What is it like to die?


A dying person feels cold for a reason

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When a person starts dying, their circulation reduces so it can focus primarily on the body’s internal organs, according to a post by Medical News Today. This process reduces blood flow to the hands, legs, and feet, which is why a person nearing the end of their life often feels cold to the touch, or might complain of feeling cold themselves. 

This change in blood flow can also cause the dying person’s skin to appear yellow, or waxen. The site Live With Care reports that some will also develop what’s referred to as “mottling,” which is a purple or pink pattern forming on the skin. There’s nothing that can be done to stop these changes to the body, but attempts to  make the person more comfortable can be made by adjusting the room’s temperature, or providing extra blankets. Electric blankets are not a recommended remedy, however. The site Senior Safety Advice warns that elderly people have “impaired temperature receptors in their skin or a delayed ability to realize they have gotten overheated,” which can lead to burns. 


9 Death By Drowning Grant Allen

Photo credit: overdrive.com

Grant Allen nearly drowned during a skating accident. For a moment, Allen insists, he was dead. “As far as consciousness goes,” he wrote, “I was then and there dead, and I never expected to be any deader.”

The ice beneath him cracked while he was skating, and Allen fell into the freezing water below. He tried to swim up to the surface but hit his head against the solid ice overhead.

Allen couldn’t think straight. “I was numbed with the cold and stunned with the suddenness of the unexpected dunking,” he wrote. Instead of looking for the hole he’d made, he started bashing his head against the ice, trying to break through.

“I gasped and swallowed a great deal of water. I felt my lungs filling. A moment of suspense, during which I knew perfectly well I was drowning, intervened; and then—I died.”

His life did not flash before his eyes. “On the contrary, I felt only a sense of cold and damp and breathlessness, a fierce wild struggle, a horrible choking sensation, and then it all was over.” 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.”

4 Visions Of Hell Matthew Botsford

Not every vision of the afterlife is so peaceful. Like Moorjani, Matthew Botsford went into a coma and saw what he believes is a glimpse of the other side. But his vision wasn’t quite as cheery.

He had been shot in the back of the head. “I felt a hot, needlelike pierce, excruciatingly painful, for a brief instant at the top of my head,” he said. “Then utter darkness enveloped me as if thick, black ink had been poured over my eyes.”

For the next 27 days, his body was in a coma. But his soul, Botsford believes, was trapped in hell. “Reaching out only proved to me that I was actually contained in some sort of cell,” he said. “Cold permeated to the very marrow of my bones.”

He felt like he was naked, helpless, and surrounded by a demonic presence. “I could feel the actual pressure of evil pressing against my body,” he explained.

Other than the evil, he couldn’t feel much. “There was no breathing,” he said. “There were no thoughts at all. I had no thoughts of anything but hopelessness and dread, doom and gloom.”

The process of putrefaction starts minutes after death

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Mere minutes after a person dies, their body begins the grisly process of putrefaction. A 2015 Guardian article explains in graphic detail that as soon as the heart stops beating, and cells are deprived of oxygen, every element of the body begins to break down, and eventually rot. Enzymes start to digest cell membranes, blood cells spill out and discolor the skin, body temperature continues to drop and rigor mortis sets in. And the process doesn’t stop there. There’s a lot that goes into the whole “ashes to ashes” thing we hear so much about.

Without the immune system working, bacteria found primarily in the gut begins to eat away at the intestines and surrounding tissues. Gas builds up in the body and causes blisters to form until the skin itself slips off in sheets. As things progress, the gasses and liquefied tissue within the body will begin to leak out, usually via the easiest exit point, the anus. 

As the enzymes, bacteria, and gasses do their work, the body turns green, and then purple, and then black. If stored in temperatures of 50 degrees, it will take only four months until the body becomes nothing more than a skeleton. In 100 years, nothing more than dust

About the Author

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Why Create a Bucket List?

If you don’t live your days by goals and plans, chances are that you spend most of your time caught in a flurry of day-to-day activities. Ever felt that your days are passing you by without any tangible output? What did you accomplish in the past month? What are your goals for the next three months? Look at the things that you have been doing and the things that you’re planning to do next — do they mean anything to you if you are to die today? Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important to you so that you can act on them.


Even if you live by goals or to-do lists, they are probably framed within a social context, e.g. performance, career, health. A bucket list opens up the context for your life. It’s a list to identify everything you’ve ever wanted to do, whether it’s big or small, purposeful or random.

It’s just like planning all the highlights for YOUR life. 😀 Even though I already set goals by default, I still found many new things to do while writing on my own list. It was an incredibly insightful exercise. What’s more, coming up with my list gave me new-found enthusiasm knowing what I have planned ahead for my life!

The objective of creating this list isn’t to create some fear-based mentality toward death. I don’t see our existence to be limited to our physical years on Earth — our physical lifespan is but a short speck of our existence in the universe. The whole point of creating a bucket list is to maximize every moment of our existence and live our life to the fullest. It’s a reminder of all the things we want to achieve in our time on Earth so that instead of spending our time on pointless things, we direct it toward things that matter to us.

Reader Success Stories

  • Aether Rose

Oct 6, 2021

    Aether Rose Oct 6, 2021

    “This was very helpful, I didn’t know that dying peacefully was so easy! ”

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