I was talking with a neighbor who's a retired recovery therapist. She's into a number of things about life and death, and we talked about death itself. To that end I offered my idea of death, which isn't scientific or much beyond mine and simply what I think is a common sense view, or at least for me.
I think we're hardwared not just to die, as they're finding out what causes the cells to quit reproducing to sustain the body, but how we die. I mean evolution gave us the steps where and when the body actually dies. It's an observation thing, but here goes. This means there are three parts we're given.
First, the brain has the mechanism to be aware something is wrong and there is a probability the death is immenent. We know what and how the brain works with the body, so it seems logical it know when the body isn't working and most likely dying.
Second, the brain has a trigger to start the dying process. This is where I think people get their near-death experience. I say this reading about death and about the deaths in my family. I say this for several reasons.
People who die a natural death don't seem to feel pain, or very much, so, to me, the body must have a way to block all pain from the body sending pain from dying. This is the white light. This, to me, is white noise. The brain has to have a way to flood the other areas, especially the sensory and pain receptor areas, with noise to avoid sensing the reality and pain of dying.
People who come back or experience near-death from several injuries, talk about seeing one's life and talking with long-dead people. I think, and this is somewhat supported by the literature, the brain dumps the longerm memory into the active parts of the brain. In short, a "Here's your life in a snapshot." idea where you don't see or think about anything else but your life.
Third, the brain has a proces for dying. It has to do something to quit, tell the all the organs and especially the heart to stop and then the brain to quit. There has to be a point the brain innately knows it's time to quit, the last switch of life. The person never realizes it because without pain, seeing their life and such, everything suddenly and quietly stops.
I was reading an article about a man watching his wife of many years die. He said, as he sat by her side, she breathed a breath. And then another. And then no more. Gone in a heartbeat and breath. One instant here and another not. And she didn't change the time between life and death.
My father died quietly in his sleep. He went to bed after his 75th birthday and never woke up. All the next day he didn't respond to anyone or anything. He kept talking to people long dead from his life. All dead people and all past events. And then early the next day he quietly died.
I've argued he simply gave up on life and died, but during the process he didn't express any pain something was wrong or that he was dying. He was somewhere else from his body. The brain simply took control and followed a process to die. Like the woman above, he simply stopped breathing and died.
I imagine death like taking a nap. You lie down, slowly fall asleep. And hopefully you wake up, but in death, you don't. You never know because your brain is busy doing other things for you. Your brain never tells you you're dying, it's just stops sometime during the sleep. As evolution has given us.
Ok, it's just an idea, and just mine. And it's one will never know if it's right or true. Not even me telling you, "I told you so!"