The Day I Almost Died

Or maybe I didn’t almost die. Maybe I just came close to death in my mind. To me, that’s close enough.

So, what happened to make me come so close to death? What could have made me think that my life was going to end?

I thought I had met Death

Image by JD Hancock

This near death experience happened while I was ice climbing in Munising.

The day started out like any other ice climbing trip I’d ever been on. We arrived at the frozen waterfall. John, our ice climbing guide, setup the climbing routes. And we began to climb.

Then someone saw a perfect place to explore. There was beautiful ice and a way up behind the frozen waterfall.

My near death experience

Only this quick way up wasn’t so quick for me. Instead, it became a trial of fear and dread and the feeling of death crept upon me.

As I made my way up the frozen, snowy wall of snow, my mind began to flood with fear. Voices filled my mind. I heard:

“You’re going to fail!”

“You can’t make it safely.”

“You don’t have the strength to do this.”

And I began to believe the voices in my head. I KNEW I was going to fail. I KNEW I wasn’t going to be safe. I KNEW my arms and legs would give out.

I was going to fall and be a bloody wreck at the bottom of the waterfall…

Fear became a force to be reckoned with.

Thankfully, we can overcome our fears. We can beat back the pounding in our hearts. We can beat back the negative thoughts in our minds. We can beat back fear.

For me, overcoming the fear wasn’t done by myself. I had my ice climbing friends there to help me push through and conquer the fear I felt.

Erik offered his GoPro mono-pod to help steady my shaking arms. This helped me relax a bit and make my way over to the ice cave.

On the way down, little Andy helped guide my feet to the proper places. He stayed with me through the whole process.

With the help of my friends, I was able to overcome death that day. And I was able to experience something very few people can ever say they saw.

So, what’s the point of this post?

Fear is a thief. Fear will lie to you. Fear will hold you back.

You don’t have to listen to the fear. When you push back against the fear, you will find yourself in places you never thought you would wind up.

When you’ve got good friends, they’re there for you. Good friends will help you through your most fearful moments. Good friends will tell you where to go and that you will make it.

At the time, I thought I was going to die. Yet I made it through this ordeal.

You’ll face moments just like this in your life. Don’t let fear win out.

Question: Have you had a near-death experience like this? How did it turn out? Share your experience in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I wouldn’t say “near death…” I would say “given a terminal diagnosis.” On the way home from the doctor’s office that day, I tried to look at everything differently. I tried to think, “God, this world is beautiful…I’m going to enjoy every second from now on.” Except I couldn’t. I was filled with dread. But I got quiet and alone and He filled me with peace over the days and guided me to someone with the same opinion as His, which was “No, it is not your time.” So here I am…7 years later. There’s no one around in a white coat with a sappy sad look on their face and their hand on my shoulder telling me I should start counting every second! It’s not over till He says it’s over. But He understands our fear and He provides for it, doesn’t He Joe? 🙂 Glad you are still here too.

    • Wow Linda powerful story! I am glad you are here and that the Lord’s peace was and is with you.

      • Thanks, Zechariah…me too! : o )

        • That is so great Linda! Beautiful to rest in His provision.

          • Thanks Matt…it certainly is. It was a brain tumor that was growing rapidly. I did have surgery (in another state) and the recovery was horrendous and took about 3 years. But looking back I can say that even though I never knew from one month to the next if I would get any better than I was at that stage of recovery, I had total peace that He had a plan. It was amazing…Hard, to be sure…but amazing.

      • Amen!

        • Allen Pearson

          AMEN!!! Praise God!!

    • Powerful story!

    • He does Linda. He puts the right people and situations in front of us just when we need it. I’m glad you were able to find someone to walk through the fear with you.

      And thanks for sharing the story. You’ve stirred up quite the comments!

    • Linda, I have not met you and I am shocked to meet you through your story, but in 2010 I too was told to “get my affairs in order” and yes, that included making arrangements for my then almost 3 year old daughter and 12 year old son. It is certainly a moment. Like you, I was filled with a huge longing and overflowing with dread. Like you, I knew that I needed to be quiet and alone with our Father and He too guided me to others ~ you all actually. He brought you all to me by bringing me into Social Media. And as you are today, here I am. He DOES understand. He DOES provide… all we need.

      • Amber…the first thing I thought when I read your comment is, “We need to talk!!” Contact one FB if you would like to ;o)

  • There have been a couple of times when there was serve turbulence on flights that I thought for sure we were going down. During those times I honestly thought I was ready. There’s still things I want to accomplish but I’m proud of what I’ve done so far and happy to know that my family will be taken care of financially.

    • Those times of “near-death” brings us into greater clarity. I’m glad none of those planes did go down.

