There's no way of knowing exactly when a person's last moments may be. Unexpected situations can arise at any time, and the scariest part can sometimes be the thoughts that run through a person's mind when they think it's all about to end.
People on Reddit share their "last" thoughts when they thought they were going to die. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was 15, and my mum sent my sister and me on a family trip with my Dad and his side of the family.
We'd gone to a beach that had been totally dedicated to water sports. My cousins, sister, and my Dad all wanted to do the banana boat first. We all went flying off one by one. I can't remember where I was sitting on it, I think middle.
Anyway, the boat comes back around to collect us and my Dad used my head to push himself onto the banana boat and pushed me under the water and thus under the stupid inflatable banana.
My thought was, I can't believe my dad just did that, I'm actually going to die underneath a giant banana.
Luckily I managed to claw myself out like a demented gremlin."
"A little over 10 years ago, I had 'the widowmaker' heart attack. I spent the first day in the hospital with a balloon pump assisting my heart to help me stay alive until they could perform the surgery the next day. They told my wife that my chances of surviving were only about 20%. I had the priest in, family, the whole nine yards.
In the morning, as they wheeled me into the operating room, I was doing the Monty Python bit 'And get the machine that goes PING! in case the administrator comes by,' with the surgical nurse who was also a Monty Python fan.
The look on the surgeon's face was priceless, and I was chuckling as I went under. My last thoughts were, Hey we got this.
The surgeon later told me that I was the only patient in his entire career that came into his operating room laughing, but that my attitude may have been a large factor in my survival."
"I was gridlocked in traffic with a wildfire on both sides of my vehicle. I couldn't even touch the window, it was that hot. Our cell tower was knocked out so I couldn’t even tell my family and friends that weren’t in the car that I loved them. I sat there and I was oddly peaceful. There was nothing I could do. My whole family was sweating. My little brother was crying.
I was 15 and I just sat there and accepted that my life was what it was. I didn’t bother thinking about what I wished I had done differently or what I wanted to accomplish because it didn’t matter. I was convinced I would die quietly with my family in a car. I couldn’t think. I put my headphones in and played my favorite songs, thinking maybe I could die to one of those.
When traffic started moving again after a few hours, I could barely stay awake. I remember the first time I showered after the fire. There was soot running down the drain and I just cried.
Since then, I started telling people I loved them, I decided to live for myself, I came out, I worked towards a future. I even sat at my first bonfire this year.
It was horrible."
"I was 16 years old. I had my lower right wisdom tooth come in, and it broke the tooth next to it. That caused an abscess, which led to an infection in my jaw bone. I was taken to the ER by my mother because she thought I had some sort of lock jaw because I couldn't open my mouth, it was so swollen. The doctor told her that I couldn't be treated there, and so I was taken to another hospital an hour away.
I remember slipping in and out of consciousness, getting prepped for the surgery, and having my dad there. The last thing I remember thinking was that I didn't want to go yet. I would make so many people devastated if I died. I remember crying before and my dad just calmed me down and told me he loved me.
I recovered in the hospital for a month, got a visit from my then boyfriend now husband, missed high school finals of that year, and was discharged on Christmas Eve."
"I was flying an airplane alone, over a big lake. The engine started acting up so I radioed it in. A few seconds later came sputtering and then silence. (Prop airplanes are loud, the silence is deafening).
I clearly said over my communications, 'Houston flight this is November 4 niner 5 1 alpha, I’ve lost my engine.'
Houston came back: '5 1 alpha, say again.'
So I did: '5 1 alpha repeating, I’ve lost my engine.'
There was a brief, but only very brief, moment of panic. After that, I did everything I’d been taught and eventually got the plane safely on the ground. So like I said, I never actually was going to die.
But there was that moment where I was sure I’d end up at the bottom of that lake. Honestly, though, my thoughts were just how in the heck do I fix this?"
"When I was 10, my family went to Florida on vacation with some other extended family. There was a plan where my parents went back home a few days before my brother and I would so we could stay longer with my aunt and cousins.
