Authors: Jacqueline Druga
The Other Side of Heaven
The Other Side of
Copyright 2016 by Jacqueline Druga
Parts of this book
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any
resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, events or locales is
Parts of this
book are based upon actual occurrences which are used with permission of those
Thank you so very
much to Paula G. for all your help with this book.
To all those who
helped me … I dedicate this book to you.
Of all the things I imagined I
would accomplish in my life, surviving a freak accident was not one of them.
Actually, I died first. The other thing I never foresaw was being chosen.
Before all that, I died.
It wasn’t a near death
experience, it wasn’t an almost crossed over. For all intents and purposes, I
died. It was documented, I was a medical wonder and miracle.
All ground work for the big
responsibility I didn’t ask for nor did I want … at first.
So how did I die?
It was a normal day, a normal
routine, coming home from work. I was six minutes behind my normal schedule.
Six minutes may not seem like a lot, but it made a world of difference on that
day. I wasn’t rushing. There was no reason to.
I wasn’t speeding, I never did.
Driving the speed limit, I painfully noticed the rush hour drivers who rode my
bumper trying to intimidate me into moving faster. To me, nothing was that
important that I couldn’t arrive safely.
Hands on the wheel, ten and two,
no radio, no phone, no distractions. I followed the rules.
Hell, I even dropped from
thirty-five to twenty-five as I approached the railroad crossing. It was habit.
I didn’t look to see if there was a transit train coming, why would I? The
lights weren’t flashing. Maybe if I didn’t slow down, maybe if I would have
looked, maybe... just maybe. But I didn’t.
The lights failed. They weren’t
working. The signal was down.
Just as my car crossed over the
tracks, I caught the train in my peripheral vision. It was coming from the
passenger side. It was over, I knew it and clutched that wheel and slammed the
gas. I wasn’t fast enough.
Oddly, I remember the impact, the
fierce feeling of being out of control, my car sailing sideways then rolling
side over side. I heard the brakes of the train and a crash sound that rang in
my ears. There was no pain, everything moved in slow motion, every turn, every
bump, I remembered it all. My car smashed into something, I don’t recall what.
After that, it was completely black. That final crash threw me into complete
I was swimming in an empty vat.
This is it? Is this it I
wondered? Is this death? Was I dead? I tried to move my hands, but even though
I felt as if I moved them, I couldn’t see them. It was as if I didn’t have a
body. I floated, I remembered that.
How horrible. Our bodies end, but
our conscious doesn’t? How long would that last? I thought of all that and then
suddenly flashes of bright lights appeared before my eyes.
Now that was more like it.
I would see a tunnel, follow a
bright light, yeah, I was certain.
a tunnel of
light, but I didn’t go to it, it pulled me. Surprising me was the state of my
conscious. I knew what was happening, I started to worry. What about the
payroll entries I didn’t finish, those poor guys wouldn’t get a paycheck. My
Crockpot was on, would anyone think to turn it off, my cat, who would feed my
More than that was when I arrived
into the bright light. It was enveloping, everywhere, but only for a moment.
From the light, I stepped into a huge, narrow room filled with people. More
like translucent beings, images of who they were. All of them, calling my name,
vying for my attention. Rushing to get to me, to talk to me. I was the finish
line and all the people were racing.
Natalie, look, I know you
only have a minute ... her name is Gale.’
‘If you just hear me out,
you’ll see why he has to be picked.’
‘Natalie, my name is Garrett,
remember that. So much has to be said.’
Voices meshed together, everyone
was saying something to me.
What was going on? I wondered.
Where was my mother? My Aunt? Grandmother. The throes of loved ones waiting to
greet me? Instead I was bombarded with strangers treating me like some sort of
celebrity in the afterlife.
“Please.” Then he broke through.
Almost as if he wasn’t a part of the rest. He stood in front of them. I locked
eyes with him. A young man about thirty. Tall and handsome with dark features
and dark short hair cut close to his head. “Please.” He grabbed my wrist.
Flesh. Was he real? He felt real. There was something about him that didn’t
seem like a spirit. He quickly rattled off his plea. “Of anyone, find her. My
mother. She was there. She held my hand. I knew it, but I don’t think she knew
I was aware. Find her. Sing her this song.…”
He began to sing. Then …
As fast as I appeared in the room
filled with people, I was yanked out.
The young man’s singing echoed
and faded until I couldn’t hear it anymore, his was the only voice I
I was yanked into a small, empty
“Sorry about that,” another male
I slowly turned around to the
voice behind me.
He shrugged, hands in the pockets
of a pair of jeans. He wasn’t tall, and his brown hair danced across his eyes.
“I didn’t expect that to happen.”
“Neither did I. Am I dead?” I
“Yeah, you’re dead,” he replied.
“For the moment.”
“You’ve been chosen, Natalie.” He
walked toward me.
“Who are you?”
“Doesn’t matter. I’m your
connection to this side. You’ll see me quite a bit. But you were chosen.”
“Chosen for what?”
