Although it's hard to figure out what exactly goes on after someone dies, we can't help but be curious. The few who managed to escape the cruel grasp of death have offered some secrets about what happens when you die.
Granted, some mysteries about this aspect of life are still unsolved.
Based on evidence collected by Dr. Sam Parnia, who has studied near-death experiences for many years, death does not happen instantly as most people think. People who have survived a close brush with death have confirmed this fact.
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence was given by a patient under Parnia's care. The patient remembered things that happened three minutes after the heart stopped, and he could accurately describe what was going on after he apparently died.
According To A Man Who Came Back From The Dead, This Is What Happens When You Die
Back in 1994, Tony Cicoria, an orthopedic surgeon, answered some questions about the transition to the afterlife after a lightning bolt momentarily killed him in New York. The man remembers seeing his own body lying on the ground.
He also remembers seeing a woman perform CPR on his body, then he floated up a flight of stairs and watched his kids playing in their rooms.
From there, he was overwhelmed by a bluish-white light and had a feeling of peace and well-being. His memories, both good and bad, also started to go by.
As he was starting to enjoy everything and felt like he was being drawn up, he was back into his body.
Jane Seymour And Her Experience Of Death
Jane Seymour, an actress, died a little in 1988. She suffered from anaphylactic shock, and even though her body shut down, her mind didn't.
Like Cicoria, she saw herself looking at her body as a nurse tried to save it by injecting drugs into her veins. Even as this happened, Seymour remained calm.
Redditors also came forward and described their near-death experiences on the thread, IDiedForABit. According to one person who bled out during an operation but later recovered, when you die, you float in a peaceful neutral space when you see your life's moments.
Another person remembers a dead brother showing up by their side after a motorcycle accident left him clinically dead to tell him help would arrive soon. The brother had died several years earlier.
Another internet user whose heart had stopped for six minutes but came back after deciding they did not want to abandon their mother. It felt like they had a choice of staying away from their bodies or coming back.
Many patients who survived a near-death experience seemed to have a special kind of awareness even after they were considered clinically dead.
What's more interesting is that many people did not feel interested in returning to their bodies even as doctors struggled to revive them. It is thought that your consciousness, or our souls depending on what you believe, floats off your body when you die.
When You Die, This Is What Happens (According To Science)
Science has also made some observations about what happens to people during their last minutes of life. For instance, breathing gets shallow or deeper, and a rattling or gurgling sound might be involved. The sound is caused by an inability to cough up things in the chest or swallow things stuck in the throat.
This happens because the body is slowly shutting down. This sound has been named "the death rattle."
People also tend to sigh as all the muscles in their bodies relax. This process expels excess air from the lungs and throat, which causes the sigh.
Actually, the entire body relaxes, which is why the jaw may open, and the skin might sag. Bowel movements might also take place.
Brains Can Remain Alive For Up To 10 Minutes After The Heart Stops
Generally, doctors say someone is dead after their heart stops beating. However, the brain apparently goes on for up to 10 minutes afterward.
The body gets the "death chill within an hour of dying," also called algor mortis. This is the process by which it cools down from its average temperature until it attains the temperature of the surroundings.
When you die, livor mortis begins a couple of hours later. During this process, blood accumulates in specific body regions due to gravity, and they start to appear bruised. Meanwhile, other parts of the body begin to look pale. Of course, this happens in cases where the body remains in the same process after the dying process.
From there, rigor mortis begins. During this process, the limps get stiff and attain maximum stiffness. Fingers and toes might seem crooked.
However, after 12 hours, these effects start to wear off due to decay in internal tissues. This process goes on for about one to three days, and bacteria, fungi, and other critters start to invade the body.
As this happens, the skin gets tight and shrinks, making it seem like the nails and hair grow in size. The corpse also appears like it has had blood sucked away from it. This might explain the origin of some vampire stories that were popular in Europe during the Middle Ages.
When you die, the body can twitch hours after death due to muscle reflexes, making it seem like the body is moving. Dead bodies have also been known to create strange and unexpected noises such as squeaking and burping.
The face also tends to look flatter when you die, which is why botox-like fillers might be necessary to make it look more "presentable."
The Sensations That Arise When You Die
According to experts, death often feels like a need to use the restroom. This usually happens when people succumb to heart attacks or blood clots.
However, less sudden death, such as that which comes with age, can feel like depression is taking over. People lose appetite, feel tired, and are drained. As a result, they can talk less, think more slowly, and speak slowly.
Nonetheless, some people get the urge to speak more when they are about to die.
According to doctors, simple activities can seem tedious. For instance, sitting up on the bed can feel incredibly exhausting. Since people in such a state don't have the energy to express their feelings, there are some unanswered questions about this process.
About a day before they die, some people have a burst of energy that allows them to act normal for a short while. They might walk around or talk as they usually do for a little bit.
However, some people get hallucinations and talk to people who are not there. In some cases, the skin can feel cold to the touch when you die.
What Do They Do To Your Body When You Die?
Generally, when you die, the body is embalmed. This process is not new, and it can be traced back to ancient Egyptians. Back then, it was believed that the soul would get back in the corpse later on, which is why the body needed to be preserved.
In the United States, embalming really took off during the Civil War as it allowed time for the fallen soldiers to be taken back to their families for burial.
Today, when you die, you will be taken to a coroner for examination. The organs are removed, examined, and returned to the body.
During the embalming, the fluids in the body are removed and replaced with a preservative such as formaldehyde.
Cotton wool is placed in the throat and nose. Additionally, the mouth is stitched or glued shut. The hair and the nails are also cleaned and cut if necessary. Finally, cosmetics are also applied, and plastic caps are placed under the eyelids to ensure the eyes maintain their shape.
When you die these days, the last step is usually dressing the body and placing it in a coffin, after which it can be buried or cremated depending on the person's or family's wishes.
How Culture Determines What Happens To You When You Die
In some cultures, the dead are not buried soon after death. Apparently, some people can remain with their bodies for several weeks, months, and even years.
For instance, a certain tribe in Indonesia treats the deceased as sick rather than dead for a long time before a funeral is arranged. In fact, even after the body is buried, it is exhumed every three years and cleaned and dressed, then walked around to meet new family members.
When you die, some cultures don't embalm bodies. A good example is the Jewish people, who believe the bodies should be given back to God by burying them. For this reason, the bodies are often naked and wrapped in a cotton sheet then put in plain pine coffins to ensure natural decomposition. Muslims do the same with their dead.
Ancient Egyptians held that the dead had to go through the underworld before finding peace in the afterlife. Therefore, they buried the dead with scrolls that had spells to protect them. Some even drew maps to help the dead make their way through the afterlife.
Therefore death has always been a source of fascination for many cultures throughout the ages, and that's not about to stop any time soon.