Her friends call her "the atheist who went to heaven."
While cycling on her usual route, Nancy Rynes was run over by a distracted driver of a SUV. Nancy was pinned between the vehicle and the road. As she was pulled across the pavement, she had what she calls dual consciousness. While she was being dragged underneath the vehicle screaming in pain, she was also watching the whole accident unfold from above as she desperately hung onto life.
During surgery, Nancy Rynes died, but she recalled "awakening" to a beautiful landscape with a hillside covered in flowers and trees and a mountain range in the distance. Nancy experienced a sense of peace and love and welcoming that she had never felt before. "I knew something was different. It was not panic or fear. I was just a little confused. 'I must have died,' I thought to myself, 'but, then, why am I here? I don't believe in any of this!"
We did have discussions related to her experience in the operating room, and she sticks out in my mind because I could not come up with any other explanation other than a real near-death experience [NDE]— I remember her seeing this as a life changing blessing.- Nancy's physician Dr. Trojanovich
Nancy Rynes grew up in a Catholic family but eventually distanced herself from the church, considering herself an atheist. She explains, however, that during her NDE, she was clearly "welcomed into heaven."
She heard the words, "This is your...