It was my first time traveling with just my older brother and my second time on a plane, the first being the trip there.
Coming into Logan airport, our airplane started to fall out of the sky. Quite literally. Apparently, it only happened for about three to five seconds, but the pressure made the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling. I’d seen enough movies at that point to know that basically meant we were going to die.
I was for sure crying and freaking out like everyone else on the aircraft, for sure the most frightening experience of my life, bar none... But I distinctly remember thinking, I’m never going to get to finish my Age of Empires 2 campaign.
So, a video game was ostensibly my last thought."
"I was in a pretty severe car crash in my mid teens - we got t-boned by a big Ford van coming home from school one afternoon. I could have sworn our light was green but witnesses said my friend went through a red.
I remember looking over and seeing the van and thinking Eh. I pretty much resigned immediately to what was about to happen.
I was sitting in the front passenger seat holding onto the little handle above the door - the window blew out and I had hundreds of little cuts on my arms neck and face. It looked like rats had been chewing on me, and I had a couple of bits of glass in my hand. The passenger side door crushed in far enough to hit me and left fabric imprint all down my side, completely knocked the wind out of me, and cracked two ribs.
After I caught my breath, I had to crawl out of the driver's side. My hand was bleeding all over the place, but was so amped up on adrenaline I hardly noticed any pain. The next day, I could hardly move I was so sore. Almost my whole right side was bruised. It hurt to breathe too deeply.
My friend's mom showed me pictures of the car, it was astounding I got off as well as I did."
"It was my sixth-grade end of year trip. We were at a ropes course park where you'd rock climb and walked across tall catwalks. I was attached to a relay with a team of my classmates 30 feet below me. I climbed up the pole and chickened out when I got to the top, so I signaled my teacher and she gave me the signal to lean back and I'd be repelled down. This is why you look before you leap folks because those kids were not paying attention and I dropped off that catwalk as I had never been there.
As I fell through the air with the ground running up to meet me, I saw this absolutely beautiful, and I mean a breath-taking burst of light through the trees in front of me. Something like the sunshine you'd see coming through the leaves of a tree that you're lazing under on a hot summer day. I was so taken by the sight that would have been my last thought, Christ is that ever beau- before my classmates reefed on that repel rope and I stopped falling. My mom had just died maybe six months prior to this and I was convinced it was her, a guardian angel, whatever you want to call it.
Spooky things indeed."
"When I was like 11 years old, I was home alone one day during the summer, just watching TV while eating Skittles. I liked to put a bunch in my mouth and make like a Skittle ball that I would chew on. Something on the show I was watching made me laugh and I swallowed the ball, which got lodged in my throat.
I then experienced a few seconds of sheer terror because I realized that there was nobody there to help me, and I was probably going to die. Thankfully, I remembered some cartoons or movies where someone jammed their stomach on a chair and got something unstuck from their throat. So, I lunged at the corner of the recliner as hard as I could with my stomach, and it actually worked and popped the small ball out.
It was super lucky because I really had no idea what I was doing, but one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. Definitely never ate Skittles that way again after that and to this day I'm still a bit paranoid about eating certain things when alone."
"The closest to death I came was earlier this year. I had abnormal uterine bleeding that was so severe I couldn't stay conscious, I fainted four times in less than 12 hours. Threw up while I was unconscious twice (luckily I was sitting up when I woke back up so I didn't choke).
The one time I felt like I was dreaming, but it wasn't a 'flashing before your eyes' kind of dream, it was just like I was dreaming of a normal mundane event. I was so unconscious I hit REM mode I suppose. As the day went on, I eventually got to the point where I couldn't get up off the bathroom floor. I couldn't even sit up or I would have passed out again.
An ambulance was called and I was taken out on a stretcher. I only had a vague awareness of what was going on around me. I had a very strong urge to sleep but I knew that I shouldn't, but I just kept wanting to close my eyes. My best friend (who was there at the time) kept nudging me so that I didn't before the ambulance arrived. I was so out of it, I no longer felt fear or much awareness; just that I felt like sleeping but it didn't feel like something good would happen if I did sleep.
