Don Piper is author of “90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life,” which tells the story of his death, his journey to heaven, and his return to life. In 1989, his car was hit by a truck on a bridge and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The book, first published in 2004, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Piper was in Grand Rapids recently and talked about his journey and the book, which comes out in July.
WMCN: What made you decide to write “90 Minutes in Heaven” in the first place?
DP: Maybe 18 to 24 months after the accident a friend said, “You look good.” I said, “Compared to what? If you’d seen what I’ve seen, you’d know that this isn’t looking good.” Then I told him about heaven. He responded with “I knew you’d seen something!” I, literally, didn’t have the words to talk about it. I told another friend who wanted to know why I hadn’t told anyone. When I told my wife, she was just happy to have an explanation of why I was acting the way I did. I thought about heaven all the time. I still do. People encouraged me to write about my visit to heaven so I did, 14 years after the event.
WMCN: What question do you hear the most as you speak around the country about your experiences?
DP: People always ask me whether their loved ones miss them. And I always say, “No, they expect you.” There is no time in heaven, so 25 years is nothing. The people already there are expecting their loves ones to arrive.
WMCN: Do people believe your story of being in heaven for 90 minutes before returning to this world?