SAN ANTONIO - Linda Fair believes she knows what happens after you die.
"I died and it was amazing. I got to see my mom, my dad (who had died) and my husband's dad that had been dead for like 35 years!"
Fair happened to mention that Near-Death Experience when I was asking about all the good work she's done helping children and the elderly. I was there to shoot a story on her winning a Jefferson Award for Public Service.
She won it for making and collecting thousands of blankets, pillows, caps and socks for children at University Hospital and for people in several area nursing homes.
But I found out that all of that started shortly after that brush with death she had while coming out of a routine surgery ten years ago.
"I remember going over the nurses station," Fair says. As for what she saw "it was a green beautiful field with a mountain and all these people. They came to me and they told me it wasn't my time. I had to go back."
"I always believed in God and knew that we would be taken care of. I just didn't know the details of it. But now I got to see the details and I think that's one of the things I'm supposed to tell people is that there is hope."
Fair says her dead parents and the long dead father-in-law she had never met told her she had work to do.
"They were just enjoying... I'm not goning to say being alive because I don't know what state that was. lt was enjoying the life they had, but of the fulfillment, cause everybody was whole again."
I ask whether it felt like she was in heaven. "Yes it did, because it was such a glorious easy feeling. It wasn't like you were flying. the things you hear about the hallways or whatever, not like that at all. It was energy. I was encouragement. You could tell everybody was together. Somebody had to mow that hill. The grass was beautiful on the hill. There was flowers. And they took me over the hill and told me I had work to do. I had to go back."
I ask whether she saw a tunnel or a light, as some describe in near-death experiences. "That's what people ask and no. It was just beauty and serenity. And I was not afraid to stay there or come back. I wasn't afraid either way."
She also said those who have diead are somehow watching us. "My father-in-law, I always felt so sad because he was such an amazing man. (He) never got to see his grandkids. But he showed me this book. You know how cartoons, they go flip, flip, flip. He's been with us... enjoying."
"And he told me he wanted to be called Pappy. And when I came to I told my husband and his mother just how he looked. And that's what they called him was Pappy, and I had no idea. And my dad had been dead for like ten years, his book wasn't as big. But he showed me what he had been watching. My mother didn't have a book. She had only been dead a month."
Fair says her near-death experience helped the family when just a few months later her grandson was seriously injured. He was left in a wheelchair and nearly blind. "And I really think there was a purpose to (the near-death experience) because when all of this happened with him I told my son and daughter-in-law there is nothing... And if I can tell everybody in the world one thing, there's nothing to ever be afraid about.
People are so afraid of this or that. Small potatoes, don't worry about it."
Linda continues her work helping children and the elderly. Before Christmas, she's taking more than a thousand blankets for children to University Hospital.