After 27 minutes of unconsciousness, Tina Hines is finally coming round in hospital. Her husband Brian is convinced that the heart attack the mom had just suffered almost killed her; in fact, it was touch and go as to whether she would ever wake up again. Then Tina requests a pen and paper. And what she scribbles down after being on the verge of death is enough to give anyone goosebumps.
Tina hadn’t obviously seemed at risk for cardiac arrest, either. The mother of four was active, for one, and she ate well in a bid to stay in perfect health. Indeed, her family could perhaps never have imagined that her heart would one day simply stop. But while the medical emergency was shocking in itself, it was what happened next that may have been the biggest surprise.
Following Tina’s heart attack, Brian worked alongside rescue crews in order to keep his wife alive. It wasn’t an easy task, either, and firefighters were forced to shock Tina’s heart back into action a total of five times. As the team battled on, though, they had little clue that the unconscious woman was in the middle of a surreal near-death experience.
And Tina and Brian went way back. The two were college sweethearts, having first encountered each other at California’s Biola University where they’d shared two classes together. During that period, however, the pair couldn’t have known that Brian would one day be tasked with saving Tina’s life.
Recalling those college days in a June 2019 interview for Phoenix’s American Heart Association, Brian said of Tina, “She was tall, she was athletic. She’d be jogging by or she could be going someplace, and I’d say, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ And she’d say ‘I’m going running’… So I’d say hi to her.”
From there, Brian and Tina’s relationship progressed quickly – and seemingly with ease, too. “A friendship started, and then we got engaged,” Brian explained. “Then, six months later, we got married.” Speaking affectionately of his wife, he added, “She made the things that I liked to do… she made [them] better by being there.”
Given that Brian is Tina’s husband, it’s perhaps unsurprising that he had good things to say about her. But he wasn’t the only one to sing her praises. Friend of the family Jeff Logas told Phoenix’s American Heart Association, “Tina is adored by everybody. Brian and Tina [and] their family – they spread so much joy and happiness in everybody’s life.”
Then, after tying the knot, Tina and Brian would go on to have four children before eventually settling in Phoenix, Arizona. And it was at the Hines’ home in the city that the couple’s world was almost shattered; there, you see, was where Tina had her near-fatal heart attack. Yet the story ultimately took a miraculous turn for the better, as Tina somehow woke up after being technically dead for close to half an hour.
And the chain of events that led to Tina writing that spine-chilling note began on February 12, 2018. “It was just like any normal Monday,” Brian told Phoenix’s American Heart Association. That day, the couple had been out for a hike before Jeff called in to see them. Then, shortly after the Hines’ friend had arrived at their home, disaster struck.
“When I got [to the Hines’ place], Tina and I were standing shoulder to shoulder one second,” Jeff later recalled. “The next second, Tina had fallen virtually straight face-forward into the rocks.” Realizing that something was seriously wrong, he thus yelled out to Brian to call 911.
Given that Tina had appeared in good health mere moments earlier, Brian was at first confused by Jeff’s demand. When the dad of four saw his wife on the ground, though, he knew that her condition had taken a serious nosedive. And with Tina’s life seemingly hanging in the balance, Brian duly called for the emergency services.
From what he could see, moreover, Brian believed that Tina was having a heart attack. More worryingly still, she had passed out, while her breathing appeared to have halted. As a result, then, Brian was instructed to lie Tina on her back so that he or Jeff could carry out CPR. And together, the two men battled to keep Tina alive until first responders arrived to take over.
In particular, the emergency call handler told Brian that Tina needed chest compressions. Describing what happened next, Brian said to Phoenix’s American Heart Association, “Jeff, immediately – because I’m talking to the 911 operator – he started pushing down on [Tina’s] chest. Neither one of us had had any kind of training at all.”
Given the physical exertion that CPR can require, however, Jeff soon tired. Ultimately, then, it fell to a distraught Brian to save Tina’s life. “She was Superwoman,” Brian stated. “Here was the girl that I’d known for 30-plus years, that’s worked out every day to not have this happen. And here she is dying… I was just pushing as hard as I could.”
Yes, during the ordeal, Brian had truly believed that Tina was losing her life. And as he spoke to Good Morning Arizona mere months after his wife’s heart attack, it appeared that he was still haunted by what he’d seen that day. “[Tina’s] eyelids didn’t close,” Brian explained during the May 2018 interview. “Her eyelids were open, and her eyes were rolled back into the top of her head.”
Then, once the fire service personnel arrived at the scene, they took Brian’s place. Now all the concerned husband could do was watch on as a firefighter tried to save Tina’s life. In all, the crew gave Tina five electric shocks on the way to the hospital in a desperate bid to kick-start her heart.
However, according to firefighter Joe Sandman, it was Brian’s actions that had prevented Tina from dying on the sidewalk outside of her home. Sandman told Phoenix’s American Heart Association, “What Tina’s husband Brian did prior to our arrival – continuous chest compressions before we got there – is what saved his wife’s life.”
But while Tina would survive her ordeal, things seemed touch and go for a while. By the time she was loaded onto an ambulance, in fact, she still hadn’t responded – meaning Brian had to come to terms with the fact that his beloved wife might not make it. And in that desperate moment, the husband and father turned to God.
Recalling his prayers, Brian claimed that he’d tried to make a deal with God. “I told God if he gave me Tina back, then he could take anything else,” Brian said. “He could take all our cars, he could take all my stuff. I don’t need that stuff – I needed Tina.”
And it seems that Brian’s prayers may have paid off. After he had arrived at the hospital, you see, a doctor told him that his wife was alive. For Brian, then, Tina’s survival was nothing short of a miracle; indeed, he truly believed that God had granted him his wish. But while his wife was unconscious, she had apparently witnessed something that she went on to report to her spouse.
