I don’t know what happens when YOU die, but when I die it goes something like this:
1. I die.
2. Death comes and takes my consciousness to the consciousness of the god.
3. The god refuses to take me, and makes Death take my consciousness back to my body, with a word or two to us both about it.
4. Death acts kinda put out. He’s a busy guy and doesn’t like wasted trips.
The first time was very peaceful, because of the way it happened, involving some kind of onset failure in the cerebellum, maybe a brain stem seizure. It was as comfortable a way to go as one could hope for, except for being kinda chilly. The god was pretty smooth about it, too, with some sympathetic evocations of universal unity, etc, and offered me an interesting future as a living entity. Death wasn’t too worried yet, as these things happen now and then.
The second time was a bit of an accident involving high voltage electricity. The god was a bit testy, like “What are you doing here? I told you I have things for you to do. Go get on that, alright? Hey, Death, get this guy back there, he’s not due to come back for a long time later.” Death complained a bit about the screwups, and after that I could tell when one of Death’s appointments was nearby. Sometimes I’d mentally wave and say hi when he was in the neighborhood, which he thought was a bit awkward. He’s used to working alone.
The third time started out fairly dreamy, what with having a very high fever (over 41°C/106°F) and a massive thoracic infection near the heart, subsequent to repeated surgeries and chemotherapy. I knew Death was coming, but I didn’t care so much, what with the painkillers that never quite worked all the way. Apparently, some of the hospital cooling equipment wasn’t working quite right to counter the fever, and they lost me for a bit there. Both Death and the god were, shall we say, not particularly amused? The god was kinda snappy with Death and me, and Death ended up pissed off about it in general, especially what with getting snapped at by The god and all:
The god: “What are you doing here again? Is this some kind of joke?”
Death: “You said he would come back later. It’s later.”
The god: “It’s still not time yet. I meant much later.”
Death: What was I supposed to do? He was dead. Plus, look at all this crap he’s got mixed in. It’s a mess.”
The god: “I don’t care. It’s not ready, not by a long shot. Take him back.”
Death: “What, again? This is three times already.”
The god: “So what? He’s not done yet.”
Death: “This sucks. He was burning up, you know? Probably brain fried already.”
The god: “Don’t pester me with details -- I’ll deal with it. Now scoot off!”
The god waved us off with a final psychic gesture and disappeared. So we’re sitting in the netherwhere, short on options, and Death snags me up and heads back toward the open world. He’s pretty pissed off about it.
Death: “You’re a pain in the ass with this dying all the time. Fine, I’ll take you back, but I’m not coming for you again. I’ve got better things to do than cart you back and forth for no reason. For all I care, you can just stay alive in the world forever. I’m done with it. You aren’t even supposed to sense me like you do. It’s creepy, and I don’t like people watching me work.
He shoved me back in my body.
Death: “Just stay there. I’m not coming back for you!”
Me: “Isn’t that going to look suspicious after a while?”
Death: “I don’t care. The god can deal with it himself if he doesn’t like it. Now piss off, I’m late for this thing a couple floors up.”
Me: “See you later.”
Death: “Not if I see you first.”
Yah, Death is a smartass like that once you get to know him. Why not? He’s pretty much a union player with great job security. No one else wants the job anyway, and he’s really busy. He has to not only do people, but also some of the simians and small cats, most of the whales, some of the octopods, elephants, and some of the bears (depending on region). Totemic creatures have a separate setup, so he doesn’t have to deal with all the creatures of intertwined spirit like jaguars and so on, and he doesn’t do any of the pig family or any domesticated animals. They have a separate deal. The “lower” animals self-recycle, and plants do this recombination thing that looks like a set of math rules with conjunctional clauses mixed in. Some of the big fungi don’t die at all; they just lurk there in the soil for thousands of years.
So I wake up, burning like crazy inside with these medical people talking to some non-medical people in the room, like, “You’re right, this thing isn’t pumping at all. We’ll go find another one.” Some of the people sounded familiar, but I couldn’t remember any of their names. In the next little while, I realize I can’t remember anyone’s name, anywhere. I had to relearn even my family and friend’s names from indirect references.
Me: “Nevermind, I’ll get it.” I clutch and drag my way into some shorts and stagger/crawl off to the shower room and take about a half hour shower in pure cold water. It was refreshing.
So that’s what happens when I die.
In case you didn't realize it, I DO have a sense of humor. How about you?
"I will not fear. Fear is the mind-killer... I will face my fear. I will let it pass over and through me, and when it has gone, only I will remain." --The Bene Gesserit
"Time is a spiral. Space is a curve. I know you get dizzy, but try not to lose your nerve." -- Neil Peart
"I'm not in the ship. I am the ship." -- River Tam
"The truth is simple. It's the lies that get complicated." -- me
"No matter where you go, there you are." --Buckaroo Banzai