Humans are fascinated by death — and I suspect that a lot of that fascination stems from the fact that most of us just can’t comprehend death in its entirety. Indeed, the answer to the question “What does it feel like to die?” is largely, we don’t really know — mostly because (for what are perhaps obvious reasons) there aren’t a lot of ways we can gather this information. We do have some guesses, though, so we’re not totally in the dark — and we’re still searching whenever and however we can, whether that’s through scientific research or through listening to people recount their first-hand experiences with what death feels like.
We do know what happens to the body when you die: Your oxygen depletes, which slows your circulation, making your skin mottle and your extremities turn cold; it gets harder to breathe, and what breathing you are able to do becomes noisy (although for what it’s worth, the “death rattle,” as it’s called, isn’t thought to be painful); and when your heartbeat, breathing, and circulation stop, clinical death occurs. Biological death follows a few minutes later as your brain cells die from the lack of oxygen.
But as for how it feels? Well, a lot of it depends on exactly how you die — which also affects the knowability of the whole thing. People who die from illness, for example, aren’t typically able to describe what they’re feeling; as Margaret Campbell, a decades-long palliative caregiver and nursing professor at Wayne State University told The Atlantic in 2016, “Roughly from the last two weeks until the last breath, somewhere in that interval, people become too sick, or too drowsy, or too unconscious to tell us what they’re experiencing.” As a result, much of the talk around death in these situations centers around what those observing it see, rather than what those experiencing it feel.
We can, however, sketch out a few things that people might feel as they die, based both on the research that’s been conductedand what people who have technically died, but who have subsequently been resuscitated can tell us about what they remember. Ultimately, death — like so many other things — is an extremely personal event; you might experience some of these things, all of them, or none at all.
An AskReddit thread called for people who have been clinically dead to describe what they felt during their experience — and, indeed, this lines up with some of the research on the matter. A study published in 2014 examined the dreams of people in hospice who were near death, and the overwhelming majority — about 88 percent — reported having extremely vivid dreams that sometimes even carried over into their waking hours. Furthermore, a lot of these dreams and visions featured loved ones who had already died. In many cases, they were comforting, rather than frightening.
This is where the manner of death comes into play: If you experience something like a traumatic physical injury or an allergic reaction, it might be painful, as this Redditor noted in that same AskReddit thread. I can think of fewer ways to die that are more frightening to me than suffocating, largely because of the pain factor that’s likely involved.
I also think this piece from San Francisco writer and activist Cris Gutierrez is worth reading, although fair warning that it’s quite harrowing. Gutierrez died of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 4, 2013 — and she wrote about it as it happened. This piece is the result. She wrote of the pain that has resulted from areas of her body shutting down from the cancer, or from complications from it; she wrote of the mental frustration of not being able to do all of the things she wanted to do; but she also wrote, “But for myself, tragedy, anguish — these have no room, in my heart. I just want to die in not too much pain, surrounded by the ones I love. I want to help them find what peace they can in the time remaining. And if you want to give me a special going away present, spread the word about the BCRA gene. Save some lives.” Food for thought.According to the Bible, death is not the end of life but the separation of the soul from the body. Scripture clearly speaks of both eternal life with God in heaven and eternal separation from God in hell.
Death is the result of sin. Romans 6:23 directly states, 'For the wages of sin is death.' Every person dies physically, because all have sinned (Romans 5:12). Following death is a time of reckoning: 'it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment' (Hebrews 9:27). Thus, there is no reincarnation as taught in Eastern religions. Death entered the world with Adam's sin (Romans 5:12), as shown in the fact that Adam died (Genesis 5:5).
- This causes a “death” rattle, or the gurgling or rattle-like sound of someone dying. 17 Soon after death, a person’s eyeballs flatten due to the loss of blood pressure. 17 Between 1 to 9 minutes after death, a person’s pupils begin to dilate and cloud over. The cloudy look is from the potassium in the red blood cells breaking down.
- Death is the permanent, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Brain death is sometimes used as a legal definition of death. The remains of a previously living organism normally begin to decompose shortly after death.
- Quotes tagged as 'death' Showing 1-30 of 15,928. “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”. “I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”. “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source.
Death - Death - The meaning of death: This subject can be approached from a variety of perspectives. It can, for example, be viewed historically, in terms of how popular perceptions of death have been reflected in poetry, literature, legend, or pictorial art. Illustrations of those killed in battle and of their severed parts find particular prominence in ancient Egyptian art. The campaign of. In this essay, I reflect on the challenges faced by professors teaching Jewish studies in a Catholic university system. The essay records my experiences teaching two courses, “Judaism and the Holocaust” and “American Judaism: Thought and Culture,” at Santa Clara University as an adjunct lecturer during the academic year 1994‐95.Even Jesus endured physical death (Matthew 27:50), making Him like all other humans. The difference was that Jesus had no sin and therefore did not deserve death. Jesus defeated death through His resurrection on the third day, proving Himself to be the Savior (1 Corinthians 15:3-11). Because of Christ's work, death has been defeated, and the Christian can ask, 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' (1 Corinthians 15:55).
The Bible also speaks of spiritual death, the state of being separated from God. People can be alive physically yet dead spiritually. The solution to spiritual death is to be born again. Jesus spoke of the necessity of the new birth in John 3 and offered eternal life to those who believe: 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16).
Death In ParadiseThose who trust Christ for salvation have been set free 'from the law of sin and death' (Romans 8:2). Death has been defeated in the life of the believer. The Christian lives in confident anticipation of eternal life: 'We know that we have passed out of death into life' (1 John 3:14).
So, our gracious God has exchanged our spiritual death for eternal life. Romans 6:13 says, 'present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.'
The New Testament often refers to the believer's death as 'sleep.' For this reason, early Christians called their burial places 'cemeteries' (Greek koimeteria) which literally meant 'dormitories' or 'sleeping places.' First Thessalonians 5:9-10 teaches, 'For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him' (see also 1 Corinthians 15:51). Christ has defeated death, and so Christians 'sleep' upon the end of this life. They truly 'rest in peace.'
While a believer's body is in the grave, awaiting resurrection, his spirit is in the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). An unbeliever, on the other hand, dies twice: at physical death, his body is interred, and what follows is an eternal separation from God, called 'the second death' in Revelation 21:8. How different from the eternal destiny of those in Christ! Philippians 3:20-21 says, 'our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body.'