A British stage actor and artist who was clinically dead for seven minutes before being revived has spoken about what he saw and felt during his brief but profound experience with the afterlife.
Shiv Gerwal, 60, was having lunch with his wife Alison in London when he went into cardiac arrest.
His wife frantically called for an ambulance, but Shiv’s heart had stopped beating.
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“I knew, somehow, that I was dead,” Gerwal said, according to The New York Post.
“I felt things completely separate from my body.
“It was like I was in a void but I could feel emotions and sensations.”
Gerwal went on to describe the experience as akin to “swimming through water”, with a sense of weightlessness and disconnection from the physical world.
“At one point, I was travelling over the moon, and I could see meteorites and all of space,” he said.
Grewal said he could remember feeling that he definitely didn’t want to die – that he wanted to return to his body and to his wife.
“There was a whole set of possibilities, various lives and reincarnations that were being offered to me,” he said.
“I didn’t want them.
“I made it very clear that I wanted to return to my body, to my time, to my wife and to go on living.”
When an ambulance arrived, paramedics began working on Grewal and managed to restart his heart.
He was raced to hospital, where surgery was performed to put a stent into his clogged main artery.
Grewal was then placed into an induced coma for a month.
While the traumatic event happened almost a decade ago, Grewal told the publication he hasn’t fully recovered.
But his experience of what happens after death has transformed his life, he said.
He began to paint as a way to work through his emotions around the event, finding both self-expression and form of therapy there.
“I remembered everything that happened when my heart stopped and have tried to translate it into art,” he said.
And while he described his former self as something of a cynic, Gerwal said he now absolutely believed in an afterlife.
“I’m less fearful of death because of it, but at the same time, I’m also more fearful, because I’ve realised how precious everything I have in life is,” he said.
“I’m grateful just to be here.”
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