Karen Thomas was born in Upstate New York. After marrying, she and her husband moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where she worked as a physical therapist at a hospital.
But the day came when she herself was a patient there.
She needed a spinal fusion — serious stuff. It was a matter of mobility.
And during that serious operation, Karen “died,” for all intents and purposes. It happened at the start. It was the anesthesia.
“Suddenly my consciousness was out of my body and up in a corner of the operating room focusing on ceiling tiles that were only a few inches away from my vision, aware of blood transfusions, seeing them turn over my body, all this ruckus, and realizing, seeing my body, but not in my body, that I must be dead.”
Karen’s husband and two children, nine and six, were anxiously stationed in the waiting room.
And that’s where Karen’s thoughts swung. “I have to get to them and communicate to them that the essence of me is okay — yes I’m dead but I’m okay, but they won’t be. I have to get to them.”
“As I thought these thoughts, because of my concern, my consciousness began drifting literally to the wall of the O.R. (through it), retracing the steps when I was taken to the O.R.,” she told a YouTube interviewer.
In short order, the Anchorage therapist felt her spirit drawn up through several floors of the hospital until she was “out the roof of the hospital and into the sky and over the city of Anchorage, and as I was going over the city — faster and faster — I reached the water’s edge and there was a tunnel with a cave-like opening, and I was drawn into it, and once I was inside, I began moving extremely fast and began to notice that the only light I could see — it was all darkness — was a pinprick of light way off in the distance.
“The faster I went, the larger the light was becoming, until I finally burst into the light itself and I was immediately filled with an enormous sense of love, peace, joy, and all sorts of emotions and a feeling that everything was all right, everything was okay.”
Karen looked down and saw ground that was almost arid.
Where was she?
A telepathic voice said, “Follow me,” and Karen noticed a man climbing a slope out of the arid area. She followed him.
He had black hair, recalled Karen, wore an off-white garment and simple leather belt, and had sandals with leather ties that crisscrossed up to his knees.
“I didn’t know who he was,” she says, “but could feel kindness and compassion and as we came over the slope, the landscape changed, and here was a green lush gorgeous-looking area, grass, and bright flowers, all kinds of colors I had never seen before.
“It was mesmerizing.
“And I noticed this immense light I had come into was actually within every living thing I was looking at and emanating out.”
The “man” who served as a guide took Karen to the bank of a river — glistening, “living” water — where, on the opposite side, she spotted deceased relatives who were intently watching and thrilled to see her: her father, who died when Karen was a child, a deceased brother, aunts and uncles, and four people she had never met but whom she somehow knew were her grandparents. They had passed before Karen was born.
Karen wanted to go where they were but the angel or spirit leading her told her she couldn’t as yet, and instead took her around the bank and into an opening that was filled with a big beautiful building, “pearl-essence white,” glowing like everything was glowing and a swarm of “spiritual people” going up and down a long line of stairs and others in an open area.
The building, she says, was like “an enormous library, filled with tables, and on either side, as far as you could see, all kinds of books and old scrolls, and it was communicated to me that these were the books of life,” Karen — in a very credible way — claims.
Soon the Alaskan woman found herself in a room where there was “a group of spiritual beings around like a conference table” where her guide told her they were going to take a look at her life.
And indeed there, like a moving hologram, on a table that seemed like a glass-bottom boat, a “movie” of everything she had experienced, said, thought, or done began to display.
“It began showing everything that had happened throughout my life, not just my own feelings about it, but how other people with me had felt, as if I were that other person,” says Karen. “In places where I may have misunderstood or had been unkind, I felt the anger or the hurt that they were feeling, and I saw the ripple effect that it had when they went out and carried those feelings and were negative against other people.
“On the contrary, when I had done things that were kind, I was feeling how important that was and how good that was.
“It wasn’t about judging,” she says. “It was about learning.”
A simple lesson — as simple as it is powerful. Learning. Not judging others.
Oh, the afterlife: so much to look forward to!
And to prepare for.
But certainly, in whatever circumstance, despair not!
As a sign in a barbershop says, “Sometimes you win; sometimes you learn.”
Many of life’s greatest lessons come from our “losses,” when we take the time to learn them.
[resources: books on the afterlife]