What Happens When You Die?
“Mom. What Happens When You Die?”
She froze and stood motionless, a hard look on her face. She turned and stared at me blankly. Then, as though another thought came in and forced out the last one, she told me to wash my hands for dinner.
“I shouldn’t have asked that question,” I thought and dutifully went off.
Her reaction was not unusual. It was pretty much the reaction I got from anyone I asked as a kid.
So I started a silent search but no one seemed to be able to answer all of my burning questions about death.
How does it happen?
Where do you go when you die?
Can you see when you are dead?
What is your soul and why does it leave from you at that point?
Is it held on with some sort of metaphysical duct tape while you are alive?
Can you live without it?
Why does God or the devil need it anyway?
Does it have some worth that I should know about?
Perhaps I should be taking better care of it if it’s so valuable. But then how do you care for a soul?
Man! I was confused!
And on top of that, there were tons of very confusing information depending on where you looked.
The more I studied religions, the more I saw the common thread. They all believed that you are more than your body and that you do not end when it does.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead was so different from the reincarnation theories of certain Eastern religions and those were very different from Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Fortunately for me, I have always had a keen awareness of my spiritual nature. It was very real to me that we did not fade and blink out when we left our bodies, that for whatever reason, we simply went somewhere else.
And the more I studied religions, the more I saw the common thread. They all believed that you are more than your body and that you do not end when it does.
Then when I found Scientology, it all came together for me and every one of my questions was answered to my satisfaction.
From there, I thought everyone had pretty much the same idea about our spiritual nature, that we were something other than physical and that we lived on even after death. But I was very wrong.
My dad was an engineer. He had a Ph.D. in Fluid Dynamics (in a nutshell, the study of how fluid, gases and water, etc., flow over and around things.)
He had the material universe pegged.
And I looked up to him as a genius, because he was one.
So, when many years ago, he came down with pancreatic cancer, he realized that he had no idea what happens to us when we are no longer material—when physical universe laws no longer applied and when water, wind and fire no longer affected us.
The knowledge that had seen him successfully through an entire lifetime was suddenly woefully inadequate, and his attention was thrust into a realm in which he had no knowledge or experience.
His last week on Earth, he spent with me and my mom. I watched as he asked over and over various people what happens when you die. And each one deftly avoided the question, as if answering it frankly would somehow violate an unspoken law that one never comments on such things. This is fine when you are religious but for my dad this advice was useless. He was not religious. He was a scientist.
Because I had studied Scientology, I knew many things. I knew that, despite being in a coma, a person can hear and respond. I knew the fact that, despite my dad being in a deep coma and breathing his last, he was still able to squeeze my hand to let me know he could hear me.
And in his last moments, I was able to give him the answers to the questions he had so desperately wanted answered in the weeks prior to his death.
And I told him it was time to let go and to not be afraid.
I took my mom out to get her something to eat and we immediately got the call that he had passed.
Going back into the room where his body was, we were overcome by a feeling of relief, and I knew it was from my dad.
He finally understood.
And looking at the lifeless body that had, up until minutes ago been my dad, it looked nothing like him. It could have been a wax mannequin, because it was clearly not him anymore.
He was free. He was free of the sickness, free of the pain, and most of all he was free of the agonizing fear that one day he would blink out and be gone. It’s a gift worth more than all the pearls in the Orient and it’s one Scientology has given me.
And in those last moments, I knew that whatever wonderful things my dad had done for me, and there were more than I could ever count, I had repaid him by giving him the exact answers he needed at the most lost and confusing time of his life.
So what does happen when you die?