"I suddenly became aware of two, what can only be described as beings, standing on my right," she says. "They were 6ft tall, wearing bright cloaks and totally transparent.
WALKING her dogs in the fields near her country home, Lillian Oaktree looks
radiantly happy and without a care in the world. But it hasn't always been that
An asthmatic for 20 years, she had attacks of breathlessness and became ill and stressed with the constant worry. Yet thanks to what she is adamant was a near death experience - in which she says she met her dead parents in heaven - Lillian has now discovered an inner calm. And, what's more, her asthma has disappeared...
"I know some people will think I'm crazy, but I know what happened and it's changed my life for ever," says Lillian, 50. Four years ago, she was taken to hospital after having a severe asthma attack at her home in Liskeard, Cornwall.
"I'd never been so ill," says Lillian, who had suffered with the condition since the age of 16 and always carried two inhalers.
"On my forth night in hospital, breathing with the help of oxygen, I woke with a searing pain in my chest. It felt as if someone was thrusting a red hot poker deep inside me. As the pain grew worse I began to struggle for breath. It was terrifying. Then suddenly I was surrounded by a thick white mist. I remember feeling wide awake and the pain had gone. I thought I'd died but I wasn't scared. A sense of calm had descended upon me and I was just relieved that the pain had gone. When the mist cleared I was standing by my hospital bed looking at my body lying motionless. I could see that I wasn't breathing and I started to panic. I didn't want to die."
Lillian, who could hear doctors and nurses hurriedly treating a man who'd had a heart attack, tried to scream - but no sound came out.
"In a flash I was transported into a dark tunnel, travelling fast towards a bright, golden light. There was something warm and appealing about the light, I wasn't scared any more. Within seconds I was out of the tunnel and in a lush, green countryside. There wasn't a single cloud and the whole place bathed in a warm golden sun. There were no fences or hedges, just an endless sea of fields. All down the side were poplar trees. In the blink of an eye, the fields were filled with people, all smiling at me. It was like one big greeting party, all waiting for me."
Then Lillian says she saw her dead parents, Abe and Jacqueline, standing at the front of the crowd, motioning her to come with them. "Mum had died five years before," says Lillian, "She was 74 and died from kidney failure. But here she was standing before me looking like a young woman. She was radiant and healthy and her hair was a shimmering blonde. She was wearing a blue top and blue trousers. There was a glow all around her and I could feel her sending me massive waves of love. It felt amazing."
Beside her mum stood her dad who'd died after a heart attack when Lillian was just 12.
"I'd been devastated and never quite forgiven him for leaving me, but all I felt for him now was love," she says. "He was a chef and I couldn't help smiling because he was wearing his chef whites - the white starched shirt with the double buttons and checked trousers. His hair was jet black, too. I'd only ever seen him with grey hair, but he looked like he did in photos taken in his late 20's. Mum said to me, telepathically, 'There is something after all', which made me laugh out loud."
It was funny to Lillian because she had always believed in an afterlife - not her mother.
"Now here I was, standing in this beautiful place, and Mum confirmed everything I always believed in. She never opened her mouth - she didn't have to."
Next, Lillian saw her childhood friend Chris standing beside her parents. He'd died in a car crash at the age of 18.
"I was 16 when he passed away," she says. “He suffered horrendous burns in the crash and died at the scene. It may have happened years ago but not a week went by without me thinking about him. It was amazing to see him so full of life and with no hideous burns. He looked exactly how I'd remembered him. He didn't speak but just smiled along with everybody else. It felt like they were all sending me unconditional love. I'd never felt so good."
It wasn't just humans who'd come to see Lillian. She was also reunited with her old dogs, Fluke, Random and Joule. Then Lillian says things took an even more extraordinary turn.
"I suddenly became aware of two, what can only be described as beings, standing on my right," she says. "They were 6ft tall, wearing bright cloaks and totally transparent. Where there faces should have been were balls of golden light. I remember asking what was happening and one of them said in a gentle voice, 'This is the closest you've ever been to God'. I'd never felt so humbled but I was suddenly bathed in a bright light and every bit of my body was pulsating with energy."
Seconds later, Lillian woke up in hospital.
"I just sat there with a renewed inner calm," she recalls. "I'd never felt so good in my entire life. It was like I'd been given a new insight into life - and death. Up to then I'd worried about everything from paying bills to upsetting people. I was one of life's natural worriers. I'd always been like that, even as a kid. I blame my mother for telling me her worries. And the older I got, the more I worried. I had this tense feeling hanging over me, like a black cloud. I found it impossible to relax, which I'm sure contributed to me developing asthma. But it had lifted; it truly was a life-changing experience. My personality altered overnight. It's like someone had sucked all the tension out of me. At last I felt at peace."
On a physical level there were more big changes for Lillian. For 20 years she'd used two high dose inhalers, one of them steroids. But after her near death experience she no longer needed to rely on drugs to control her asthma.
"Now I only use my ventilator very occasionally," she explains. "My GP is delighted by my progress, though I haven't told him the change has come about due to healing in heaven. Also, before this happened I used to read tarot cards but I wasn't particularly gifted. But now I'm able to read people's auras. I've retrained as a counselor and give spiritual guidance to others. I would never have had the confidence to do any of this before my heavenly experience. I really feel blessed. But the biggest transformation has been deep within me. I've forgiven my mum for heaping her worries on me and my father for leaving me. And I now know there's no need to fear anything in life - including death. Our souls really do live on."