The question “What happens after we die?” is one that none of us, religious, agnostic or atheist, have a definitive answer to.
Since the beginning of human history we have contemplated our own mortality, speculating about what might wait for us at the other end.
This week, a Reddit thread emerged that called for the experiences of people who had died and then been revived. Some of the responses might be the closest we can come to really understanding what it feels like to die.
The most overwhelming answer was that “actual death is painless”. Very few people reported to feeling any pain once they had medically been pronounced dead.
"Actual death is painless." Image via iStock.
Two words appeared more than any other in the discussion thread. The first being 'nothing', and the second being 'peace'.
One user retold his experience as such:
Two months ago I was OD'd on anesthesia in an oral surgeons office. Coded in the ER and was dead for under a minute, but fuck it, it counts.
Between me going out and me waking up in the ICU there is nothing. No black void, lost loved ones, messages from the other side. Nothing. Processing it since then, I don't know if there's nothingness is comforting or terrifying.
Another user wrote "It is sad though cause it's nothing... life is smelly and loud and busy and interesting and fun and colorful and death, death is absolute nothingness."
Others didn't interpret it as quite so sad. A number of contributors were comforted by the overwhelming sense of peace. One man wrote:
Without wanting to, all my fear just disappeared in an instant and I had this amazing peace I have never felt before or since. I can't even describe how peaceful it was.
I didn't see my life flash before me, but I did have a memory of a day about a year before where I was just playing in a field with my little boy. I hadn't thought about it before then, but now I kept seeing him, clear as day, laughing in the sun. It was the most vivid, intense memory I've ever had of anything. I was so at peace and that memory made me the weird, peaceful kind of happy, like my work was done. I knew I was about to die and I was totally fine with it.