“All those souls you just met.
They all want the same thing. Word got out that you were arriving and they
wanted to plead their case.”
“They’re all dead?”
“Yep. Passed on. They want to
speak to their loved ones.”
“Ah,” I nodded. “So I am gonna
find these people and give them a message.”
“No,” he chuckled. “That would be
silly. People would think you were trying to gain something. You know how the
human race is. No, it’s more than that.”
“I’m not really dead, am I?”
“No, you’re dead.”
“No, this is like one of those
coma dreams. I’ll wake up, say I died, was in …” I looked around. “Well,
heaven, if that’s what this is, and no one will believe me, because I was never
“Oh, no, we’ve covered that.
You’re dead. There will be no doubt. Therefore there will be reason not to
believe you when you make your decision and approach the chosen.”
“Forgive me. But who am I
“The ones who need it most. The
ones who can in fact, take the gift and enlighten the world with their
experience.” He placed his hand on my arm. “The world needs a wakeup call. You
can believe, but it’s empty belief. People have blind faith, lost faith. We’re
gonna try to give it back.”
“By opening up the other side of
“I’m sorry, wouldn’t the other
side of Heaven be hell.”
He laughed. “No. I’ll explain
more. But right now, time is of the essence and you have to go back.”
“You didn’t give me much
“I will. I’ll be in touch,” he
At that second I was convinced it
was a dream, a very vivid and lucid dream. The way the conversation went, my
confusion, and the fogginess.
“Go back and live. You’ll see me
“No one is going to believe
me. I can’t just say I died.”
“They won’t have a choice.”
Then he touched the center of my
chest. A tremendous pain shot into my sternum, one like I never experienced. I
was certain it was the pain from the crash. I felt my being pulled backwards.
It hurt so badly, I screamed, and
after that long scream I opened my eyes.
Lights. Bright lights.
My mouth was open and then the
man standing above me shrieked almost as loud as me. He dropped the instrument in
his hand and ran.
“Someone!” he shouted. “She’s
What? Of course I’m alive
I thought then as I lifted my head, I realized what scared him and made him
scream, running from the room as if he saw a ghost. I was a ghost. I didn’t
just wake up from a horrible accident; I woke up in the middle of my autopsy.
It wasn’t a joke. I had died. The
problem was I couldn’t pinpoint anyone on how long I was dead. Long enough for
them to send me to the county morgue for an autopsy. Unless they fast tracked
bodies to the table, I had been dead at least an hour. At least.
No sooner had I awoken before a
medical team came in, tended to my bleeding chest, and whisked me away in an
“Are you feeling anything?” an
EMT asked, “Pain, difficulty breathing?”
“No. How long was I dead?”
He didn’t answer.
There was chatter in the
ambulance, I was hooked up to an Intravenous infusion, but they kept saying it
was difficult. My veins were hard to access
“Am I alive now?” I asked.
“Very much so,” he replied then
pointed to a monitor. “That beeping is your heart.”
“So why are my veins hard to
He swallowed with a pouted mouth
and shrugged. “We’re flushing them now.”
“Please try not to talk.”
I would abide.
The ambulance journey was short
and once we arrived at the hospital, I was not only whisked inside, but to the
operating room. Within minutes they were putting me under.
I had just opened my eyes and
they were sedating me?
Apparently, the saw to my chest
did some damage. Not a lot, they explained, but I needed surgery to repair that
amongst other things. I didn’t really hear what the other things were before
the anesthesia kicked in.
I had to wonder if I had some
sort of highly contagious disease or if people were generally frightened of me.
The recovery room nurse spoke three words to me. ‘Natalie, get up.’
That was it. After that she was
silent. From recovery I was moved to a room, with a guard by my door. The
nurses and even the doctors wouldn’t respond to me when I spoke, they merely
made eye contact, acknowledged that they heard me, and walked out. I was poked,
prodded, and examined.
“I do speak English if that’s why
you won’t talk to me,” I said to one of the doctors.
That was it.
The thought did cross my mind
that perhaps by dying maybe my words were jumbled and I just thought I was
making sense. Then I recalled the ambulance ride and dismissed that.
I wasn’t allowed visitors
either. Not that anyone would visit me. I didn’t know my father, my mother had
passed, and I really didn’t have any friends who would barrel down the door of
I was literally in the dark. No
phone, no television, no conversation. I was an anomaly to everyone, even
The next morning when I woke up,
it felt like it was going to be a different type of day. Although I didn’t even
know what day it was. The guard was still at my door, and other than being
slightly sore and having a bit of a headache, I felt fine. In fact the only
thing that really physically bothered me was my chest wound.
The breakfast tray had arrived
and I hoped it wasn’t a liquid diet. I was starving and I groaned some from
stiff joints as I sat up.
Of course, I would be sore, I was
in a major accident. Thankfully, I didn’t see any casts so no bones were
The tray of food was still warm,
so it hadn’t been that long since the dietitian brought it in. I finished a
good bit of my breakfast and it was after that my mood changed. The CAN came in
to get the tray and ran out as if I were a monster.
