People Who Have Actually Died Talk About What It Was Like.

I got stung by a nest of wasps right next door to my house. They stung me all over my head, neck, and behind my ears. The doctor counted 39 stings in all.

The nest was on the door of a garage I had just come out of and bumped. I ran away as fast as I could. When I got home, I told my mom I got stung by some bees, but I thought I was okay.

She didn't seem too worried. I decided to go take a shower.

In the shower, I began feeling dizzy and my back started hurting.

I quickly turned the shower off. As I put my clothes on, I began feeling dizzier and dizzier. When I came out of the bathroom my mom looked at me with horror on her face. She told me to get in the car immediately. 

My face and head had swollen grotesquely. We lived just around the corner from the hospital, so she just drove me there.

Between my house and the hospital, I started losing consciousness. Everything I saw had a yellowy tinge, and I suddenly felt very heavy and tired. My breathing became very labored, but I sort of of didn't care. I felt like I was slipping away into sleep.

At some point, we all have to confront our mortality. Whether or not you believe that anything lies beyond, you may be interested to hear from Redditors who have actually shuffled of the mortal coil - and returned to tell their tales. 

Note: some readers may find this content disturbing, as it deals with themes of death and dying. 

You remember old TVs? When they were turned off, the screen would be engulfed in black and the light shrank down into a pinpoint before disappearing. My vision slowly started feeling like it was doing that. 

I remember arriving at the hospital. They didn't even bother with registration; they threw me right on a gurney. As they pushed me away, I remember closing my eyes and thinking, "I guess whatever happens..." And then nothing. 

It was just like going to sleep when you're super exhausted. I felt kind of peaceful. I wasn't really thinking about anything at all. The lights just went out.

Some minutes later, I opened my eyes and a very large man was staring down at me, smiling. He said, You're gonna feel completely fine within a couple of hours. The bad news is you probably won't even get out of going to school tomorrow."

He was right.


I was 15, and I had been through about 3-4 months of chemotherapy. I'd had a nosebleed on and off throughout the day, and then after I went to bed it just kept on going. I couldn't sleep. I  just had to keep lying there, mopping my nose and sneezing out blood clots. At about 2am I started to feel sick so I reached for the container (I always had one by my bed because the meds I was on gave me really bad morning sickness) and threw up. 

After that I only remember what happened in short bursts. (continued...)

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I think my mum had gone to the bathroom, but I managed to hit the wall loud enough for her to hear. She came, in and there was blood coming out my nose and mouth. Then I remember a paramedic being there, trying to help me out of the bed. I must've collapsed against the wall after that, because the next time I came round I was strapped to a stretcher and they were taking me downstairs.

Then I was in the hospital, surrounded by about 6 doctors with these huge lights pointed right at me. It was to try and keep me warm because I'd lost so much blood. I could feel myself sweating but I was still cold. It was a weird feeling.

The worst part of it all, looking back, is how peaceful it can seem. When I started vomiting, I went into shock. Hitting the wall to get my mums attention was a subconscious thing, the rest of me just... stopped caring. 

When the doctors were trying to save my life, I just wanted to black out again. I didn't want the lights to hurt my eyes and the doctors to hurt the rest of me any more. The unconsciousness seemed easier. And that's how it felt when I was in the ICU for a few weeks after that, slipping in and out of life. Being asleep was easy; being awake meant more pain and less dignity.

So if you want to know what it's like to be that close to death, it's tempting. It's like wanting to hit the snooze button on your alarm at 7am.


I went to the dentist feeling fine. When it was over, I was happy that I finally got the work done that I needed. I went out shopping with my mom and had a lovely time.

Around 7PM I started feeling dizzy. I had just flown in from Japan, so I assumed it was just jetlag and fell asleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a 42C fever and I couldn't even lift my head high enough to puke on the floor.

I tried to yell out to my mother, but I didn't even have the strength to do that. Luckily, the sound of me being sick was enough to wake her up.

My mother carried me to the car and drove me to the emergency room.

Once arrived at the hospital I was put on the most uncomfortable bed ever and drifted off. I couldn't stay awake. That's when I saw nurses and doctors around me injecting me with things and shouting. (continued...)

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I remember thinking that it must be serious if a doctor was shouting, as they usually don't show panic. I was lucid enough to laugh internally thinking, "Wow, I must be really sick if I don't even freak out over all of these injections.

And then it happened. I saw my mom crying and I thought "Holy crap… this must be for real."

As soon as I thought that, I fell asleep. I say asleep, but I actually died for exactly 2 minutes. It really feels like falling asleep, but for me it was beyond peaceful. It felt like you didn't really have to worry about anything anymore and obviously in my case - I didn't feel sick anymore.

I woke up seven days later in the hospital. It took me another seven to start eating and they told me that I more than likely got sepsis from infected tools at the dentists office.

The scariest part was after that happened - I no longer feared dying. So I consciously try to pull myself out of a depression whenever I feel it coming.

But for anyone is scared that their loved one felt pain in death, I can honestly say that it's a very peaceful feeling.


I had a heart attack last year and my heart stopped 3 times in the ER. Apparently, each time they shocked me back I "woke up" (at least thats how it felt) and told the staff a different knock-knock joke each time.

I didnt see lights or anything. It just felt like sleep.


I drowned in a pool when I was 5. I remember looking up and seeing my mother dismissing the lifeguard because I was "only playing" and his legs starting to break through the water because he knew better. Then I blacked out.

There was nothing between that moment and me throwing up water after he pulled me out of the pool. 

