I have felt my number was up more times than I'd like to admit, and it's often in the midst of a high-powered adventure, when adrenaline is running high. In such situations I tend to focus so hard on the task at hand (i.e. not dying) that there's literally no time to recall stuff.
And that's good this way.
Incredibly, between road accidents and other nasty circumstances, I've actually just blacked out once. I was pretty young - about 12 y.o. - and I slowly saw it coming. It must have been the atmospheric pressure - very hot and close where I was, and, like a snap, it just happened. I remember trying to concentrate to 'not let it overpower me' and not 'let go', but it was of no use.
A few moments later, upon ‘waking up’, and ‘regaining consciousness', someone was trying to feed me salt. I remember being very disorientated and it took me some time to make sense of the surroundings – BUT NO FLASH – NO DREAMS – NO NOTHING… actually, just a wonderful - if not scary - complete absence of any sense of BEING – at all. Very powerful.
Sure, this time my life wasn't really in danger - but I often think that had I gone, I'd simply have had gone, and that was that - as if death was just sleeping without dreaming.
But we look for signs, don’t we? Hollywood productions wired it on us very clearly that that's what is supposed to happen. So we are always on the lookout. I'd actually be interested in knowing whether there are reports of people ‘seeing the light’, or ‘recalling-their-whole-existence-in-a-second’, before Hollywood movies started portraying it, and where/when they started to pop up. But I digress…
In a more recent episode, however, a very close friend of mine nearly drowned a few feet away from where I was. He can't swim but tried his hand at it - and it almost went terribly wrong. After being rescued (by someone else) and settling down, he described - later that night - what happened, from his perspective.
His words will forever live with me.
It was quite peaceful - he said. For the first time in his life he really thought 'that was it', and those were to be his last moments. Actually, so sure was he, he stopped 'fighting it', and just calmly tried to observe what was going on.. he actually waited for signs that his life was ending by waiting for the ‘flash lights’ and a retrospect of his own life to pass. And was quite disappointed they never came. As if his life had been so dull there was nothing worth watching again… good grief!
I think he couldn't quite make out what that all meant, and I thought I'd give him some time to process the event before asking again.
I certainly don’t discredit those who claim having seen it – I just don’t have any first-hand experience of the phenomenon. Or maybe it’s just that my friend and I have no soul – which would be a bit of a bummer, I guess…
In the end, it’s one of those things we will all have to find out for ourselves!