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A Near-Death Experience At The DMV: Sound Effect, Episode 157.5

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Kimberly Clark Sharp lives in Seattle but she grew up in Kansas. And when she was 22, she had an experience with her father at the DMV that would change her life. It was not something she was prepared for.

“We were leaving the building. I collapsed into and through his arms, and hit the sidewalk,” Kim said.

A nearby nurse, a good samaritan and the fire department all worked to resuscitate her. Nothing was working. Kim describes hearing someone say, “I’m not getting a pulse!”

“I said, ‘of course you’re getting a pulse, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking.’ She ignored me. I thought well, I’m out of here. And then, by golly, I was.”

Kim describes slipping into a different world, filled with a fluffy gray softness and a brilliant, loving light. What she experienced there, and what she took away from it once she was revived, would give her life new purpose.

“I believe it is how we die. And even if there is nothing on the other side, and it’s just how we transit out and it’s our dying brain  … So what? It’s going to happen to all of us, so you might as well have some hope. And I’m here to give that hope.”

Kim wasn’t always so comfortable with what she had experienced. For a while she assumed she must have schizophrenia. But then she happened upon an organization called IANDS -- the International Association for Near Death Studies. Suddenly what happened to her had a name, and a community of people ready to believe her.

She would go on to found the local chapter of IANDS, a support group that has operated in Seattle for decades.

Kim has also remained active in the wider IANDS community, and in late August, she gave a talk at their annual conference, which happened to be in Bellevue.

She told the story of her brush with death. And then, Kim said something she had not planned on talking about, something that shocked the room into silence.

Kim joined Sound Effect Host Gabriel Spitzer after the conference to explain her announcement, and how her past brushes with death are shaping the way she’s dealing with a new threat.

Listen to the story above to find out more.

 

Gabriel Spitzer is the Host and Senior Producer of Sound Effect, KNKX's "weekly tour of ideas inspired by the place we live." Gabriel was previously KNKX's Science and Health Reporter. He joined KNKX after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.