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My Cut-Rate Resurrection

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?”Luke 24

Beginning on October 13th of 2011 I spent eleven days among the dead and then was returned to life. Why and for what I still cannot say. What I can say is that, in some brief and infinitesimal way, I have had a small shimmer of the Resurrection shine upon my dead shadow and raise me back into the light. It was a tiny touch and yet it would seem that was all it took. This time. Next time I have no doubt it will require divine intervention. Perhaps it did this time. I have no way of knowing.

Nor can I say that I know what it “was like” to be dead because of my death I have neither shred of memory nor the slightest sense of a blank space between one moment of life and the next moment of life. My mind holds only two moments; the one melded against the other like some trick of Japanese joinery.

In the first moment, I am standing on the front porch of my house looking across the road at the playground on the afternoon of October 13, 2011. There is the impression of small children running about in bright clothing. The sky is clear and there is sunlight from overhead. Shadows are small pools moving beneath the children. It is in the high 50s neither warm nor cold.

In the second moment, I am cold.

I am lying in a bed covered with only a sheet. I am looking past my feet in a room ringed with drapes hanging on rails from a ceiling. At the foot of the bed, a man in a blue tunic is sitting in a pose similar to Rodin’s “The Thinker.” His arm is bare to the shoulder and he has a Maori tattoo on it. I think, for a moment, that someone is speaking to me from the side, something about being in a coma. Then I am gone again.

Those are the two moments.

One is right next to the other.

There is nothing in between.

No time. No space.

No light. No dark.

Two moments enjambed sans caesura.

I lose track of what happens next and come to know it is not an instant between memories but eleven days and that I have spent that time in a medically induced coma after spending some unspecified number of minutes dead. It was nothing so dramatic as a crucifixion. It was simply a ceasing to be of which I had no awareness. What followed, as dramatic as it was for those around me, was a blank to me; something available to my soul only via hearsay.

There were, it would seem, heroic measures involving tubes, machines, drugs, and methods of lowering the temperature of the human body and maintaining it there for some days. For some minutes I was, it would seem, dead and for some days after that I was, it would seem, as good as dead. I was kept cold and under the stone of coma. Then, after eleven days, that cold stone was rolled away and I was returned to life. It was, I suppose, a kind of cut-rate resurrection. Yet it was mine and I was, and am, glad to have had it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.

I’ve spent no small amount of time wondering what it is I am to do with this “resurrection.” It seems as if I should do something; something more than I was doing before, something that is somehow “better.”

I ask about this “purpose” in passing in the daylight and more formally in prayer, but I have to date received no answer, no voice out of the whirlwind or the burning bush. I don’t expect such although I would not be utterly unprepared if it happened. I’m used to the mysteries of the universe or the tricks of the monkey mind at this point.

Still, it would be nice to get a message neatly laid out, sent in from God’s great cosmic sign factory in the clear and in a crisp typeface. It would be nice but it is clearly asking too much. “Still not satisfied” is not a good attitude to have if one has been resurrected. As they say in meetings, “The attitude is gratitude.” I had that gratitude for a long time. It slipped away. Maybe I should try to get it back.

Or maybe I should not.

Maybe I should just drop all that and drop the searching for the BIG MESSAGE.

Maybe, just maybe, I should try to see again what we always forget: the Here and the Now of the Miracle.

Maybe, just maybe, on this day, I should strive always to recall that Christ is not just the Resurrection, but “the Resurrection and the Life.”

Today, resurrected, I sit here and look through my front window, across my porch, to the playground across the street:

“There is the impression of small children running about in bright clothing. The sky is clear and there is sunlight from overhead. Shadows are small pools moving beneath the children. It is in the high 50s neither warm nor cold.”

That was both then and [two/ three / four/ five / six / seven /eight / nine years later] is now, and ever shall be.

There is “the Resurrection and the Life.”  Of the two it is the latter that remains the larger miracle and His gift.

