You can make that choice right up to the end, just before your last breath. But once you die, you can’t undo your decision. Reincarnation doesn’t occur. You don’t come back and get to do it over. You don’t get a second chance.
Remembering people we love who have died is one way to keep them a part of us. Pictures help us do this. Looking at a photo album can help us remember fun times we had together. Lots of families bury the bodies of loved ones in a cemetery. Then they can go and visit someone’s grave. It’s not that they think of the dead person as really being there, but it is a special place to go and think about how much that person meant to them.
Most of the time people enjoy long, long lives. Lots of people live well into their 70s or 80s, and some live even longer. Slowly, though, over the course of many years, the human body wears out, just like the tires on an old bicycle or the batteries in your favorite toy. When important parts of the body — like the heart or lungs or brain — wear out and stop working, the person most likely will die. When this happens, we say this person died of “old age.”
Sometimes younger people die. Sometimes a person gets very sick, and despite all the hard work of doctors and medicines, nothing can keep this person’s body working. If a very sick person dies, you may hear the adults around you say that person is better off now and no longer suffering. Still, every day doctors discover more ways to prevent and treat serious illness, so the chances of a person recovering improve all the time.
Other times people die suddenly, like in an accident. This may be the hardest kind of death for families and friends to deal with because it happens so fast. There is no time for them to get used to the idea of losing someone they love. The important thing to remember about this kind of death is it’s often so sudden that the person who dies feels little or no pain. We can be relieved about that.
Where Do Dead People Go?
Many people believe that when someone dies only the body dies. It is just as if a glass bottle full of water broke, and the bottle became useless. The container is gone, but what’s inside — the water — remains. The part of a person that’s left after the body dies is often called the “soul” or “spirit.” Some people believe the soul is the part of a human that loves, feels, and creates; it’s the part that make us who we are.
No one really knows what happens to a person’s soul after death. There are many different beliefs about that, and it’s best to talk with your family to find out what they believe happens after our bodies die. Then you can decide what you believe.