JAKARTA (JP): Before Feb. 8, 1987, Amir Sebayang, an ear, nose
and throat specialist at Gatot Subroto Army Hospital, knew where he
was going in life.
But that all changed on the night of his heart attack.
As he was undressing for bed, he suddenly lost all strength and
broke out in a heavy sweat. He collapsed and called to his wife,
who, along with his brother-in-law, rushed him to the emergency ward
of the hospital he worked at.
He was unconscious by the time an EEG was hooked up to him. It
gave a flat line reading and the doctors said he was suffering a
cardiac arrest. The doctor in charge immediately began
cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and continued working on him for the
next hour, intent on reviving his patient, a fellow doctor.
Amir, meanwhile, was fully aware of what was going on. In a later
recount of his experience of that hour he was pronounced clinically
dead, Amir said he felt suddenly free from his body and was floating
above the emergency room scene, watching with great interest at how
the doctors were pushing on his chest with fervor.
Amir reached out and held the arm of one doctor, but he showed no
signs of acknowledging Amir was beside him. Amir then asked the team
of doctors why they were performing CPR, but nobody answered.
With a last look at his body lying on the table, Amir disappeared
from the emergency room and felt like he was flying through a dark
area. He found himself in the midst of what he could only describe
as a large airfield with many people, all dressed in white like they
were on the haj pilgrimage, walking around.
Two gentlemen approached him and said his name, telling him they
had been instructed to pick him up. They bid him welcome, but Amir
was immediately cautious.
"Who asked you to pick me up?" he asked.
"You'll know later, just follow us," they said, and Amir
He said he was taken to a wondrous flight of stairs, which left
him in complete awe.
At the top of the stairs, a road began, and Amir asked where they
"We will go along a road that you have never seen before, and
that you have never known before, but this place will be very
beautiful to you."
True to their words, he saw along the way beautiful snow-capped
mountains that reminded him of the Swiss alps, with clouds hovering
close by, leaving him breathless with their beauty.
They came to a tall building, and inside a room were many people
sitting and facing a podium.
A man who was standing inside greeted him, and told him he had
Although Amir could not see his face clearly as light from a
window behind him obscured his features, he was struck by how
incredibly handsome the man was, and Amir asked him why he had been
"There is a job for you to do, but not at the moment, so you'll
have to wait awhile," the man said. He then instructed the two
escorts to make sure Amir was treated well and given everything he
needs, but with one condition: that he was not shown hell.
Ahead of him were two doors, one on the left and the other on the
right, and Amir was warned not to pass through them, as one led to
heaven and the other to hell.
Amir asked who the man was who gave the instructions, and the two
escorts replied Gabriel. The answer shocked Amir, and he again
wondered why he had been summoned, but the escorts said they could
not answer him.
Out of a morbid curiosity, Amir asked to see hell, but was flatly
"OK, I'll pay you. I want to pay you," Amir insisted, but the
pair said money was not relevant there and they did not need
Frustrated by the length of time he felt he was waiting, Amir
declared that it would be better if he went home if there was
nothing to do.
The escorts asked him to be patient as the job would be revealed
in a short time, but Amir was bored and demanded that Gabriel be
asked again on it.
Two more escorts came and brought him back to Gabriel who said,
"Hey, Sebayang, you're easily bored, so you can either go home first
or stay here."
Amir said it would be better to go home, to which Gabriel
replied, "OK, but this job is still waiting for you and you'll be
The escorts took him back to the stairs and stopped there, saying
that they could not go any further.
Amir went back down the stairs and when he reached the last step,
everything disappeared and he felt that he had come to the surface
of a deep well, complete with water dripping on him.
The drips turned out to be the sweat of doctors who were
perspiring heavily as they leaned over him and performed CPR.
"He's conscious, he's conscious!" Amir's assistant, Dr. Sabri,
was shouting, again back in the emergency room. The EEG slowly
showed a regaining heart rhythm, and Amir opened his eyes.
It has been a slow recovery since his resuscitation, and Amir
took a long break from his practice to learn to walk properly again
after he had a repeat heart attack some months later, which landed
him again in the hospital.
At the time of his second heart attack, he said he was fully
conscious, and again he met his two escorts. This time, he demanded
to know what his job was and they said there were actually three
tasks, but they would not reveal them.
During the attack he said he begged for God to take him, as the
pain was unbearable, but instead he recovered.
"Because God didn't take me then, I lost hope, it was like a
guarantee that I wasn't going to die, so I've been in the
rehabilitation program until now," Amir said.
During his time in the program, he has talked to those who are
terminally ill with cancer as well as other heart attack patients to
give them hope with his experience of his trip to the other side.
"I tell them I have had the experience of dying and there is no
reason to fear death. Actually, death is pleasurable, very
pleasurable, because that was what I experienced from going to
heaven, although I did not see hell. And I'm not afraid of death at
all. If I have to die, let me die, that's OK."
He said that until now, he was unaware of the three tasks he must
complete, although he said one of them might be undertaking the haj
pilgrimage which he and his wife will do in December, 15 years after
his near death experience.
But for Amir, he has all the proof he needs for what scientists
are striving to attain and it is more important for him to tell his
story to as many people as possible.
"I want to share this story with everyone so we can remember God
in our lives." (Maria Kegel)