October 13, 2013
Easter Sunday, 2012
Easter Sunday, 2013
Easter Sunday, 2015
Easter Sunday, 2016
Easter Sunday, 2017
Easter Sunday, 2018
Easter Sunday 2019
Easter Sunday, 2020
Easter Sunday, 2021

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey Klahn March 31, 2018, 10:20 PM

    Poignant. Inspiring.

  • Phil in Englewood April 1, 2018, 2:57 AM

    It seems like it was just he other day…
    A beautiful Easter morning. A fine time to read such a well-written account of a miracle, and to appreciate the Life.

  • Walt Gottesman April 1, 2018, 4:49 AM

    Thank you for publishing this homage once again. Peace be with you sir, now and always.

  • EndOfPatience April 1, 2018, 8:53 AM

    Happy Easter.

    Happy Life.

  • Howard Nelson April 1, 2018, 9:58 AM

    To those who read your heart by the light of your words, not ‘Cut-Rate’ at all.

  • Jack Rackim April 1, 2018, 10:24 AM

    I enjoy reading this every year. I can’t imagine the feeling you have when you think of your experience. Maybe your new purpose is to get us, your readers, to think. Enjoy your day.

  • TN VOLUNTEER April 1, 2018, 11:49 AM

    ….Resurrection, the one word that defines Christianity!

  • Alein April 7, 2018, 10:17 AM

    I do not know if you read these older comments, but I will leave one anyway.
    I too had a return from near death, although not nearly as dramatic as yours. Meditating on this I reached some conclusions.
    God knows what he is doing. Trust him.
    Get on with your life as it is given to you.
    Thank God for each day; it is a gift.
    If God wants you to do something, he will let you know.

  • vanderleun April 7, 2018, 12:07 PM

    I do read all these comments and I thank you for yours.

  • Jennifer Rust April 22, 2019, 4:40 AM

    So happy you are with us still. Your writing inspires me.

  • ghostsniper April 22, 2019, 6:57 AM

    Welcome back, again.

  • Splod April 22, 2019, 7:00 AM

    All who believe have been resurrected from the dead and share your experience, though they may not perceive it that way.
    And there is no new or further message coming to the resurrected in this world.
    “He has told you, oh man . . .” And, “In these last days He has spoken to us in . . .”

  • Terry April 22, 2019, 7:54 AM

    AD is my Home Page and for many reasons. We all need you Gerard.

  • Joe Krill April 22, 2019, 8:11 AM

    Maybe, just maybe, on this day, I should strive always to recall that Christ is not just the Resurrection, but “the Resurrection and the Life.”

    Maybe, just maybe, on this day, and every day for my remaining years I should strive always to recall that Christ is not just the Resurrection, but “the Resurrection and the Life.”

  • Sam L. April 22, 2019, 9:49 AM

    There’s a bunch of us glad you’re still with us.

  • captflee April 22, 2019, 10:04 AM

    Good Lord!

    Tell me that it hasn’t really been over a hundred months… the difference in perception of time between yoots and geezers is assuredly some trippy stuff. If asked, I woulda said 3-4 years, tops. Or, I’m slipping. If called to that bar, I will gladly attest before the Almighty that you have contributed mightily in the additional time gifted you, an evangelist for sanity in a time of madness.

  • Daniel K Day April 22, 2019, 1:13 PM

    I’m glad you’re still here, Gerard. Many happy returns of the sun.

  • JoanOfArgghh! April 22, 2019, 4:43 PM

    New life never gets old. Thanks for this. It is as constant as the seasons to rejoice with you every year!

  • BonafideView April 22, 2019, 5:11 PM

    “Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now”
    — A. E. Housman

    Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
    Is hung with bloom along the bough,
    And stands about the woodland ride
    Wearing white for Eastertide.

    Now, of my threescore years and ten,
    Twenty will not come again,
    And take from seventy springs a score,
    It only leaves me fifty more.

    And since to look at things in bloom
    Fifty springs are little room,
    About the woodlands I will go
    To see the cherry hung with snow.

  • Hale Adams April 22, 2019, 7:22 PM

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — it’s good that you’re here, Gerard.

