I do believe that something extraordinary happens at the time of death. I've only seen a few deaths, but I was struck by the fact that the body takes on a distinctively different look at the time of death, at least in my experience. It's not like falling asleep. It's not even like a movie death, where the actor obviously has not died. It's almost like you see the soul leave the body. The thing that makes us alive is gone. Again, this is just my experience and how I've come to grips with death.
The best movie depiction of this I've seen is in A Christmas Carol, the classic 1950 version with Alistair Sim as Scrooge. Perhaps some of you watch this movie at Christmas time and will know the scene I mean. It's Jacob Marley's death scene, and before he dies he's trying to tell Scrooge, "We were wrong to have been so selfish and materialistic." But he dies before he can get the words out; his head falls back on the pillow. The landlady and the undertaker enter, and the landlady asks Scrooge, "Is he dead?" The look on Sim's face and the tone of voice in which he says, "Yes"...I can't quite describe them except to say it's as though it hits Scrooge all at once that Marley is not a person anymore, that he has gone in one instant from being a living, breathing human being to a thing lying on a bed...Actually, I think it's the way he drops Marley's hand that communicates this...Maybe someone else who remembers the scene can comment.
Edited for wording.