Once I got to the ER I was told that my hemoglobin count was 4.6 and was dropping, fast. One of the nurses told me point-blank if I hadn't come in I would have most likely died. I had to be given multiple blood transfusions to be even stabilized.
Uterine Fibroids are no joke."
"I had the worst strain of mono currently known; strep throat, double ear infection, upper respiratory flu, lower respiratory flu, a sinus infection, and pink eye. All at the same time.
They started testing me for a brain tumor before they knew what was wrong in the ER. My vision started fading and I couldn’t hear. The only thing I could think about was that I was going to ruin my parent’s sibling’s, friend’s, and girlfriend’s lives by dying so young and sudden. I didn’t want to cause that kind of emotional pain to my loved ones. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to say goodbye.
I was so dehydrated that my organs were starting to shut down. Had I waited another day to go to the ER, I would have died from total organ failure. My body was making so many white blood cells that my counts were higher than some nurses and doctors had ever seen in their professional careers.
I was administered three separate 'sacks' of fluids. They were keeping me alive at the time. They gave me a HUGE amount of prednisone (over 200-milligram doses). I was high as a kite for a week. I don’t remember much from that week but somehow I got home with my parents, lived on smoothies, and slept a lot. I even managed to play video games and win matches, and I don’t even remember doing it. They forced me to drink two or three liters of water a day. I discharged a lot of phlegm. The week passed and the prednisone wiped out my flu and helped my body fight off my mono symptoms.
But steroids can make bacterial infections like strep, ear infections, and pink eye feel worse. I couldn’t speak for 2 weeks. After the steroids, I was put on an extremely powerful antibiotic and had to stay home for another three or four days because it completely wiped out the good bacteria in my body.
After three weeks of visiting the ER, I went back to college. Five weeks later I finished the semester with a 3.4.
Pretty freaking proud of myself."
"I was almost killed by a man I was in a relationship with when I was in my early 20's. He was watching his kids from a previous relationship (maybe four and six?) while his ex was at a conference.
I called to check on him and the kids, but he wasn't answering his phone. I got worried and went over to the house.
He was profoundly trashed. I put the kids to bed and confronted him about how irresponsible it was to get so inebriated while he was the only adult around. What if there had been an emergency? We got into a huge fight that culminated in him strangling me on the kitchen floor.
Right near the end before I lost consciousness, I very clearly and distinctly thought, Wow. This is how it ends. I wonder if he'll have the presence of mind to get rid of my body before the kids wake up in the morning. I wonder if they'll ever find me.
I woke up an indeterminate amount of time later. He clearly didn't hang on long enough to finish the job. I barricaded myself in the hallway to the kid's room because I couldn't just leave them with him alone.
When he woke up in the morning, he asked me why his arms were scratched up and why I had so many bruises. He said he had no recollection of the fight."
"In high school, I was driving around with 2 friends on a gravel road. My friend, the driver, has ADHD, and I was always designated as the front passenger when I was in the car. I was the responsible one, and my job was to grab the steering wheel and make sure we didn't drive off the road or crash into anything when he got distracted and forgot to steer.
I happened to be in the back seat at that time, and he was distracted and driving fast and didn't notice the turn in the road. He slammed the brakes and roughly turned the wheel, which sent us sliding.
And all I could think was, He overcorrected."
"I got food stuck in my throat and legitimately thought I was done for. I had made a cheap dollar pizza and I had cut it into 4 pieces. Well, the first piece I put in my mouth was not sufficiently chewed because I was distracted playing my favorite video game. I swallow the whole piece and immediately regret the decision.
I'm full-on choking in nanoseconds. Like vision is closing off, no air is getting past the pizza, my limbs are truly weak. Any strength I had prior to this moment was monumentally depleting at a rapid rate. Choking there in a back room of the house, alone, no phone for multiple rooms, and now I am in a stage of uncontrollable gulping. It was unavoidable as my body just took over trying to resolve the problem by clearing my esophagus.
