He says he knows heaven is real, because he’s been there, after his heart stopped beating in October.
“I talked to my doctor this week and he told me I had less than a 2 percent chance of making it,” Trahan said earlier this month. “He told me he basically worked on me for 45 minutes to an hour. He was just working on a corpse.
“I was gone.”
Something told his doctor to keep working.
“I really want to ask him what possessed him to keep on working,” Trahan said.
It was during that time, though, that Trahan, 45, began the trip that changed his life.
“Before they got me to the hospital I remember looking down and thinking, man, I’m dying,” Trahan said. “I was trying to breathe, but I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe I’m dying.’ I can tell you one thing about dying. You look at a person who is dying and you think that person is in a lot of pain. They’re not.
“The last breath you take, that’s it. The pain, everything stops.”
Trahan remembers vividly what happened next.
“I see myself floating up,” Trahan said. “I asked God, ‘please don’t let me die like this in front of my kids.’ They were outside crying. I found out later that my mom (Jani Escort) called everyone she knows and they had a big prayer line going on outside the house.”
As paramedics transported Trahan’s body to Abbeville General Hospital, he said his soul continued its journey.
“Somewhere between here and the hospital,” Trahan recalled, “I remember a big, tall angel, about 20 feet, with a sword. And there were a bunch of people dressed in black with crosses on their backs. They were all in a circle going counter-clockwise, going up and up.
“I was in the circle and I just floated up.”
As for the bright light often described, Trahan saw it.
“It was like a bright, bright sun,” Trahan said. “When it’s a beautiful day and you look at the sun, you can’t look at it very long.
“When I got to Heaven it was the same way but I could actually look at it. It was bright and it was peaceful.”
Trahan noticed a structure.
“I saw a house with a steeple going up,” he explained. “Everything was pretty and bright, even the clouds. Everything was just peaceful. I wasn’t scared of anything. I was just happy. Then all of a sudden the roof on the building opened up and a big angel came out.
“I was just a little light, but I was happy where I was. And then I shot straight down.”
After efforts to save him by firemen, paramedics and doctors at AGH and the Heart Hospital in Lafayette, Trahan woke up.
“My wife told me that when I woke up in the hospital, I was real mad,” Trahan said. “The only reason for that I can figure is that, when you are up there, you’re in your regular spirit and you’re just so happy.
“I asked the Lord to bring me back and he did, but I guess I didn’t know what I was asking for.”
Trahan said he realized shortly after exactly why he asked God to bring him back.
“It’s give and take,” Trahan said of coming back from a place he remembers so fondly. “I couldn’t see my kids and wife trying to go on as a family without me.”
That family includes his wife of six years, Cathy, and their two children, Ronnie, 11, and Charity, 7, as well as Andy and Keri, Cathy’s children from a prior marriage and with whom Trahan said he is close. His heart stopped two months before Christmas Eve. It started again, allowing him to be with that family for Christmas.
“It’s going to be a good Christmas,” Trahan said with a fitting smile.
Trahan’s journey has brought him much, among those things a perspective he may have never found without crossing over.
“I’ve always been kind of religious,” Trahan said. “After my surgery in January, I shut down drinking completely, but before that I liked to drink and have fun. I joked with my wife that my next wife is going to be a drinking woman who likes to party. She told me her next husband is going to be a God-fearing man. She got what she wanted.
“I used to live one leg in and one leg out when it came to religion. Now I’m in with my whole body.”
That body has let him down. Prior to his October experience, Trahan had a heart attack and double by-pass last January. Nine years ago he found more than 90 percent blockage in his main artery, something he said likely came as result of always being on the road for work and eating bad food. He has a scar on his nose as a result of being attacked with a knife years ago. Such instances could create bitterness, which Trahan admitted he has felt for several reasons. He said he will never again carry such feelings.
“The best way I think you make it to Heaven is through forgiveness,” Trahan said. “You’ve got to be able to forgive. I had to forgive a lot of people. When I had my first heart attack, forgiveness started gradually coming. Now, I have no hatred for anyone. I love more than I have ever loved before.
“And I’m grateful for people.”
Among them are the eight men, fireman and paramedics, who first arrived at the scene. Trahan did not know Acadian Ambulance medics Ed Burleigh and Mark Lege, or Abbeville Firemen Kelly Mire, Doris Langlinais Jr., Eric Meaux, Mike Soirez, or Beau Barras before Oct. 24.
“They were all strangers,” Trahan said. “Now we have a bond. I will always be there for them and I know they will be there for me.
“They were there for me that day.”
Mire, the assistant chief in charge the day of the call, commended the effort of all involved.
“The firemen performed flawlessly with everything they have learned,” Mire said during the Abbeville City Council meeting last Tuesday where all parties were recognized. “All the countless hours of training came to that point. We have so many calls where the outcome is completely different.
“We have something here to celebrate.”
The Trahans held a reunion on Nov. 29 with the seven men at the Abbeville Fire Station. Trahan’s children presented men with candy as a thank you. That candy was fittingly Lifesavers...for the “lifesavers.” The Trahans and the men took a photo in front the fire station. That photo now sits in Trahan’s living room.
“These guys right here helped keep me in the game,” Trahan said as he pointed at the picture. “I’m going to cherish this the rest of my life.”
Along with that, Trahan is simply going to cherish life.
“Every morning I’m praying and every night I’m praying,” Trahan said. “I’m glad to be alive.