  • Jane April 22, 2019, 7:50 PM

    I have enjoyed your writing for many years. My husband died in 2004 of an event like yours. At the hospital in the midst of tragedy and chaos God did speak to me. He literally smacked me upside the head and said “This is what you’ve been waiting for. Get going.” I had always been concerned with education and homeschooled my own children. The 2 eldest were college graduates, the youngest homeschooled because of illness still. I got my elementary certificate under difficult circumstances and now am an excellent subversive teacher. Every day I feel God’s hand in what I do. Let’s just say it’s not Common Core. Thank you for sharing. Incredible pain can lead to wonderful things.

  • AesopFan April 23, 2019, 8:53 AM

    “It’s a Wonderful Life” has been a decades-long favorite for a reason.
    What would have been different in the world, if God had not sent you back for a season?

  • Joseph Krill April 13, 2020, 7:20 AM

    Only when I came to the full understanding of what Christ said in John 6:63 did I truly begin to understand His message and what life is about. It was not and never was a physical message. We are only visitors here. He came to show us the way home.

    John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

    May you continue to be Blessed.

  • Frank April 13, 2020, 8:11 AM

    Interesting and insightfully beautiful. The one thing I did note was the ‘coma’ not death but very close to ‘dying.’ I’m sure that many of us older readers who’ve gone under the knife have considered that missing time with absolutely no memory (thank God) before, during and after surgery. One cannot help but to wonder if this is a glimpse of death…a complete disconnect..no awareness..Does the universe exist if one is unaware of it?…I firmly believe that it does because to consider otherwise is to consider our own insanity. We exist therefore why not? Why not exist beyond this reality? Our existence and that of our beloved..the arguments..the scriptures..the overwhelming evidence…I choose life..I choose faith and hope …

  • captflee April 13, 2020, 9:42 AM


    So, I thought last year was mad. Maybe the next one, or the one after, will be better. Where there is life, there is hope. I hope.

    In any event, here’s wishing you an early rebirthday!

  • jwm April 13, 2020, 10:34 AM

    My father had his cardio event in 1993. He called me before calling 911. I called 911 from my apartment, and gave them his address. I drove over to his house, and got there just as they were wheeling him out on the gurney. He looked at me and waved as the paramedics were loading him into the ambulance. Somehow I figured he’d be OK, so I got breakfast before going over to the hospital. He didn’t make it to the hospital. He was 66.
    I had my turn in ’06. I was out walking, and was just a few hundred yards from Whittier hospital. I don’t know how I did it, because I was in hideous pain and fading out fast, but I made it across the parking lot, through the doors of the emergency room, and collapsed in front of the receptionist’s desk. By the grace of God I got there in time. A day later they planted a stent, and let me know that there had been no damage to the heart itself. I did not have a hospital room conversion, but after I came through it, everything I read, seemed to nudge me in the direction of Faith until one morning I heard myself offering up my prayers to Christ Jesus, and not some vague notion of God as “Higher Power”. I became a believer, albeit feral, despite myself.
    I had a check-up, and an ultrasound on my heart this last fall and all is still well. Only then did I learn that I had survived what they call the widowmaker blockage. So I understand that God must have had something for me to do yet with my time here. I’m still unsure what it is. But I have an inexhaustible well of gratitude for the quotidian events of passing days, and I don’t let a day go by without telling my wife how much and how deeply I love her. So, one more day comes, and Gerard has new stuff on line, and the regular gang of commenters is here, too. Despite these all too interesting times there is much to be grateful for.


  • Bill April 13, 2020, 11:47 AM

    I now look forward to this re-post every year; may I see it for many more.

  • Vanderleun April 13, 2020, 12:38 PM

    As they say in the rooms, “The attitude is gratitude.”

  • waitingForTheStorm April 16, 2020, 4:32 AM

    I read this story every year. A month ago, I was struck on the head by a falling branch. I saw the tree break the hinge and then, boom, nothing. I awoke some time later with blood streaming down my head and my wife frantic with concern. It had to be only a few moments, but it was lost. I have no recollection of the pain of being hit, but a seven inch gash to the bone will remind me; I have a permanent part in my hair now.