I remember pushing tears, thinking I'm going to die from a penny pizza after surviving my suicide attempt a few months prior. I was riding a new lease on life before the pizza and felt this hot wave of just serious dread thinking that I was going to lose everything and my friends were going to find my decomposing body at their house. I remember thinking how much it would damage their psychology before I found myself slamming my rib cage on the back support of the chair I had been sitting in.
Two tries. Three tries. Four tries. I slammed the 5th on the pointed corner of the chair (they were like castle spires), and it was a perfect match for not only shifting the pizza in my throat but also causing a severe vomiting response. I felt the pizza slice come up, I vomited everywhere, and then I laid on the floor for just short of an hour crying.
It was an awful experience. I never told anyone. And I spent about four hours cleaning that room to make sure no evidence would ever be found of my incident. I haven't thought about it in years, but it was definitely a formative experience because I now focus very heavily on chewing my food and I am a very slow eater nowadays."
"Six years ago, when my son was five, he went to a kindergarten graduation swim party. I had to work overtime and my wife stayed home with our then-infant daughter. Our son was with trusted parents, and friends from his school. A couple of hours into the party, we got the call our son had drowned. They pulled him out of the pool, not breathing, no pulse, nothing. The parents hosting the party called 9-1-1 and got an ambulance on the way. Luckily, one of the mothers had just renewed her pediatric CPR license the prior day and started CPR. She was able to resuscitate my son just prior to the medics arriving. After a few hours in the hospital and numerous tests taken, we were cleared to come home and relax.
When my wife and I asked what happened, my son’s response was, 'I jumped in the pool daddy, I didn’t have my floaties on and I didn’t know it was the deep end. I couldn’t get to the surface so I got tired and fell asleep.'
The mom hosting the party later came by the hospital, apologized profusely, gave my son a gift bag full of toys, coloring books etc and a separate bag for me containing a bottle of Jack Daniel's. Needless to say, that bottle got polished off as soon as we got home.
Six years later, the kids still healthy and a smart little guy Still loves to go swimming. Little brat asked to go swimming the next weekend after his accident. He did, much to his mother’s dismay, but what’s the saying? When you fall off the horse, get up, brush yourself off and get right back on?"
"I got T-boned by an SUV when I was riding my motorcycle with my then-girlfriend on the back. I remember just turning my head left and seeing it about to hit and just accepting it was going to happen. I didn't think about I could die or that I would hurt.
I even got my phone out and snapped a picture of the scene seconds after I came to a stop after flying off. I even texted my mom saying I was in an accident but I'm okay. Really got religious again after that day; my mom actually showed up before the firefighters. She said she somehow knew exactly where I was said because the Lord guided her.
I had so much adrenaline, I didn't need pain meds on the ambulance ride. They told me I probably didn't break anything if I didn't need pain meds. However, I was definitely asking for it at the hospital. I got morphine before they cleaned me out, and it still hurt like crazy. Overall pretty blessed I'm alive.
The 'only' injury was my left ankle. I think when the SUV hit my side, my footpeg went through my ankle. Then I got thrown off, so it gouged out a fat rift across my foot from about the middle to the back. Somehow, it stopped right at my Achilles tendon. The footpeg was literally touching it, but somehow didn't break it."
"I was walking on a frozen lake, and I didn't realize how thin the ice was.
My dad yelled at me, 'WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?'
I got scared and turned around, slipped, and fell. The ice started to break, and the first thing I started doing was looking at the sky, thinking wow, what an idiot I am.
Because people who go under the ice, they go into a frozen panic, and get stuck under it and drown. So, I snapped out of my panic and started crawling and I eventually start running. Almost immediately, the ice started cracked and I grabbed on to dear life for a branch.
The ice was about nine inches thick. I realized, if I had not run, I would have drowned. My last thoughts were, Why so young? Why couldn't I have made it to 80? But, I'm here, I'm alive and well."