Jordan Ogren

January 7, 2022

Have you ever asked yourself this question?

What happens after we die?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I’m sorry to get morbid with you.

It’s something I’ve spent little time thinking about.

I grew up in a fundamental Christian church that preached a clear message to what happens after we die:

We go to heaven, see all of our dead family, get a lovely mansion, walk on the streets of gold, and cop that golden Bentley that the mega-church preachers got on earth.

That answer sufficed for a while—until I left elementary school.

Then the fairy tale–as I call it–no longer seemed to make sense. It felt there was more to the conversation than reading the Bible so literally. That was almost too easy for me.

It was life after death 101. I was ready for 201 or 301.

Rather than me riff for a few more paragraphs on my new belief of what happens after death, I want to share a clip from a miniseries Katie and I binged. It’s called Midnight Mass.

There is a scene when two people discuss the opening question in this email. It is one of the final scenes in the series. Below is the dialogue, but you can also watch it:

[Riley] What happens?

[Erin chuckles softly]

[Erin] What?

[Riley] When we die. What happens?

[Erin] Yeah, what the fuck happens?

[Riley] So what do you think happens when we die, Erin?

[Erin] Speaking for myself?

[Riley] Speaking for yourself.


[Erin] Myself. My self. That’s the problem. That’s the whole problem with the whole thing. That word, “self.” That’s not the word. That’s not right, that isn’t… That isn’t. 

How did I forget that? When did I forget that?

The body stops a cell at a time, but the brain keeps firing those neurons. Little lightning bolts, like fireworks inside, and I thought I’d despair or feel afraid, but I don’t feel any of that. None of it. Because I’m too busy. I’m too busy in this moment. Remembering.

Of course. I remember that every atom in my body was forged in a star. This matter, this body is mostly just empty space after all, and solid matter? It’s just energy vibrating very slowly and there is no me. There never was. The electrons of my body mingle and dance with the electrons of the ground below me and the air I’m no longer breathing. And I remember there is no point where any of that ends and I begin.

I remember I am energy. Not memory. Not self. My name, my personality, my choices, all came after me. I was before them and I will be after, and everything else is pictures, picked up along the way. Fleeting little dreamlets printed on the tissue of my dying brain. And I am the lightning that jumps between. I am the energy firing the neurons, and I’m returning. Just by remembering, I’m returning home.

And it’s like a drop of water falling back into the ocean, of which it’s always been a part. All things… a part. All of us… a part. You, me and my little girl, and my mother and my father, everyone who’s ever been, every plant, every animal, every atom, every star, every galaxy, all of it. More galaxies in the universe than grains of sand on the beach. And that’s what we’re talking about when we say “God.” The one. The cosmos and its infinite dreams. We are the cosmos dreaming of itself. It’s simply a dream that I think is my life, every time. But I’ll forget this. I always do. I always forget my dreams.

But now, in this split-second, in the moment I remember, the instant I remember, I comprehend everything at once. There is no time. There is no death. Life is a dream. It’s a wish. Made again and again and again and again and again and again and on into eternity. And I am all of it. I am everything. I am all. I am that I am.


Wow. Poetic. But strangely true, for me.

I’ve written about “The I Am” before. That’s all there is to us; I Am. Whatever comes after is not true. I am not always 26, but I always Am.

Essentially, we are all the same at the source. And at death, I believe we fall back into that source. Like every plant, every animal, every atom, every star, every galaxy has and will.

That’s comforting. In that definition of “after death,” I feel peace. We all will be “there.” No one is left out. 

I believe that definition changes how I live (for the better).

And that’s the message here: let your definition of after death lead you to live a better life, not a life of more division and hate (us vs. them).

You, I and everyone in between came from dust, and to dust, we shall return. 

I find peace in that. 

What do you believe happens after death?

🧠 + ❤️ // JO