Editor’s Note | Higher Journeys
My dear friend and colleague PMH Atwater graciously allowed me to post this recently penned review of a film, just released about a profound near-death experience and the aftermath that is rarely discussed. When I last interviewed PMH for my radio program, this was exactly the aspect of NDE’s we discussed. I encourage you to listen to that episode to get a full understanding about the complexities of near-death experiencers and their families.
A brief review by near-death expert PMH Atwater
Go see 90 Minutes in Heaven…
I just got back from seeing this movie and my heart is overflowing in joy and tears. If you are not acquainted with the story of Rev. Don Piper, a Baptist Minister, then please read his book, “90 Minutes in Heaven.” No exaggerations in the movie. No Hollywood “extras.” This movie is real, a true depiction of his case. Back on January 18, 1989, Don Piper, a young minister, was thinking of expanding his church. In driving home from a meeting discussing this, he was hit head on by a truck, a prison truck driven by an inmate who did not know what he was doing and should never have been driving that truck. Because it was a state vehicle, there was no compensation, help, nor could the state be sued for the mistake. The crash was so horrific, Piper so badly mangled, he was pronounced dead and remained without a pulse for 90 minutes. A friend, who had a feeling he must pray for the man in the flattened, smashed car (not knowing it was Piper), obtained permission to reach in as far as he could, pray and sing. Piper started to sing in reply. His friend screamed that he was alive. The emergency crews did not believe him, but reluctantly, to quiet the man, checked his story out. Pulse had indeed returned, Piper was back.
Yes, Don Piper’s case, and his trip to heaven, staying there 90 minutes, was breathtaking. But what touched me more about the movie version is that it clearly showed his reluctance to be back, not wanting to be back, in deep grief that he was back – what was equally clear was his wife’s suffering that he wasn’t really back, she no longer knew him, and he showed no will to fight back, heal, or even breathe.
The conundrum: almost no one in movie versions, book versions, stage talks, television talk shows or documentaries ever reveals to any real extent – the truth about the double heartbreak: the deep grief of the experiencer wanting to go back, not caring about anything else but going back – and the wife and children not understanding why the experiencer was no longer interested in them. Piper’s body was back, he was breathing, but he wasn’t all there. His wife saw this, felt this, and it nearly broke her heart.
No one talks about this but we all should. There are two sides to the near-death experience: the experiencer’s and his or her family’s. They are NOT the same!