How His Near-Death Experience Transformed His Soul

He almost died from Covid-19—but a glimpse of the afterlife proved he was meant to live.

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Posted in , May 25, 2021

An illustration of a cabin by a lake; Illustration By Michael Paraskevasi

I couldn’t breathe.

I was at a friend’s house. We were hanging out, watching TV in the living room. Suddenly, my breathing grew labored, so much so that the room started spinning. Woozy, I stood up and fell straight to the floor. What’s happening to me? I thought.

I’d felt a little sick the past week, but it was nothing serious. A vague but terrifying thought struck me: Could this be Covid-19?

My friend called 911, and the EMTs rushed in minutes later. I was on the ground, struggling for air. “We’re losing him!” one yelled. I panicked. Then everything went black.

I was floating in darkness, weightless. I heard nothing and felt nothing, except for an overwhelming calm. My panic subsided. I don’t know how long I remained in that state, outside of time and space. But eventually, I came to…somewhere else.

I was lying on the shores of a lake ringed by trees. Snow capped mountain peaks rose in the distance against a vivid sky. It was the most beautiful day I’d ever seen. The weather was neither hot nor cold, and the lake was a calm, limpid blue. The trees were so vibrant, so alive, that they seemed to breathe. The ground was covered in rocks and pebbles, but I couldn’t feel them. It felt like I was lying on a cloud. The sky was sunless but bright, and everything was bathed in a golden otherworldly light.

Am I dreaming? I thought, though it all seemed too real and perfect to be a dream.

I heard someone call my name.

I looked toward the voice and saw a tall being, standing in front of a beautiful log cabin. He had to be more than eight feet tall. His hair was platinum, and his eyes were striking. They shifted colors, like a kaleidoscope. It should’ve terrified me, but I felt completely, utterly at peace. He called to me again, and I realized he wasn’t speaking out loud. He was communicating directly with my spirit.

“Michael, come this way.”

I walked to the being, and he placed his hands on my shoulders. A soft, cleansing warmth washed through me. I looked into his eyes and felt almost as if I were falling into them. They radiated pure love, pure energy. He was there to guide me.

“There are two people here to talk to you,” he said.

I followed him to the cabin and walked inside. I knew this place. The fireplace, the couch, the little table covered in crossword puzzle books.

2021I was in my grandparents’ living room! My siblings and I had practically grown up here. When our parents were at work, we had stayed with Grandma and Grandpa. They had helped raise us. It had been hard on all of us when they died.

“Hey, Mike,” a familiar voice said.

I turned to see my grandpa sitting in his rocking chair, a crossword puzzle in hand. Just like he used to do when he was alive. He looked younger, closer to the age he was when I was a child. He rose up and pulled me into a hug. I wrapped my arms around him, amazed at how the embrace resonated through my body. I had so many questions, but before I could ask anything, I saw him look to the left. I followed his gaze.

My grandma stood there, smiling. She also looked younger. Full of life. I gave her a hug. I never wanted to let her go, but eventually, she gently pulled back and looked intently into my eyes.

“Michael,” she said, “what I am about to tell you is very important. It is not your time. I know you want to stay with us, but you can’t. And now you have work to do.”

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.

“Fight, Michael,” she said. “I need “you to fight like you’ve never fought before. When you return, you’re going to be very sick. But God will never put you through anything you cannot bear. Trust that God is with you, and so are we.”

The being approached us.

“Are you ready?” he asked. Every fiber of my being wanted to stay in this wonderful, supernatural place—whatever or wherever it was—yet I knew I could not. I was destined to go back.

“Yes,” I said.

Immediately I was pulled backward. I couldn’t see anything, but I felt like I was falling through a tunnel at the speed of light.

My body was a singular mass of pain. Every bone felt broken. My skin tingled as if pricked by a thousand tiny needles. My chest was heavy, and breathing felt like my lungs were on fire. I looked up to see doctors and nurses working furiously over me. One of the nurses noticed my eyes were open and jumped in surprise.

“He’s awake!” she said, then turned to me. “Welcome back.”

I tried to speak but there was a tube down my throat. I couldn’t breathe on my own. Another nurse saw my discomfort.

“I know it hurts,” he said, “but for now, your lungs need to heal. While you’re here, I need you to fight, Michael. You’ve got to fight like you’ve never fought before.”

I knew right then that what I’d experienced had been true. The lake, the cabin, the being, my grandparents. I had died, glimpsed something beyond this earthly life and returned. There was no other explanation. I was meant to live.

Later, I learned what happened after I lost consciousness in my friend’s living room. I was admitted to the hospital with the worst case of Covid-19 the medical staff had seen up to that point. I’d gone into cardiac arrest. My heart had stopped in the ambulance. The CPR it took to revive me was so intense, some of my ribs had been fractured. By the time I got to the hospital, I was in full organ failure. For all intents and purposes, I was dead.

Even after I was revived, doctors initially estimated that I had only a 1 percent chance of surviving Covid. Against all odds, I made it. I was in the hospital for two months before I was finally strong enough to begin physical therapy. I had to relearn how to do basic things like sit up on my own, walk and talk. I honestly don’t think I would’ve been able to do it if I hadn’t had Grandma’s message to cling to. Fight, Michael. And the love in the tall being’s eyes. I drew on that pure energy, which I feel came from God.

Since nearly dying of Covid-19 in July 2020, I’ve made an almost complete recovery. When I started PT, my doctors warned that I’d likely need oxygen or dialysis for the rest of my life, but I don’t need either. And although my body is finally close to returning to where it was before I got sick, my soul is forever—and beautifully—transformed.

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