The projection of the Brahman (or the pure consciousness or the Absolute) into the finite resulting in a certain set of attributes is life. The physical life forms are just this projection.
Death is the losing of those attributes such that the consciousness or awareness within is indistinguishable from the Absolute.
Again equating this to the equate-able, let’s take the classic example of clay pots that is used to explain this. Life for the clay pots start with clay. Clay gets molded into various forms creating the different attributes for the pots that result in the pot having different reasons for existence – some for cooking, some for planting flowers, some for decorating the living rooms, etc. The clay remains very much a part of the pot while it is still “alive”. When a pot breaks or “dies” the clay remains – the very same clay that constituted the pot but now without any attributes of a pot. The pot was and continues to be pure clay.
Escaping the cycle of life and death is essentially realizing the true meaning of life and death such that the concept “escaping” itself becomes moot.