In 1997, Jeff Olsen experienced a horrific automobile accident which inflicted multiple life threatening injuries, including crushing both his legs. He had 18 surgeries and spent six months in the hospital. His left leg was amputated above the knee. The most devastating outcome of the accident was the loss of his wife and youngest son, both killed instantly. Overwhelmed by his own life-threatening injuries, Jeff had a profound near-death experience in which he met his wife on the other side, who told him he couldn’t stay and had to return. Having that glimpse into heaven gave him the courage he needed to carry on and care for his living son. He has since remarried and adopted two more sons. According to Jeff’s website, his greatest joy comes from being a husband and father. His mission is to assist people in consciously embracing who they are and the connection they share with others and the universe. Here are two excerpts from Jeff’s outstanding book, “I Knew Their Hearts,” which describes the profound challenges he faced. To learn more about Jeff and his near-death experience, go here.
I Knew Their Hearts
“I felt the hustle and unrest of the hallway of a hospital. I watched the doctors and nurses as they went about their duties. I moved with ease all around them. I realized none of them were aware of me. They could not see me, but – wow – could I see them!
“My perceptions were expanded. I knew each person I saw perfectly. I knew their joys and their sorrows. I knew their love, their hate, their pain, and their secrets. I knew everything about them, every detail, every motivation, and every outcome. I knew every emotion they were feeling, and I knew intuitively why they were feeling it. In an instant, with no contemplation, I knew them as well as I knew myself. I knew their hearts…
“… I felt spontaneous, intense love for each and every one of them. Not a romantic love, but a perfect, compassionate love…”
“I moved about the hospital with ease, pausing to take in the beauty of the people I was encountering. I felt their true essence and marveled at the connection I had to each of them, even though I had never met them before…
“Most of my life, I had actually avoided people. Now, everyone I saw was truly my brother or sister. In fact it went even deeper than that. THEY were, in a strange sense, ME! We were all connected pieces in a huge puzzle of oneness.
“Words Jesus had said rushed to my recollection: ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these brethren ye have done it unto me.’ Was he talking about the awareness I was experiencing? Did he feel the same thing I was feeling? Was this how he walked the earth, in the consciousness of knowing each individual soul at this deep level of love?
“I realized he didn’t see himself as better than the beggar or the prisoner; he knew he was one with them. He knew them perfectly, in the same way I was experiencing the strangers I saw. We are all linked and equal in God’s eyes. I was seeing it, feeling it, and experiencing it.”
— Pages 35-37
A Higher Perspective
“My left leg now smelled so badly of rotting flesh that it stunk up the entire hospital ward. Gangrene was slowly destroying my body… I was literally going rotten right there in front of everybody. I had to end the whole nightmare.
“Why had I been sent back? Why couldn’t I die? I’d lost my vision of being Spencer’s dad. All that mattered was that I end the pain… I screamed at him [Justin, Jeff’s younger brother], “Please get me a gun! I can’t go on!” … I continued to scream at them both [Justin and Jeff’s mother] to get me a gun, and to get it now.
“I began to vomit again, harsh green bile. The puking was so painful. The bile burned my throat and mouth as it came up; brown, green, putrid acid mixed with blood. I felt like I was on fire from the inside out.
“The room began to close in on me as I tried to yell through the vomit. All the edges closed in, and it was like I was looking at the whole scene through a thick, round, glass portal. I became tiny lying on the bed. Like a bug being observed through a magnifying glass. I looked down on myself. Everything focused in on me, yet I felt alone and small lying there on the hospital bed.
“I continued to rise above the scene as my body became smaller and smaller. It was as if I were high above the room, looking down at myself. Everything was dark except my quivering body on the bed. It looked as if there were a spotlight on my convulsing physical form, which continued to become smaller and smaller as I rose higher and higher above the entire scene.
“I heard a hissing sound, and I was suddenly swept away from the horror of looking at myself to a more peaceful place outside in the still night. It didn’t hurt anymore, but I found myself observing an even darker scene. It was like I had broken through a time barrier somehow and was now standing in a garden, but it was no heavenly place. I could feel despair coming from an isolated spot. There I saw another man shivering and convulsing in tremendous pain. I heard his pleas and whimpers as he asked for his cup to pass. I watched from a distance, but could actually feel his anguish, and watched as he trembled and bled. I heard the words: ‘The son of man has descended beneath it all. Are you greater than he?”
“I knew the man’s sorrow and grief. I could hear it, taste it, and feel it in the core of my soul. I shuddered. I was standing there, actually watching and feeling something awful yet sacred. I wanted to rush to him. It was the same feeling I had experienced in the crash when I wanted to get to Spencer. I witnessed the suffering of this soul and knew I was not separated from it. The feeling of being connected and one with everything and everyone rushed over me again. It was the same connected feeling I had experienced as I walked around the hospital shortly after the accident.
“My consciousness raced back to my hospital room and into my body. Immediately I began to vomit violently again. However, something about what I had seen gave me higher perspective. I now viewed my situation differently. I no longer felt so sorry for myself. My thoughts rushed to Spencer and why I was here. I was willing to fight, I decided. I had been sent back, and the suffering I was experiencing was mine alone to bear. Somehow, peace filled my soul. I began to feel calm and comforted. I found renewed strength. A new courage filled my heart, knowledge that Jesus himself understood what I was going through personally. I was not alone . . . I’d been sent back to learn something. I too must rise again, having been made more whole by all of it in some way.”
— Pages 50-53