All right, so today's the day, and I thought I'd answer a few questions about how death feels. Not how you feel after dying, but how the process feels. This is answered with a scientifical point of view, not any religious points of view (as you remember, I'm an atheist). There are many ways you feel while you die, I'm going to mention a few variations...
So, you guys know how this goes. You fall into the water, you start trying to climb an invisible ladder, and you go down, slowly, surely, to stay there in your watery tomb. So, how does that feel? At first, when the water enters your lungs, you'll feel a burning sensation, as if your lungs are on fire. This is worse if the water is cold. After a small while, that turns into tranquility, not because some holy hand is reaching down on you... It's from the loss of consciousness, from lack of oxygen.
Now, this one... this one's taken some people dear to me. I think that after reading this, they'll find out why the deceased had a very serene face in the funeral. Movies have over-dramatized this form of passing away, so here's how it really is. The victim starts having a mild discomfort in the chest, a sort of tightness, if you may. Victims describe it as an "elephant on their chests", which is the result of the heart struggling from lack of blood.
Some victims delay assistance, because they're not sure if they're having a heart attack, and some even deny it, because they think they have a cold. Denial does cost lives. People who get assistance can survive 30 more days if they get to the hospital on time. Aside from that, not much pain is felt, just a lack of energy, and then there's sudden brain death.
Sometimes it's quick, sometimes it takes a while. Death is quicker if the major arteries are severed, for example, during a car accident or a huge fall. If a smaller vein is losing blood, the victim will take longer to die. This makes the victim weak, thirsty, and finally anxious. After a while, all blood is drained from the brain and the person is no longer alive.
Fun Fact: When somebody dies during a fire, it's not the fire that kills somebody, it's usually the gases. Hot smoke usually enters through the nose, making it impossible to breathe. Fire inflicts inmediate pain, but it usually subsides quickly, after destroying your nerve endings. Also, adrenaline makes the pain go away, but after it's gone, it makes pain come back in, quickly. Of course, carbon monoxide knocks you out first, so, you don't have to suffer through that.
Now, this one's usually instantaneous, if not almost. Of course, the executioner has to be skilled, and have a sharp blade. If not, this can end badly. If under the guillotine, it takes exactly 7 seconds for your brain to consume all the oxygen it has left. There was a queen who was decapitated once by an axe-weilder, but it took him 3 blows to finish her, before using his knife to make sure she was dead.
This one's actually faster, the brain and heart stop working since they're the most sensitive to electricity, so death is usually swift.
Usually, falling from a great height is very quick, because terminal velocity is simply extremely fast. The safest way to land is feet first, as this protects major organs. The other thing you could do is be drunk. Of course, usually your body is simply destroyed upon impact, but survivors usually end up very injured.
Now, this depends on the hangman's skills, but there are a few ways this happens. The short drop could make strangulation, which is slower, and of course, causes more suffering before the blackout. The second one is to make a longer drop which will break the spine of the hanged man. This is way quicker. The quickest way is a longer drop, which decapitates the victim, but this was embarassing for headsmen, so they went with the second.
This was designed as a method for dealing with criminals quickly and humanely. The problem is that witnesses have reported seeing inmates convulsing, vomiting, etc. The anesthesia doesn't render them unconscious enough, so they are aware during their execution. They literally feel the pain of their organs shutting down.
So, yeah, sometimes death feels different than what it seems to feel like. Of course, it sucks. Death always sucks, but everybody has to die sometimes. It's a problem we'll never get rid of, so, of course, don't take this as a message to get depressed. Do the opposite, enjoy life while you can, oh, and of course, happy Halloween!