Suddenly I went from being amused
and slightly annoyed over the situation, to being scared. Why was everyone
afraid of me?
A nurses’ aid came in, took my
vitals, and said nothing. In fact she didn’t even look at me.
“Are you scared of me?” I asked
I didn’t need a reply, her
reaction spoke multitudes. She made brief eye contact, her mouth quivered some
and after experiencing an instant total body shaking fit, she hurried from the
“She’s scared of me,” I said out
“People are afraid of what they
don’t understand,” his voice said, I recognized his voice.
I didn’t hear any one enter the
room, and I looked to my right, he was standing at the window peering out. He
was the same man I spoke to when I died. The one that gave me the brief ‘you’ve
been chosen’ speech then sent me painfully back with a touch of his finger.
“It’s a zoo out there.” He
pointed. “Don’t get up.”
He walked to my bed and sat in
the chair next to me.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“That’s not important.”
“If I remember correctly, you
said I’d see you often. So, yeah, who you are is important.”
“Call me Bill.”
I blinked. “Bill?”
“Yes, I always liked that name.”
“Are you dead?” I asked.
“Not really. I can’t be described
“Are you my guardian angel?”
“No, why is this important?”
“Because I’m scared. I’m really
scared. I have been in an accident, yet the only person that asked me how I,
seemed to be the EMT. I don’t know if I’m hurt…”
“You’re fine. Absolutely fine.
Well, except for the new incision in your chest. Otherwise miraculously fine.”
I sighed out. “Then why won’t
anyone look at me, or talk to me?”
“They will. Later today. They
just don’t know what to say to you. How to handle this. It scares them. You
scared them. In a little bit curiosity will take over. But right now, they are
still trying to figure things out.” He lifted the remote control and pointed it
at the television.
“That doesn’t work.”
He smiled arrogantly. “Please.”
He shook his head and turned on the TV.
Immediately it was on a new
station. A panel discussion.
‘Eighteen hours. How did the
doctors miss that?”
one person asked.
‘They didn’t. She was dead.”
Click. Next station.
‘No one knows how or why, but
it appears the woman woke up in the morgue, eighteen hours after being
“It has to be an error. A
mistake. Authorities are being mum on this. A news conference is scheduled for
this afternoon …”
‘Doesn’t matter what happened.
Bottom line, this woman is healthy and will never have to work another day in
her life. Can you say lawsuit?’
‘She is being hailed as the
miracle of the century, but in this reporter’s opinion, I haven’t heard of such
a resurrection since Jesus.’
Bill muted the television. “Ow,
that’s uh, a little blasphemous. Don’t you think?”
“Are they talking about me?”
Before I could ask another
question, a nurse came in the room. Immediately she stopped cold and looked at
the muted, but playing television. I, the patient couldn’t get a medical
professional to speak, yet the presence of a working television set loosened
the vocal chords.
“How … how are you having
reception? You’re not supposed to have a TV,” she said.
I opened my mouth to answer.
“Wait.” Bill said. “Don’t tell
her it was me. She can’t see me.”
I shifted my eyes to him, then to
the nurse. “It just worked. Do you see him?”
“Told you,” Bill said.
“Excuse me?” asked the nurse.
Her eyes widened and she raced
from the room.
“Well,” Bill exhaled. “Any chance
of verbal communication you had just ran out that door. No worries, someone
will be in here soon.”
“What is going on?”
“It’s all part of the process.”
Bill stood and leaned toward my bed, hands on the railing. “Pretty soon you
will be bombarded. People you don’t remember, people from your past will flock to
you. Reporters, news casters, TV hosts. Friends you haven’t seen in years.”
“I don’t have friends.”
“Yes, I know. But they will think
you are their friend. All of them will want to talk to you. You were dead,
Natalie. Eighteen hours, stone cold, rigor mortis dead and you came back. There
is no denying that. Some people die and say they crossed over, they have, but
medical records show them not dead or having died only a few seconds. Not you.
All of this had to be done, so there is very little doubt when you speak.”
“When they ask you what you saw.”
“People will think I’m nuts.”
“Probably. But they’ll listen.”
“What do I say?” I asked.
“The truth. That you did cross
over. Tell them whatever you want. Tell them you saw people, or don’t, it is up
to you. How you handle this all is up to you. You use whatever resource you
want or need to complete your mission. You have been chosen, Natalie.”
“You said that. Am I chosen to
prove there’s an afterlife?”
Bill shook his head. “It is much
“I don’t know if I am the right
person. I … I don’t even know what I’m doing.”
“Five people. Five people, who
are suffering in grief, will get a chance to have one more day, one more moment
with someone they lost. Someone that they need to see to resolve or just speak
to. It’s an amazing gift they will receive. A chance to go where no living
being has ever gone.”
“The other side of Heaven.”
“How do I fit in?”
“You, Natalie,” he said. “Will
choose those five people.”