As Tina laid lifeless for 27 minutes, she believes that she had a so-called “afterlife experience.” And the Arizona mom isn’t the first person to claim to have seen something beyond this realm while on the cusp of death. Some individuals who’ve since been brought back to life have reported observing bright lights or frightening creatures during their periods of unconsciousness, for example.
And given that no one knows what happens to us when we leave this world, afterlife experiences are understandably the subject of much fascination. In fact, there’s even a Near Death Experience Research Foundation. This organization gathers testimonies from people around the globe who’ve all been back from the brink in a bid to understand more about what might happen to us when we die.
The Near Death Experience Research Foundation’s website is filled, then, with amazing stories that may offer an insight into what’s in store when we pass away. And while some accounts are pretty unsettling, many people who have had visions during their near-death experiences have actually reported feeling relaxed and tranquil while they basked in a brilliant light.
A man going by the name of Richard L, for example, claimed that he had felt calm when coming close to death following a seizure. In his testimony to the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, he said, “I felt no pain. I felt an unending love and a sense of peace as I kept floating towards the light.”
Similarly, heart attack survivor Heidi C described seeing “the most beautiful white, golden light.” She added, “There are no words to really express or articulate how I felt or to describe the beautiful light and warmth that I was bathed in. The colors and feelings were a million times magnified.”
So, as Tina was revived time and time again by emergency services, little did her distraught husband Brian know that she too was having one of these afterlife experiences. The first he would learn of the matter, in fact, was when Tina came round and was seemingly in a hurry to pass on a message to her surrounding family members.
Incapable of being able to voice her thoughts out loud, an intubated Tina was handed a pen and paper to help her communicate. Then, in an almost unintelligible scrawl, she simply wrote, “It’s real.” Confused, her family members asked Tina what she was referring to. And in response, she pointed upwards, signifying heaven, as the emotion of the occasion overcame her.
Tina later divulged more details of her afterlife experience in a 2018 interview with Good Morning Arizona. There, she claimed that she’d seen Jesus next to some black gates that themselves led to a beaming, yellow light. Tina added of the vision, “It was so real; the colors were so vibrant.”
And for Tina, there’s little doubt that what she saw that day was a little piece of heaven. Referring to the number of times she was resuscitated following her heart attack, she continued, “From what the paramedics shared with us… truly, I died five times and came back.”
Like many other accounts of afterlife experiences, Tina’s also includes light. “It was bright yellow, so it was almost like that vision of a sun,” she told Good Morning Arizona. And it was within those golden rays that Tina claims Jesus had stood.
Furthermore, Tina’s vision has made both her and Brian convinced that it was God’s will to save her. And the couple have discovered a new appreciation of life as a result. “I am just so thankful that he didn’t take you right then, right now [and] that you got to stay and still be my wife,” Brian told Tina during the Good Morning Arizona interview. “So, I celebrate every day.”
That isn’t the only way in which Tina and Brian’s lives have changed in the wake of the heart attack, either; now, both are also spokespeople for the American Heart Association. And if that wasn’t enough, the couple have found viral fame, too, as a consequence of Tina’s apparent afterlife experience.
Tina and Brian’s story hit social media after their niece Maddie Johnson had a copy of Tina’s “it’s real” scribble tattooed on her wrist. Then, in June 2019, Maddie posted a picture of the spiritual inking on Instagram. And alongside the snap, she revealed the meaning behind the tat.
In the accompanying caption on Instagram, Maddie wrote, “[Tina’s] story is too real not to share and has given me a stronger confidence in a faith that so often goes unseen. It has given me a tangibleness to an eternal hope that is not too far away. I love you @_tinahines! The way you boldly love Jesus and others has changed the way I hope to live and love.”
That said, Maddie hasn’t been the only person eager to spread the word about what had Tina had apparently seen. You see, the mom of four herself has opened up about her afterlife experience, even telling her story at Arizona’s Reunion Community Church. And it was there that Tina revealed she was thankful for what had happened.
While addressing the church congregation, Tina explained, “I got to be able to talk about seeing the face of Jesus… I see it as such a beautiful, incredible gift. Where Brian sees it as just an unbelievable, incredible gift that I’m still here, I see it as a gift in a different way, in that I got to literally see Jesus face to face.”
Meanwhile, Brian has spoken about his take on events in his interview with Phoenix’s American Heart Association. “I know that God, the God that I believe, touched [Tina’s] heart and allowed her to come back,” the dad said. “[He] had heard my plea and had done a miracle in not only letting me have her back but letting me have her back whole.”
Nevertheless, despite their bolstered faith in God, Tina and Brian acknowledged that others had also helped in the bid to save Tina’s life. Consequently, then, the couple made sure to visit the 911 call handler as well as the firefighters who’d assisted them on that fateful day, as they deemed it important to thank each individual in person.
And at least one member of the emergency crew who helped Tina after her heart attack also believed that a higher power had intervened to ensure her survival. “It’s one of those calls that none of us will ever forget,” one of the firefighters told Good Morning Arizona. “I was a witness to a miracle, is the way I look at it.”
Yet for Tina, at least, there was one more person to whom she had to pay tribute for saving her life: her husband of three decades. After all, it was Brian who had administered the CPR that had kept Tina’s heart moving. His grateful wife told Phoenix’s American Heart Association, “In those few moments, if I was on my own, everything could have been different.”
Yes, a near-death experience like Tina’s can give someone an overwhelming feeling of gratitude or even a whole new outlook on life. Take little Abby Furco’s parents, for instance, whose worlds changed forever when doctors gave their daughter just 48 hours to live. But just as the girl was on the brink, she suddenly shared a spine-chilling message – much like Tina did.