I can still remember with absolute clarity how the water made everything shimmer as I was looking up. Sometimes I see it as I'm walking around outside or if the light is really bright. And I can't help but wonder in those moments if my entire life - my successes and failures, falling in love with a woman and having two children with her, her cheating on me - if everything for the last 30 years is all just inside my head during the last few moments before I die in that pool.


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I was in a serious car accident a week before my high school graduation. Without going into all the gory details, I lost so much blood that they declared me dead. 

Although I do not remember much between the rescue workers extracting me from my car and a tree and waking up three weeks later, I do remember feeling very warm and seeing lights. 

I've always believed it was due to medications and moving between areas with different lighting, but I'm open to otherworldly suggestions.


Two months ago, I overdosed on anesthesia in an oral surgeons office. I was dead for under a minute.

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 that nothingness is comforting or terrifying.


I was 16 years old and encountered tachycardia for the first time. I went to the ER with my mom, not really thinking it was a big deal. There were hardly any symptoms aside from high heart rate. I didn't realize how serious the situation was until two cardiologists and several nurses rushed me to what looked like an operating room.

Again, I didn't really know the full extent of what was happening. I felt pretty normal and never had a history of heart issues until then. However, my mom worked in the medical field for several decades and I could see the utter fear and concern on her face.

Fast forward to the doctors trying to slow my heart down. It turns out they couldn't. The last resort is some drug that essentially stops your heart and resets it at a normal beat. Right as they're giving me the drug, they warn me I might feel a heavy weight on my chest.

What an understatement. (continued...)

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It felt like someone was squeezing all the air and life out of me, bit by bit. Eventually, the room went black and a feeling of peace came over me. I didn't see anything good or bad, just emptiness.

When I awoke, I assumed only a few seconds had passed. Instead, the drug caused my heart to stop for 10 minutes or so and the doctors were trying to revive me, assuming I was dead given the flat line.

I'm 27 now, and two years ago I had a second episode. Luckily, when they gave me the drug for the second time I didn't pass out. I was forcing myself to stay awake. I didn't want to die again.


There was complete peace and serenity. It cannot be put into words. I felt something, maybe a being, guiding me with the purest and strongest love. I was about 10 at the time. 

Bizarrely, dying felt amazing. I know this sounds like so many other experiences, but it's true.

A few years ago I was put under for a biopsy. That feeling was truly odd, and felt a lot more like death should have. It was just lights out with no concept of time. It could have been out a minute or a year and I wouldn't have known the difference.


It was a really bad car accident where I went through the windshield. I was fading in and out as I heard the scene of EMTs and police around me become more and more chaotic.  

Then everything started sounding far away, and I felt like I was disappearing. Then all these regrets (right down to not wearing a seatbelt that night) crashed through my mind. There were probably hundreds, but only a few really stick out now. Then I "woke up" in the ambulance.

That montage of regrets was kind of a turning point for me.


I was 6 or 7 years old when I got infected by an aggressive strain of Salmonella. It was a painful, horrible experience. After 2 days with a very high fever, my vision began to blur. Suddenly, everything went black. 

I could hear my parents and the doctor's voice saying that I wasn't going to make it. I heard cries and something like a rattling, metallic sound.

And then I stopped hearing their voices.

After a while, it felt like I was in a dark room and my eyes had started to become used to the lack of light, because I started to see some shapes again. I could see the bed, the pillows ... And a girl, who was sitting in the bed, a few inches in front of me. (continued...)

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I heard her voice. She told me that she came from a faraway land, filled with wonders and amazing things, and that I belonged there.

Then I started shaking uncontrollably. I threw - and woke - up at the same time.

Everyone was convinced that I was going to die. My parents threw a party for me, with a priest and paper skeletons that posed as guests. (I'm Mexican, and the Day of the Dead is my favorite holiday). But I was feeling better.

Within a week, I recovered, but the fever was so high that I lost my hair. A month later, it started growing back, but it wasn't curly anymore. From that day on, my hair was straight.

Some time later, I told my parents about the strange dream that I had while I was sick, and they told me that, for a moment, I had gone completely limp and my skin started to get very pale. Even the doctor believed that I wasn't going to wake up. Then suddenly, I started moving again.

She told me that maybe the girl I saw in my dreams was Death, and somehow she allowed me to live in exchange for my hair.


It was like turning off a TV. One second things were working fine; the next moment Im waking up surrounded by doctors and nurses with my feet in the air and a unit of blood being shot into me at high speed.

"Heeeyyyyy budddyyyy. How ya feeling? We lost you for a minute there."


My ex-husband had a seizure and stopped breathing. I tried CPR, but couldn't get his airway clear since he was in full seize with teeth clinched and all. I turned him on his side and started screaming at him to come back. After almost two minutes, he gasped for breath and woke up. The entire episode lasted about 5 minutes. 

He was extremely tired and could not talk about it immediately afterward. He slept for 12 hours straight, and I watched him like a hawk for every minute of it.

When he could talk again, I asked him what he had experienced. He said that he was moving toward a light in a tunnel. It was warm, but there was a cool breeze coming through it. He said it was very pleasant and relaxing. As he moved through it he saw his Grandmother, Grandfather and some other relatives that he recognized from pictures he had seen

Then suddenly he said he heard this crazy screaming woman yelling dont you dare leave me! Come back here! and he felt like someone grabbed him by the back of his collar and snatched him away from the light. Then he woke up.

Later he said that he no longer was afraid of death, and that the experience changed his perspective.

Toni Colley-Lee

Sources: 1, 2

Edited for clarity. 

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