      • It’s really heart breaking to see what’s going on with that plane that’s missing.

  • Fear is a 4-letter word!

  • We were traveling to a trade show a couple years ago and nearly crashed. We were on the interstate in Kentucky going about 70 mph. I was sitting in the back seats of the F250 which was pulling a trailor with about 6000 lbs of equipment. I was reading a book when I heard my coworker in the passenger seat tell the driver to hit the brakes. When I looked up, traffic was stopped and there was mini van full of people in front of us and a transfer truck in front of them. When he hit brakes I could feel the trailor pulling towards us and I braced myself for what was getting ready to be a catastrophic event. But, it was like someone’s hand moved the vehicle to the right and we bounced off the guard rail and just hit the side mirror of the transfer truck. It was a very scary time, but God intervened.

    • That’s crazy Bernard. I’m glad to hear you guys were okay and there was minimal damage.

  • Joe.
    I swear to GOD, I feel this same knee-shaking fear – every time I have to cross that murdering river of shifting quicksand and icy water. Every single time. Good thing I am sitting in the saddle as my knees are shaking- because I am certain I would not be able to stand. But. There are people on other horses behind me, always. Waiting for me to show them the safest route. Would they follow me if they knew? That I too was terrified? I trust me, I trust my horse. I trust my team would do all they could if we went down (which happens) and were unable to recover- to retrieve me. I trust in His plan for me, completely. It does NOT, however, stop the fear. What this fear does FOR me though is this- it reminds me how important it is for me to lead the way. Who else would completely understand it’s dangers? Who else is so completely part of the horse under them? Who would I myself follow? Who would I send someone’s child or father to follow across that river? I will continue to lead the way. But I do understand that fear, Joe. It reminds us of what CAN be there. It isn’t to stop us, only to make sure we watch every slippery step.

    • Thanks for sharing your story Amber. Your story reminds me of what one of the guides of the trip kept saying: Trust the equipment. (like you trust the horse). They’re there for a reason.

  • As I read this I kept thinking of the verse that says “perfect love casts out fear”.
    When we are in “life and death” experiences sometimes it can be hard to trust in the perfect love of Christ, other times His love is all that pulls us through.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • So true TC. It’s easy to question Christ when put into a difficult situation.

      • I couldn’t really think of a life or death situation in my life, but working in the ER, I had the opportunity to see it first hand more than I’d care to think about.

  • Joe, I put a post on the group page asking people what they were afraid of. There were over 60 responses and it was really amazing to see the transparency that everyone shared. in the end of fear is cast out by love.

    • That’s so cool Matt. Not only do you see what people are afraid of, it gives you an idea of people’s needs.

  • Allen Pearson

    Joe- you know how to get a guy’s attention! Congrats on making the ice trip- I struggle trying to get across a patch of ice- can’t imagine doing what you did! Glad you are here to tell us about it! No, I’ve never had a terminal diagnosis though I’ve had a few health issues which are very challenging- God gave me His Strength and a peace that passes understanding to deal with them. God has kept His Promise of always being there for me- never failed. So- as they say- no worries!

  • kentsanders

    Great story, Joe. Good headline also! Back in December, I woke up at 4 a.m. a few days before Christmas and had a sharp pain in my chest. I had never felt anything like it before. I was sure I was having a heart attack and I had never felt fear like that before. I was convinced that I could pass out at any moment and die. I woke up my wife, we called an ambulance, and it turned out to be a gallstone (whew!). That was the closest I can remember to feeling like I might actually die.

    • That would be scary Kent! I’m glad it was not as serious as a heart attack. From what I’ve heard, gallbladder issues can be nasty and painful.

      • kentsanders

        I would say my experience was pretty mild post-surgery. Your body has to adjust a bit, but it wasn’t a huge deal. The biggest challenge is staying away from friend foods and things like that …. 🙂

        • That’s good to hear! Though I’d miss the fried food.

  • DanKnight

    Facing death came in 2010 when I ran for Mayor of my city. The public forums, debates, etc, where I was going up against 14 other candidates, each pushing their agenda. I became discouraged and struggled thru. Then the last debate, I knocked it out of the ball-park, was the only candidate to get a standing ovation, and had one media person chastise me with: “Where have you been? Your’s is the voice we needed to hear 3 months ago!”

    I placed 12 out of the 14!

    Not only did I lose that day, but my city did as well. Not that I should have been mayor; but my voice should have been heard sooner. Had I not given into fear earlier on, only finding my voice at the end, I would have changed the agenda and more important issues would have played out.

    Fear is a killer, when it keeps us from living.

    • Oh man, that’s tough but it’s great that you gave it a shot. Here’s the thing, you may have lost that day but there’s always another election you can run in or something else you can move onto.

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