    The attending physician was clear: I should be an idiot or dead, but I am fairly well recovered. I will be more cautious. Thanks for writing so well.

  • Jay April 17, 2020, 5:59 AM

    similar experience. Burst aneurysm. Induced coma. Three months recovery. God saw fit for me to see by boys grow up.

  • JoeDaddy April 4, 2021, 3:00 AM

    AMEN. !

  • Snakepit Kansas April 4, 2021, 5:13 AM

    There was a purpose He had for you. You are living it!

    He is risen! HAPPY EASTER ALL!

  • Anonymous April 4, 2021, 6:10 AM

    I am wondering if David Warren was in a similar situation. His
    last post in Feb. (?) said he expected to be missing for a short time.
    I hope we hear his story some day also.

    You were blessed and now we are blessed because you were.

    Glorious day today! May you all feel it.

  • jd April 4, 2021, 6:11 AM

    The above is from jd

  • PA Cat April 4, 2021, 6:29 AM

    For jd, who asked about David Warren: The following was posted on his website on March 24:
    “David Warren writes to apologize to the many correspondents he has apparently ignored. I’ve read them all now. Since my heart attack, triple by-pass, stroke, &c, I have been a bit under the weather. I expect to be down for another few months. God bless my doctors and nurses, and dear son, sister, and helpers.”

    And for Gerard: I too thank you for this annual (re)post. The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

  • Jeff Brokaw April 4, 2021, 7:06 AM

    Giving thanks and continued prayers for not just your “cut-rate resurrection” but for continued good health! Happy Easter!

  • EX-Californian Pete April 4, 2021, 7:09 AM

    The article, and the comments from the good people here made the day even more glorious.

    A joyous and blessed Easter to all.

  • Kevin in PA April 4, 2021, 7:24 AM

    I have read this one a number of times and it doesn’t get old.
    As so many have already stated, I’m glad you were given a second shot at the big wheel of life.
    I hope you can hang around for another long while before you are called to the other side.
    Peace and Happy Easter.

  • Robert Kendall April 4, 2021, 7:46 AM

    I really like your recounting of the “death”/”life” experience you were allowed to experience. the whole wondering about why thing is truly the mystery here…. I suffered an accident on jan 5th 2013 that left me dead and then in an induced Coma for 30 days and have been hard pressed to make sense of the experience, though I ponder it daily and have found only one other person ( who lives near me) that has had a similar experience. I like you reminder that it is “The Life” that is the thing. Mabey I think too much……… thanks for your insights.

  • gwbnyc April 4, 2021, 8:45 AM


    mine occurred in consciousness, instantaneously, in rather a self-made purgatory, at thirty.

    my brother’s, ten years my senior, presented itself as he left an operating table at 19 years old.

    of the three scenarios described, mine is the Classics Illustrated version. he told me later our experiences were similar, I questioned this. he explained further, “you have to die first- at that moment, didn’t you?”

  • Hale Adams April 4, 2021, 5:39 PM

    Almost ten years ago? Tempus fugit. >_<

    ….. and I think I can speak for all of us commenters: We're glad you're still here.

    And thanks for *being* here, Gerard.

    Hale Adams
    Pikesville, People's still-mostly-Democratic Republic of Maryland

  • Barr April 4, 2021, 9:23 PM

    Perhaps…perhaps…you, in what seems a seemingly insignificant way, are meant to lead others to the Lord. In the first desert war (for me), I knew I was dead in the early morning of 16 January 1991; Death raced towards me and then passed me by. I gave my soul to God that morning. Ever since then, I focus on what is important and recognize the call of the Lord. Everything else is just static…

  • Cato April 6, 2021, 2:04 PM

    I believe you were brought back in order to write things such as this.

    Your wondering about when God will send a message reminds me of the old joke. When you finally pass through those pearly gates, you may ask, “God, why didn’t you send me a sign?” The response may well be: “I put you in a coma for 11 days and then brought you back to life. What kind of sign were you expecting?”