dead person's feet sticking out the end of a gurney
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
June 24, 2024 ·  4 min read

5 People Explain What It Feels Like to Die

The idea of death can illicit a bunch of different feelings in each of us. We may be saddened by missing our loved ones, fearful of how it happens, and maybe curious about what happens next. Our final days have long been a subject for discussion. While the question remains unanswered, there are a few individuals who have come close enough to death to have some experience with the ordeal. Through their stories, we can gain a rare glimpse into the profound sensation of dying. Here, five Redditors recount what it feels like to die, which may alter our perception of this inevitable journey.1

Death and Dying

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Dr. Kathryn Mannix is a palliative care doctor in Newcastle trained in cognitive behavioral therapy.2 She also established the UK’s first clinic completely dedicated to palliative care patients. She notes that “A dying person spends progressively less time awake. What looks like sleep, though, gradually becomes something else: dipping into unconsciousness for increasing periods.” So the idea of one’s life “flashing before their eyes” may be the brain and body slowing things down as death becomes imminent”.

The Cafe Incident

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For one Redditor, death came abruptly and violently when a blood clot in his brain exploded. His skull burst open, and he was pronounced dead. But en route to the hospital, he was revived and shared a vivid account of his experience. “Every memory you’ve ever made in your entire life will rush past you at lightning speed,” he explained. “You get to a point where whatever pain you might be feeling, you don’t feel it anymore,” he said. However, returning to life was a jarring transition, one of the “hardest things [he’s] ever had to deal with.”

Dreaming in Color

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Another person compared their near-death experience to slipping into a dreamlike state. Their heart stopped for a little less than three minutes, but they felt as though they were dreaming for hours. The dream was “bright and colorful”, yet they couldn’t remember any specifics after waking. “It felt peaceful, almost uplifting,” they noted. When they came to, they described the feeling of a gradual reawakening of their senses, like an old machine slowly coming to life. Other than some disorientation and a pounding headache, everything went back to normal.

An Unremarkable Experience

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A third individual from Reddit had a much different encounter than our first two. They said death is a dull, insubstantial experience. “It feels like you fade and slip away,” they said, “you know things were different just moments before, and it’s really hard to put a finger on it.” They described the experience as both surreal and challenging to articulate. “It was like dreaming that you’re awake” and going about daily activities, only to realize that it was all a dream. The return to consciousness was similarly disorienting, though as if everything had changed but only slightly.

Read More: 5 Myths About Dying That Too Many People Believe

A Peaceful Void

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For another, death was like slowly submerging into a peaceful, all-encompassing void. Being dead for four minutes, they described the experience as being suspended in endless, pitch-black nothingness. This person felt a profound sense of peace and oneness, as compared to the chaos they had left behind in life. Even years later, they compared the sensation to “tasting the best cake in the world but never having another bite”. The profound sensation left an impression, making life feel “off” upon returning. They anticipated going back to the abyss when their time came again.

Surviving the Accident

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The fifth and final Reddit retelling comes from someone who experienced multiple heart stoppages after a severe accident. Through pain and chaos, their heart stopped, and each time it did, they entered a state of profound peace. “It was a peace so intense and all-encompassing,” they said, comparing it to what they believe would be being in the presence of God. They also noted that coming back to life was a harsh contrast to the tranquility they had just experienced. This peace is something they continue to carry with them, a memory of what might lie beyond.

A Reassuring Perspective

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While these experiences are all unique, several common themes are notable. Many describe the transition as one of pain or chaos to peace and calm. Whether through memories, a dream, a void, or divine presence, these people found that death was not the terrifying unknown they might have once feared it to be. Instead, it was viewed and felt with tranquility and, in some cases, profound peace. While the experiences obviously vary, the theme of peace does contrast with the fear and pain that people typically associate with death. While Dr. Mannix says, “We have no proven way to investigate what people experience during dying,” these stories give us a look at what death may be like, and to be honest, it doesn’t sound so bad.

Read More: This is the No. 1 Life Regret of Dying Patients According to a Psychology Expert


  1. 5 people explain what it actually feels like to die.” MSN. April 2024.

    Attention: These stories are based on posts found on Reddit. Reddit is a user-generated social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website where registered members submit content to the site and can up or down vote the content. Our staff cannot confirm the accuracy and authenticity of each story.