Nearly 30 years ago, Aimee Dos Santos at the age of 8 was crossing the street with her sister in her Rhode Island hometown and would soon experience a life changing event. "Suddenly, a car had ran a red light as we were crossing and I was hit, flew up in air and landed face first on the ground," Dos Santos recalled. "At the point of impact, I came out of my body and I remember looking down at my body and seeing the light and experiencing being one with the light and being in heaven."
On Sunday, Dos Santos, now a Bethel resident, will share her whole spiritual story of that day on the newest episode of the BIO Network's "I Survived...Beyond and Back."
Now in its second season, the show "reveals one of life's greatest mysteries by profiling the extraordinary stories of people who have literally passed on to the other side,"...exploring not only "the survivor's encounter with death, but also the ways in which it has changed their outlook on life forever." Dos Santos said prior to being on the show, sharing her near-death experience was always difficult. "As an 8-year-old I had no religion, I was not baptized and I had no concept of what God was, no language for [what happened to me]," she said. "To come back and make sense of it all…I really had no one to talk about it with." After surviving her accident, she said she had begged her parents to take her to church, read countless spiritual books and collected crosses and angels.
"I was obsessed with angels because I believed that's what healed me when I was out of my body; that I was being touched by angels," Dos Santos said. It wasn't until her early teens that Dos Santos could relate to someone. "I was watching Oprah and she had a woman on her show who also had a near death experience and wrote a book about it...it was the first time I got a word of what happened to me and could make sense of it," she said. Even after that, Dos Santos said: "Until I sat on the sound studio (for 'I Survived...Beyond and Back') and told my story, it still hadn’t been completely told as it was that day. There’s nobody in my life that’s heard it in this much detail....[Before] I felt like I didn’t want anyone to discount it or take it away from me. I remember starting to tell people as a kid and they would say I had a wild imagination. I very often had second-guessed myself; ‘did I imagine it?’ ‘was I dreaming?’'
Dos Santos said she was chosen to be on "I Survived...Beyond and Back" after several interviews and background checks. She filmed her episode in Washington, D.C. last May. "What was weird is that normally I've very nervous, but the night before filming I had a good night’s sleep and felt so calm and that I was where exactly where I needed to be," Dos Santos said. "It was the only time in my life that I felt like this...everyone was so supportive and they made me feel comfortable and I could trust them."
"..Though the scary part for me is that everyone in my life had never heard this before. It's almost like a coming out, but in a big way," she added. Dos Santos said she's not sure what the reactions will be, but that she hopes her story will help people. "The biggest message that I came back with that day and have had in my head my whole life was 'what have you done for your fellow man?' That’s when I knew I had to come back to life and live my life purposely," she said. "So I became a social worker, then a teacher; I tried to live my life helping people, but I actually think I was meant to touch people more on a spiritual level...
Dos Santos has lived in Bethel for six years, with husband Peter and two small children. To watch Dos Santos' video, visit the BIO Channel's website. Her episode is scheduled to air Sunday, Nov. 6 at 10 p.m.