Roy-Ocotber Run
October Run by Roy Shapley

Death brings us in touch with all the mysteries of the universe — both deeply personal and intimate, and cosmic.  Tackling the topic of what happens when we die in a pair of blog posts is daunting.  Death is a big deal — both big in its scope, and big in its importance — and beliefs abound on the subject of what happens when we die.  I am not an authority on the subject, and I mean no disrespect to anyone’s beliefs, but I have learned things through my work as a psychic medium, and I feel qualified to answer at least a few of the most common questions I get asked.

Is death the end?

No.  Regardless of your beliefs about death or your actions during your lifetime, only your body dies at the time of death.  Your spirit and your consciousness retain their humanity and live on.  In my experience, there are no exceptions to this — death is not the end of everything for anyone.

After death, our spirits move into what I refer to as a transitional phase, during which our spirits are Earth-bound and existing in a state that is in-between the here and the hereafter.  This transitional phase lasts anywhere from a few days to many, many years, and culminates in a spirit being at peace and ready to ascend.  (I will tackle the topic of ascension in my next blog post.)  This period of transition is important because people often don’t realize that they are dead right away; it can take time to adjust to being spirit only; many spirits are curious about what they can and cannot do as a ghost, and take a little time to explore that; and people’s spirits generally just need some time to grieve the end of their physical life before being ready to move on.

Do spirits linger near their body?

Yes, our spirits tend to linger near our bodies for a day or two after death, as we adjust to being dead.  Once this is accomplished, our bodies no longer matter and our spirits tend to linger near the ones we love.

What do ghosts look like?

Spirits of humans (ghosts) look like the humans they were at the time of their death (completely restored to health if they had been sick or injured).  We sort of “freeze” at the age we were when we died, and we appear clothed, usually in a favorite outfit, but always in clothing appropriate to the era in which we died.  When I meet a ghost, I am able to gauge how long they have been dead by looking at how they are dressed.

A part of the “look” of a ghost is also how they act.  In general, a person’s spirit behaves much the same as the person did while alive.  However, spiritual maturity is not a product of chronological age, so in the afterlife, child ghosts are often quite wise and mature and behave in a manner that reflects this.

Can my deceased loved ones see me?

Yes, the spirits of your deceased loved ones are able to see and hear you.  Any “imaginary” conversations you have with spirits are likely to be real.  They hear you and they respond.  If you have had conversations of this sort and have had “a sense” of what the person’s spirit was saying in response, please trust that.

Do you stay “you” once you are just a spirit?

Yes.  Your spirit stays intact as your spirit and retains the you-ness of you.  We do not dissolve into energy and get absorbed into the Great Oneness.  We remain separate, distinct spirits, and function as individuals even through the ascension and reincarnation process.  You are and will ever be, you.

Certain religious traditions hold that there is an end to the reincarnation process, that we evolve through successive lifetimes until we achieve a state of perfection or nirvana.  It is a state of being that is beyond the beyond, and may, in fact, involve dissolving into energy and being absorbed by the Great Oneness.

I don’t know if this is where we’re headed, if this is where we will all get to one day, and I don’t know what life will be like if and when we do.  What I do know is that it isn’t happening right now.  To anyone.  Even highly evolved people are not evolved to anywhere near that point.  So, from my vantage point in the here and now, we are looking at reincarnating over and over again forever.  From a different vantage point in the distant future, this may not be true, but for now it is.

Do you carry pain and suffering into the afterlife?

There are two kinds of pain and suffering — physical and spiritual.  Physical suffering does not follow anyone into the afterlife; spiritual pain and suffering does.

Physical pain and suffering includes anything that is body-based: injuries, brain damage, dementia, depression, paralysis, physical deformities, genetic mutations, chronic illness, etc.  These things are purely physical and are left completely behind when the body dies.  Our spirits are only affected by these things in the ways that physical challenges promote spiritual growth, not in any way that damages the soul.

My dear friend and former neighbor, Rob, died a year ago from a recurrence of breast cancer.  He was a lovely man, but was born with the lower half of his right arm and several of his toes missing, the result of his umbilical cord being tied too tightly around those parts in-utero.  Later in his life, he also suffered from early-onset dementia, a condition that left him confused by numbers and events, and inappropriately angry.  In death, all that is gone.  He has two arms, an unscarred body, and a consciousness that has been fully restored and is intact.

Spiritual pain and suffering includes anything that is spirit-based: guilt, regret, remorse, anger, revenge, etc.  These things are spiritual and must be dealt with before ascension is possible.  We carry this stuff around as spiritual baggage, and ascension requires that we travel light — so light, in fact, that we are baggage-free.  Some people are able to deal with their spiritual baggage easily, to see things from the different vantage point that death provides, and to make peace with their life on their own.  For others, they harbor these feelings of spiritual pain so deeply that they need the help of either another spirit, or someone like me, to help them make peace with their life and their death.

When we die, the period I refer to as The Great Transition is followed by a second change that includes the ascension process.  I will tackle this topic next week in “When We Die (Part 2: The Great Transformation).”


  1. Todd — In my experience, no, there is no real difference for someone who died by suicide. Those who die by their own hand tend to have more spiritual baggage than the average person, but that’s the only difference I have seen.


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