Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Died... A friend of mine.

A Friend wrote me this... I though it tell you about it.

I Died

September 2nd marks an ugly anniversary for the friends and family of Tony Kraus. Tony was killed at the precious age of 23 yrs old in a tragic automobile accident on this date 1year ago. I am blogging today for a couple reasons, one I guess it helps to talk about it and two because Tony touched my life and has continued to do so even after his death.

I have learned some valuable lessons from the tragedy and have adjusted accordingly, but no lesson has ever been as important and as valuable as the lesson I learned on July 26, 2008. What you are about to read is true and to the best of my recollection.

You may or may not know, I recently had a significant change in my career status and as a result have had to hit the road again in an effort to retain my customer base and to sell them on a new product line. If you are one of those who knew me around 2000 you know that I was around 100 lbs. less than what I currently weight now. The last 8 years has been hard on my body, drinking mass quantities, eating great food at all hours of the day and night have taken a tremendous toll on my body.

During the months of May, June and July of this year, I lived on the road pretty solid, I returned on July 24 after 90-days of hard work with lots of party thrown in as well, even partying the day after returning home, I met up with some buddies downtown and hit it again, closing up that bar.

The very next day, Friday July 25, 2007, was a tough day. I had been having trouble breathing, I had been really short of breath, I couldn’t walk anywhere without being extremely winded. I kept blaming it on my asthma, and my Doc was on vacation and I couldn’t for the life of me get anyone at his office to call in my inhaler prescription.

As I settled in for bed that night, I believed at the time that I was having an asthma attack, I was really uncomfortable, but I sleep with a CPAP machine (this forces air down your pipe, and keeps you from snoring and from stopping breathing in your sleep), so this gave me some relief, enough where I could fall to sleep.

At some point, and I believe it to be near the end of my night’s sleep, although I can’t say for sure at what time it was, I believe I died in my sleep, that is to say that I believe my heart stopped beating for a period of time. I believe this because I’ve read the books and have seen it on TV; you know what I’m talking about, the “Near Death Experience”. That is exactly what will make this event hard for anyone to believe, because we’ve all heard of it and each of the stories we’ve heard seems to always be the same story we’ve already heard before or read about, so it’s easy to doubt it, I know because I was always one of those doubters. It’s easy to say, well that was just a dream……..

I was suddenly in a black hole and a very narrow tunnel almost immediately began to take shape, my 1st initial feeling was very simple, it was one of just, W O W, this is really cool! At 1st, I thought oh right I’m sleeping so I must be dreaming, but then just saying that I realized this is not a dream, and this is more real than a dream, in fact, this entire experience was more than real, more real than if I were telling you this in person, I know that doesn’t make any since, but it’s the only way I can explain this.

This black hole started with a bright flash of light (more bright than I’ve ever seen) that rushed in from all around me, this light was so brilliant, but it didn’t hurt me to look at it, and then as fast as this light appeared it suddenly became just a pinpoint of light at the far end of what became a tunnel.

I started moving into and up the tunnel toward the brilliant light, and as I moved up the tunnel and toward the light it became brighter, the light gave me an overwhelming feeling of love, the light was a being I thought, it has to be a being because that light loves me, and as soon as I acknowledged that the light loved me it became abundantly clear to me that this light was Jesus, it was the Light Of Jesus Christ, and at that point the race was on, I moved faster and faster toward the light, I wanted to be with the light.

Suddenly, my Mother was with me (my Mom passed away in 2004), and then both my maternal and paternal grandparents as well as my father were all with me (all who have passed away). I have missed my Mother dearly, I used to call my Mom every single day of my life and I miss her and now all of a sudden here she was, I could see her as if you and I were sitting here in a room looking at one another, although it was even different than that, I have to say that it was like there was an added dimension to this “tunnel” and then even that doesn’t explain it good enough, and I know that makes no since, but it’s the best I can come up with with my limited use of the English language.

My Mother looked at me with great concern in her face, they all looked at me with this same look in their faces, my Mother spoke to me, and she was the only one of my family who spoke to me. My Mom said “Oh Rodney, you can’t be here, you’re not supposed to be here, you have to go back”. My Mom’s tone was that of one that I had heard many times before, but it was from a long time ago, from when I was a little boy, that was the tone that I recognized in her voice. I wasn’t doing something bad, it’s just that I felt my Mother was trying to advise me on how to do something and when not to do something and that this was not the time to be moving toward the “Light”, does that make any since?

I did not listen to my Mother, I moved faster and faster to the “Light”, Jesus. I wanted to be with Jesus, I wanted to meet Him, I was not scared, I was excited, I was as excited to meet Him as I was to see my Mom, so I moved faster and faster, all the while my Mother was trying to persuade me not to, and just about the time I was about to ask my Mother why I couldn’t be here, she suddenly moved back, they all moved back.

Tony Kraus was suddenly in front of me, with the same look on his face as everyone else, he was in between me and the “Light”, I wanted to grab him and hug him, but he grabbed me by my hands and I was halted in my quest to get to the “Light”. He was holding my hands and he said to me “Dude no, you can’t be here right now, you’re not supposed to be here right now, you have to go back”!

