Kimberly Clark Sharp had a near-death experience in 1970 as a 22 year old that changed the course of her life. It led her to move west to Seattle, leaving behind her family and friends in Kansas. It put her on a mission to help others deal with death, to comfort and aid the dying and the bereaved. She did this as a social worker, as the founder of the Seattle chapter of IANDS, and through sharing her story and experiences with others.
The following account of a Near Death Experience is an excerpt from After the Light: What I Discovered on the Other Side of Life That Can Change Your World by Kimberly Clark Sharp.
I THINK OF MYSELF as a sort of Everywoman, ordinary in just about every respect. You probably already know someone like me; that someone may even be you. Born in the heartland of America, reared in one of its comfortable, safe, postwar suburbs, I compiled a classic Baby Boomer vita—college educated, self-absorbed, and as middle class as they come.
Though I had been planning and replanning my wedding since the age of eight, I put off marriage and children for a rewarding but exhausting career as a social worker at one of the busiest trauma hospitals on the West Coast. I became a bride and stepmother at thirty-eight, a mommy at forty, a cancer survivor at forty-two.
Like many of my generation, I’ve never been big on organized religion. I’m a lazy Lutheran. But I’m very spiritual. I believe with all my heart in Jesus, the Messiah, and the power of prayer. Angels, too. I know there is a higher being, wiser and better than we are, which will guide us if we let it.
For lack of a better word, I call this force God; others may call it by other names: Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, or simply love. These differences don’t matter to me. My truth doesn’t have to be your truth. What is important, I think, is that we recognize the capacity for spiritual growth and awareness that exists in all of us, and that we learn to nurture it, for it in turn will nurture us. Soul food, so to speak.
How do I know this? The same way I know that these lives we live, with all their joy and sorrow, cares and tribulations, are flat and empty compared to “the other side”—beyond this earthly existence. It’s hard to describe, since we have no words for the dimensions outside what we know as our “real life.”
Everything there is clearer, fuller, more vital than the best day I’ve ever had on earth—and I’ve had some damn good days. I didn’t come by this knowledge in a book or at Sunday school. If I had, I wouldn’t have believed it. Instead, I learned it the same way millions of people throughout history have, by coming so perilously close to dying that one visits the world beyond death.
It happened to me on a spring day in 1970 when I collapsed outside an office in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. The electric impulse that regulates my heartbeat apparently misfired; I had no pulse and I wasn’t breathing. My horrified father watched, helplessly, as strangers worked over my body and tried to revive me.
Though I was unconscious, I was completely aware of their efforts. In fact, I seemed to be aware of everything, from the sublime to the mundane. All of it flashed through my consciousness the way the landscape whizzes by when you’re a kid in the backseat of a car.
But I wasn’t there. I was on a journey, the most fantastic of my life.
Read her entire account of passing over to the other side and the lessons she brought back to her life’s journey in her book After the Light: What I Discovered on the Other Side of Life That Can Change Your World
She is a featured speaker in the
The Summit, hosted by Tricia Barker, featured 13 interviews from experts in the field as well as those who have personally had near-death experiences and three hours of recorded Q&As with the audience. Full details and purchase information can be found here.
Kimberly Clark Sharp, MSW, LiCSW had a near-death experience at twenty-two. She is the author of After the Light: The Spiritual Path to Purpose (Wm. Morrow & Co. 1995); audio (HarperCollins 1995). Kimberly Clark Sharp is the founder of Seattle International Association of Near-Death Studies, the world’s oldest and largest support group for near death experiencers, since 1982. Kimberly is an international conference and workshop speaker, a consultant to news and entertainment media, and has been published in many textbooks, journals, and magazines. She worked for two decades as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington. She co-taught a Terminal Illness Seminar at the University of Washington, School of Medicine.