Tricia Barker offers more than English when it comes to teaching.
One of the founding faculty members of the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus, with a masters degree in fine arts, she is also a published author.
Her true life meeting with death is the story that inspired her book Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation. For those wanting a sneak peek, she'll be a guest on the Dr. Oz Show on Friday, Feb. 15.
"Some of the highest rated television shows on the Dr. Oz Show have been shows that feature near-death experiences. One of the goals of talking publicly about near-death experiences is to bring more peace to those who fear death, or are deeply grieving the loss of a loved one.," Barker said. "These stories offer many people great comfort and hope. They remind us of essential truths about life, such as the importance of spreading love and goodness in our world."
Barker, now 47, was in a car accident in 1994 at age 22 while a senior at the University of Texas in Austin. Her injuries required spinal surgery and she experience a major loss of blood from internal injuries. While on the operating table, she passed away for almost three minutes, she said.
She also said she saw angels and briefly met God, who told her she was returning to earth to become a teacher and help young people. So, following almost a year of rehabilitation to learn to walk again, she finished college.
Barker said her story has many themes beyond the near-death experience that connect with a variety of students entering college.
"I grew up poor and survived child abuse, stalking, and sexual assault," she said. "Because of my profound near-death experience, I learned a lot about how to heal myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This knowledge can inspire and motivate countless students to heal from trauma in their own lives and succeed at the college level and in the workforce.
"Additionally, there are very few writers who have written about having a stalker, but I was willing to take this risk so that more attention might be given to this subject matter. Of course, I changed the names and locations in my memoir, but my desire is that my story will inspire others to never let a stalker diminish one’s power and voice in society."
Barker also has told her story in numerous interviews and previous TV appearances. She has been featured on A&E’s "I Survived: Beyond and Back" and she's been covered by "National Geographic."
A brief synopsis of the book online at simonandschuster.com describes her story as such:
"Tricia Barker was a depressed, agnostic college student at The University of Texas in Austin...until a profound near-death experience (NDE) during surgery revolutionizes her entire world. As she learns to walk again, Tricia lets go of painful wounds from childhood and integrates some of the aftereffects of her spiritual journey into her daily life. She returns to college with renewed vigor, intending to embark on a new path by becoming an English teacher.”
Barker has also been at work co-writing a screenplay for her book with her friend, Hallmark Channel writer Chris Brethwaite. Additionally, she is working on a motivational themed nonfiction book to help students succeed in college.
"We would love to see a full-length feature film made from the story," she said of the screenplay. "I also will continue to write poetry, and I plan to finish a young adult novel that I started many years ago."
"Angels in the OR" can be pre-ordered now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other outlets. The e-book will be available on April 16. Audible has also purchased the rights and translators are negotiating with her publisher, she said.
Here is a link for the book, https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Angels-in-the-OR/Tricia-Barker/9781642931594. Her web site link is https://triciabarkernde.com/