A Portsmouth woman saw life after death and she wants to talk about it

Staff writer

Rosemary Thornton went to the doctor for a minor medical procedure last year, bled out and had a heart attack.

For 10 minutes she had no vital signs. She died.

“I popped out of my body like toast in a toaster and had a splendiferous time floating around and chatted with the angels,” Thornton said.

On the operating room table, Thornton was brought back to life. Doctors resuscitated her.

Thornton will talk about her experience with death and what she learned at an event at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Williamsburg Mennonite Church.

The meeting is hosted by Williamsburg Friends of International Association for Near-Death Studies, an organization which provides information services about near-death experiences, brings together those with experience and encourages research.

The group defines a near-death experience as a profound psychological event with transcendental and mystical elements, which may happen to someone close to death or in a situation of physical or emotional crisis.

Williamsburg Friends of IANDS holds monthly meetings with speakers and discussions on the psychological event, organized by Helen Hope Dillard, a local counselor.

“There’s a lot of people going through this and a lot of times, they’re not comfortable talking about it,” Dillard said. “It helps people in grief and depression and also other people who may have experienced it and not aware that they have.”

Thornton is a writer and has made a career out of her expertise on Sears Homes. She has traveled the country and wrote nine books and countless articles on the kit homes.

She has given more than 200 lectures on the subject, but this will be her first time talking publicly about death.

“I am accustomed to being a public speaker, but I have never given a talk on being dead for 10 minutes,” Thornton said. “This is going to be a new one for me.”

Two years prior to her near-death experience, Thornton lost her husband to suicide.

“That absolutely destroyed me. I was completely miserable, traumatized, horrified and after this experience, I’ve realized I was healed in heaven,” Thornton said. “That was pretty profound, and when I came back from this I was kind of a new person.”

Thornton’s perspective underwent an immediate sea-change. She sold her car, home and almost all of her belongings. She has plans to move to St. Louis and write a book.

She hopes to give people some peace about what happens after this life.

“And to share that there is more, and not only is there more, but it is too glorious for words to describe,” Thornton said. “It’s all good.”

Want to go?

What: Williamsburg Friends of the International Association for Near-Death Studies meeting

Where: Williamsburg Mennonite Church

When: 11 a.m. Saturday

How much: $10 donation is encouraged

Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at sararose.martin@vagazette.com or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.

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