I awoke and practically jumped from my bed, I took my CPAP mask off without even un-hooking the strap, I set on the edge of my bed and said out loud, “WTF was that”! Within moments, my doorbell was ringing and I had company for coffee, I couldn’t focus on the conversation with my company, all I could do is think about my sleep experience. I knew it was not a dream, this was something more real than a dream, this was something more real than real.

My mind was racing a hundred miles an hour, I wanted to tell my friend Ed Kastelz who was right in front of me now in this world having coffee, I wanted to tell him, but I was afraid he would think I had completely went off the deep end or wonder what it was that I was smoking.

Ed didn’t stay long, one cup and he was out the door, and the minute he left I regretted not telling him. I did tell him the very next day, and he was the first person I told, and I’m very glad I did, he believed me and that gave me strength to tell others, not many, just a few. I’ve told family members and a few close personal friends.

I couldn’t wait to tell Tony’s Mother, but yet on the other hand, for me, Yolanda was the most difficult to tell this too, I wanted to tell her so she would know Tony was safe and Ok, but on the other hand, her heart aches for her son Tony and the last thing I would ever want to do is to add pain unto pain, plus how safe is it to tell someone this, I mean it sounds like Rod has lost his mind doesn’t it?

I have been very careful who I’ve told my story too, for fear of ridicule, but today I was asked by Tony’s Mom whether or not I had written my experience down, this made me realize that today shouldn’t just mark the anniversary of an extremely heart breaking experience for those of us who loved Tony Kraus, this day should also be a day that we tell others why Tony is so missed, what a great kid he was. Tony died, Yolanda lost her son, Chase Anthony lost his Dad, and I’m worried someone won’t believe me or they’ll think I’m nuts? Who cares!

Let me tell you what I believe, I believe my heart stopped beating while I was asleep, and I believe that Tony Kraus started my heart beating again when he grabbed me by my hands, I believe I began a journey in the “tunnel” to another world, I believe Tony was asked by God to stop me from completing the journey, and that’s exactly how I felt when Tony took my hands.

I even reported this to a medical doctor a few weeks after I first started seeing her which was on July 28, 2008 (2-days after I died). She too believed me, this Dr. had informed me the week after I died that my heart was enlarged and really weak, (info gathered from chest x-rays, EKG’s and some other ECG something or another) and that I had a lot of fluid around my heart causing me to be extremely short of breath (not my asthma as I suspected). When I told my Dr that I believed that my heart stopped beating in my sleep, she was not surprised and said, “I believe that, it happens all the time, especially when someone is in the condition you were in when you first walked in here”.

My experience took place in my sleep on a Friday night/Saturday morning. That Monday, I quit smoking and anyone who knows me, knows how hard that should have been for me. Also that Monday, I did my first walk, it was 250 yards round trip and I couldn’t breathe. Wednesday of that week I saw my Doctor at the Born Clinic, this is when she ordered all the testing.

The Born Clinic is a preventative health care clinic, it’s where Muhammad Ali has gone for years for the controversial medical treatment called Chelation, an IV of a cocktail of drugs and peroxide, this cocktail is called EDTA. Chelation was used in the 50’s to cure lead poisoning, and many believe it helps diabetics by improving circulation, it removes plaque from the walls of arteries around the heart thus reversing coronary artery disease and in short many believe it’s like giving the body a tune up or an oil change.

Today, five weeks later and on the anniversary of Tony’s tragic death, I walked my usual 3 mile walk this morning, and tonight I rode my bike 5 miles further than my normal nightly 6 mile trip, I did this by riding to Tony’s grave and back for a round trip total of 11 miles. I rode to Tony’s grave to thank him for saving my life, and for turning me back in the “Tunnel” and making me realize it was not my time that night, I went there to show him that I heard him, and I’m not wasting the opportunity. I have lost 15 lbs. and remain on a great diet, I have not smoked and have my blood sugar under control, and I wanted him to know that I made up my mind once and for all that “I choose Life”.

I share my story not only because I am proud of my accomplishments, but I want people to know the good about Tony Kraus, he wasn’t just a great kid who had struggles with drugs and overcome addiction, he was a person who loved you back, if you loved Tony, he loved you back and would do anything for you, I will never forget the day he told me that he wished he could buy his Mom a spa and that someday he would, he immediately started working me for the best price he could get for his Mom, this still makes me smile. J

If Tony could do something that could help you out he did it, we would set on the deck and he would get up and light my tikki torches and every time he would say, I guess I gotta light these things again, am I the only one who fills these things, it seems like every time I have to light them the dam things are empty”. He would say this every time, LOL, he knew I loved those torches!

Tony helped me out on July 26, 2008, he set me on a course to make changes, I am on a mission to live as long as I can, and my life will be that of a healthy man. I’m not sure why that night was not my time, and maybe tomorrow will be, I just know that night wasn’t and my own Mother couldn’t make me understand that, but Tony Kraus did and I am very thankful for a second chance!!!!

Spread the news, "Even If You Die, You Live"

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