Volume 95, Issue 60

Friday, January 18, 2002
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Pirates hoist the flag of enjoyable theatre

Fresh new eatery sits well

Who's really in Remote Control

Finding life after death

Shits and Giggles

Finding life after death

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff

Jim Chapman died and now he's back with a simple mission – to give you something to live for.

Thanksgiving 1999 wasn't just another excuse to have turkey for Chapman, a local broadcaster and writer. That day could have been the day marked on his headstone, but instead, it's the day his world changed forever.

After suffering a massive heart attack, Jim Chapman was technically dead. In his recently released book, Heart and Soul, he talks about what happened during his "near-death" experience and, of course, what has happened since.

In sharing his experiences, Chapman wants to shed light on death and give others hope. He shares the "lessons learned" – words of wisdom he lives by and offers his readers' consideration.

While one may assume such an experience would result in drastic lifestyle changes, Chapman claims it only put things into perspective.

"I used to fear death," he says. "But, instead of realizing things I need to fix, I just need to focus on the right things."

Ironically enough, Chapman's experience occurred in the midst of what is commonly considered a "mid-life crisis" – the feeling that, upon his 50th birthday, Chapman was faithless and terrified of dying.

In his book, he appeals to an audience who has felt the same way or feared the same things, but also to anyone who has ever wondered about the "world beyond."

"[The book] has only been out since Saturday and already I've had a strong response from people," Chapman says, adding hundreds gathered at the official book launch at Chapters on the weekend.

Heart and Soul diminishes the common assumptions of what constitutes a near-death experience. Chapman admits he too expected to see a "light at the end of the tunnel," but in his writing, recounts how uniquely profound his experience was.

"It's my job to discuss things, to ask questions. Now I can look at things differently. [My death] has affected all aspects of my life," he explains. Heart and Soul seeks to recount the emotional and physical struggles faced by anyone who's ever faced a crisis.

Despite his life-altering experience, Chapman is modest. He does not claim to be a "new man," he only realizes his experience has given him the reason and will to make the most out of his life.

In the book, Chapman writes: "Some people who have had near-death experiences wonder why they were allowed to come back. I did too, but only until I began to comprehend that being shown that glimpse of what lies beyond was the answer to my prayers for understanding about the true meaning of life. And there was little purpose in being granted that knowledge if I wasn't given the opportunity to share it."

Jim Chapman will be at Oxford Books (740 Richmond St.) tomorrow at 1 p.m. for a book signing.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001