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What comes next?

What do you think happens after you die?
By Sonja L. Cohen
Winter 2012 11.1.12

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gravestones (Christopher L. Walton)

Gravestones at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Christopher L. Walton)

UU World asked readers: What do you think happens after you die?

Jerome F. Lusa, who attends the UU Society: East in Manchester, Connecticut, believes: “After I die, the earth will continue to spin, the sun will rise and set, crickets will chirp in the evening. For those still living, it will be pretty much like when I was alive. A few of those who knew me might note my passing, each in their own way. Some in my immediate family might take it hard. As for me, I won’t be there. I’m OK with that. I will have had my turn.”

Keara Smith, of the Cedarhurst UUs in Finksburg, Maryland, writes, “We had a lot of conversations about this with our 3-year-old when our dog passed. My son’s understanding: ‘When you die, your body lets go of your soul and it becomes part of the universe again.’ His understanding and acceptance left me speechless.”

Maria Oropallo, of the UU Church of Columbia, Missouri, says she is sure she will be reunited with the spirit of her daughter, who died in 2007, but then admits she doesn’t actually believe that, just fantasizes about it. “What I really think will happen when I die is that I leave a trail of love, memory, support, and devotion in the hearts of my loved ones. Perhaps a laugh or two, as well as heartburn in some I have known. My body will disintegrate in a crematory, as it will be deemed unusable to others due to the cancer I now carry. I will be a happy reminder that life does in fact begin, change, and end. I will be that aching, unfillable hole in a very few, very special hearts.

“After the last of my worldly possessions are burned, trashed, or buried, I will be a name in the cyberspace of this world. And then gone.”

Let us know your thoughts; leave a comment below.

For the next issue: What is your favorite UU hymn and why? Send your answer to world@uua.org.

This article appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of UU World (page 59). See sidebar for links to related resources.

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