do some kayaking.  On the last day, Neal, an experienced kayaker, has an accident that leaves her trapped underwater for 15 minutes.  When she’s pulled from the water, she’s clinically dead.  Her kayaking companions are able to revive her, but she spends months recuperating.

To Heaven and Back is Neal’s recount of the time when she was dead and in Heaven.  What makes her story interesting is not just that she was dead and experienced Heaven, but that she continued to be able to talk to an angel while she was recuperating in the hospital.  In addition, as a doctor, Neal is trained to be skeptical of these types of occurrences, but she can’t deny what she saw.

Finally, when she was dead, she was told that she had to go back to Earth for two important reasons–she needed to protect her husband’s health, and she needed to be there for her family because one of her children was going to die.

Can you imagine knowing that part of the reason that you were sent back was because one of your children would die?

I read Neal’s story with interest, though I must admit, part of me was skeptical.  I hope that Neal’s story is true because if it is, it is incredibly comforting.  But still, some of the things she writes about appear too crazy for belief.  (For example, when the other kayakers are trying to rescue Neal, they can’t get to her because of the rushing water.  After many minutes of struggle, a rock “appears” and they are suddenly able to get to her.)

Neal also proclaims before the accident that she was not deeply religious, but from what she writes, she seems fairly religious to me.  I wanted to believe that she was not that religious previously, in part, because that would make her story more believable to me.  However, since she seemed fairly devout, it seems that she may be more open to the kind of experience she writes about.

Still, Neal’s life makes for a very interesting autobiography, even if some parts of it seem to unbelievable.  And I can still hope that what she writes about is true.

Have you read this book?  If so, what was your opinion?


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