Death isn’t something we like to think about, but it’s something every one of us will experience. Few thoughts fill us with as much fear and dread. It’s easy to lie awake at night wondering what it will be like. Will it hurt? Will we be scared? Will there be release or just panic and pain?
Until it happens to us, we won’t know what comes after our last breath escapes. But we can get a pretty good idea of every moment leading up to it. There are people who have gone to the brink of death and back and who wrote down every sensation they felt along the way.
1. Grant Allen’s experience
Grant Allen nearly drowned during a skating accident. For a moment, His friends managed to pull him out and bring him back. But until then, Allen was clinically dead.
“The actual dying itself, as dying, is quite painless— as painless as falling asleep,” Allen wrote. “It is only the previous struggle, the sense of its approach, that is at all uncomfortable.”
2. Palliative care Drscription
Understanding death is such an obsession that it has become a science. A whole community of experts has studied it, drawing on each person’s distinct story to try to get the best possible idea of what death will feel like. Their knowledge isn’t firsthand, but it is drawn from the firsthand experiences of people in palliative care.
“First hunger and then thirst are lost,” says Dr. James Hallenbeck. “Speech is lost next, followed by vision. The last senses to go are usually hearing and touch.”
Usually, it doesn’t hurt. When death is slow and natural, the scientists say, there is no distress. Our perception, Dr. David Hui says, gets weaker as we die. “You may or may not even be aware of what’s happening.”
Dr. Jimo Borjigin says that seeing a light is common. “A lot of cardiac arrest survivors describe that during their unconscious period, they have this amazing experience in their brain,” she says. “They see lights, and then they describe the experience as ‘realer than real.’ ”
What comes after that light, though, is the one thing we can’t know. “Most dying people then close their eyes and appear to be asleep,” says Dr. Hallenbeck. “From this point on . . . we can only infer what is actually happening.”
3. Pierre-Jean du Monchaux Dedcription
The oldest description we’ve ever found of a near-death experience was written in the 18th century by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux, a French physician.
He was treating a man with a fever who briefly lost consciousness. Du Monchaux wrote down what the man described.
“He reported having lost all external sensations,” du Monchaux recorded. “He saw such a pure and extreme light that he thought he was in Heaven. He remembered this sensation very well and affirmed that never in all his life had he a nicer moment.”
Du Monchaux had heard of this before. He said that records of these experiences went back at least to the 12th century when a theologian wrote, “At the moment approaching our body and soul dissolution, the latter is lit by a primary light ray.”
Culled from listverse
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