What happens when you die?
What Happens When You Die? your time has come. You’ve kicked the bucket, cashed in your chips, and you’re pushing up the daisies. In other words, you’ve died, sorry about your loss. Luckily for you, we here at what-ifs are here to guide you through the great beyond. How would you handle dying? What would happen to your body, and what’s on the other side?
This is what if, and here’s what would happen if you died—so bad news. Mr. Grim Reaper has shown up at your door to death or something. He’s come about the reaping. How the heck is you even supposed to process this?
In 1969, psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross conceptualized five stages of dealing with death, a roadmap we still use today. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. But before the Grim Reaper drags you off, let’s make sure you’re dead.
In 1968, a Harvard panel outlined the criteria for what constitutes an individual as dead. These can be divided into two major groups. The cardiopulmonary criteria are when the heart has stopped beating, and the neurological criteria are when the brain no longer functions, a.k.a. brain death.
If you’ve checked off both those boxes, I’ve got some bad news for you. So what’s going to happen to that body of yours well, before you’ve checked off both of those criteria? It’s a gradual physical process that varies in each individual. Let’s say you’re lucky enough not to suffer a fatal accident but die of natural causes instead.
First, you’ll start to feel a coolness in your hands, arms, legs, and feet as your heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively, your skin will become blotchy with a reddish-purple color.
This is called modeling. You’ll be sleeping a lot more and will start to become uncommunicative and unresponsive. Day to day, details will slip. You might not know the day or months or even where you are. This can usually be attributed to chemical imbalances, reduced blood flow to the brain, or a combination of the two.
You’ll stop eating and drinking as time approaches—the theory being that the human body naturally conserves energy for the process of dying. You might start to see some unexplainable things, bright lights, deceased loved ones around this time. But what exactly are you seeing?
What is life after death? Researchers have documented cases of people who survived being medically dead, and they all had similar experiences. They experienced things like a feeling of peace, visions of bright lights and benevolent figures, and relief from physical pain. But are these just hallucinations?
Studies at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital show these visions can help individuals die more peacefully and that they are a means of self-comfort. Is this our body trying to make the experience a little more pleasant? What about documented cases of patients dying on an operating table and claiming to have witnessed the afterlife? These patients provided details of the activity in the room during their time away and said they floated above the table or just hung out in a corner.
Taking in the show. In a 2008 study, 42 percent of cardiac arrest survivors claimed that they had some awareness level as they were being resuscitated. The survivors said they felt that time was speeding up or slowing down.
They also experienced an overall peacefulness and the feeling that they had an out-of-body experience. Some felt joy and even saw a bright light or golden flash. That all sounds nice, except for the fact that an unspecified number of patients reported feeling fear and a sense of drowning. However, there is a theory that you can prepare your body for death.
A University of Wisconsin study theorizes that some monks die in a process called Took Down, yet no physical decomposition begins for more than a week.
This has led to studies on the neuroscience of meditation. These monks enter a state of meditation before they die, providing the brain with extremely low-key maintenance duties to maintain the meditative state. How would the Western perspective of death change if people had a pre-death ritual where they would use decades of meditative training to get into the zone before dying? It’s crazy what your brain will do when faced with death. You know, it’s a lot to fathom, but luckily, our friends, a curiosity stream can help you break it down.
We’ve been glued to the screen watching consciousness with Deepak Chopra and Stuart Haymer. They go over all kinds of stuff, from near-death experiences to quantum entanglement. If you’re as curious as we are, you’re going to love Curiosity Stream. They’ve got thousands of documentaries and non-fiction titles from some of the world’s best filmmakers, including some exclusive originals.
Right now, they’re giving what-if viewers access to the site for free for 30 days after that. It’s just two. Ninety-nine a month or just 1999, a year sign up at Curiosity Stream Dotcom. What if and use the promo code. What if, but you better get to it before death shows up and ruins everything. Let’s face it; we’re all going to die. And judging by various accounts and studies, the experience will be different for every one of us.
As for what lies beyond the veil, it’s still a mystery at this point. Dying sounds like it would be an experience, to say the least. But what if you missed the dead man’s party? What if everyone else died except you? What would life be like if you were the last human on Earth? Well, that’s a story for another.
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