Excerpt About Death
Departure of Presence at DeathA second observation on this subject relates to the difference between a live person and a dead person. Many individuals report that when they are in the presence of someone who has just died - when they are with the corpse of the individual - they are surprised by their experience of the corpse. The body does not merely seem dead. There is a distinct sense that the body is missing something it had before. It is not that it is not moving, not that it is not breathing. It is clear that the corpse is missing something more fundamental. The body feels to them empty, only an empty shell. There is often a sense of something having departed that before had not been explicitly recognized. Death turns out to be not only the cessation of functioning, but also the absence of something that now seems very substantial. This perception is heightened when there are other individuals present. The contrast between the presence of the dead person and that of the other living individuals becomes distinct and palpable. The living individuals clearly have something that is missing in the corpse. And it is not exactly what was expected. It is as if when the individual dies he or she is emptied in some fundamental and obvious way. A presence of some sort is gone. what is missing is not only energy, not only mind, not only movement. It is something that has all of these qualities, but much more. Here it becomes clear what life is. It is not merely the body functioning, breathing and metabolism and so on. Life is a manifestation of a presence, a fullness that is clearly missing from a corpse.