Grandpa, what happens when you die?
Who taught you about death, child?
My friend Billy said that his big brother died before he was born and that his body is buried in the ground somewhere. Is that what happens to us when we die? We get put in the ground?
Yes, some people are put into the ground. Others have their bodies burnt to ashes.
Oh… Is that all that happens?
What do you mean?
I mean, do we just go in the ground and nothing else?
No, not exactly.
Then what else happens?
“What else happens” is a secret.
Oh, come on grandpa! Tell me, please…
Alright. I’ll tell you what happens when you die. But you have to promise not to tell your dad. Okay?
When you die, your body returns to the earth. But another part of you, a very special part, separates from your body and moves on to another place. This happens to everyone. Every man woman and child goes to the same place – called the between time. Everyone who has ever lived and died now resides in the between time. Everyone who lives in the between time lives and plays, but they also work. Most importantly, they work. Everyone’s job in the between time is to contribute their memories, their ideas, their experiences and their lives to the construction of the next Earth that we are all going to live on some day. All of your birthday parties, your scrapped knees and your adventures in the back yard get put in there. All the times you laughed, and all the times you cried also go into the new Earth. Every nice thing you’ll ever say and every mean thing that you might one day regret get remembered and placed accordingly into the new world. This has happened many many times, and will continue to happen long into the future.
Oh. So… So I get to help make the next world after I die?
Yes, you get to help make the next earth along with everyone else.
And this has happened many times already?
Then why… Why did I break my arm last summer? Couldn’t I have stopped from falling out of Uncle Gary’s tree?
No. In the between time when people are building the new world, all they have to build with are their memories from their previous life. People leave behind their imaginations and their choices when they die. Some things, like accidents keep happening forever.
But you said I could build the new world.
You can. But you have to build it while you are still alive. Many things will happen to you during your life. A lot of those things will be out of your control. What you can control is how you react to those things and events. Here, while we are alive, we can make choices about what to say to other people and what to do with our hands. We consciously make memories every day, and with those memories we will eventually help to remake the Earth after the last person dies. It’s up to us to make good memories.
Like the time we went out on your boat?
Yes, that was a good memory.
Heh. I see. You’re strange, Grandpa.
Why can’t I tell dad about this?
He is too old to learn about the between time. Sometimes when adults learn this secret, they feel bad about the things they have done in their lives. Sometimes they did things or said things that they regret and know that they will have to repeat those things in the next life.
Oh. Have you made a lot of good memories, Grandpa?