Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Senator Mark Kirk Heard Angels

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The junior senator from Illinois describes his experience flirting with the afterlife following a debilitating stroke. (Published Monday, Jan 7, 2013)

    Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, 52, lost consciousness when he suffered a debilitating stroke in late January 2012, he also had a near death experience, he said.

    There was no white light,  and no tunnel. But there were voices asking him to come with. 

    Doctors told him he would have died without lifesaving surgery that removed a portion of his skull to alleviate brain swelling following the traumatic event. 

    Kirk, who bravely walked up the steps to the Capitol in January 2013, nearly a year since collapsing and losing major portions of his motor functions, said he felt as though he was on the brink after he was rushed to the intensive care unit. 

    "I felt there were three angels in the room," he said during a recent interview with Ward Room. "Interestingly, they had New York accents. Probably because the last movie I had seen was on Channel 11 the original Ocean's Eleven, the brat pack movie."

    "I sort of thought they were there in the ICU ...  they probably had a regular gig there because of the issues," Kirk said. 

    But Kirk wasn't ready to move on from this world, he said. 

    "They said 'look, you want to come with us?' he could come with us' 'do you want to come with us? They introduced themselves: 'look, we're angels here. We weren't really angels down here on earth, and they sort of established that sympatico, and they said, you could come with us if you want.

    I said, no, I'll hold off."

    Now Kirk is back at work in the Senate. He credits the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago with his recovery, and he's not afraid to talk about his angels with New York accents.