People often avoid talking about it, but death is a part of life. Plants and trees go through a predictable cycle each year of birth, death, and rebirth. Animals are born, grow, have babies, and die. Humans do the same. Have you ever seen a dead bird or animal? Have you wondered what happens to the body after we die? Let’s find out.

Facts About Death

  • Death happens when the biological functions necessary for life stop. These include brain activity, breathing, and blood circulation. About 150,000 people around the world die every day.
  • In the U.S., most people die of old age. Other common reasons for this include accidents and disease. In some countries, death from infectious diseases, starvation, dehydration, or violence is still common.
  • When a person dies, his or her heart stops beating. The person stops breathing and has no pulse. After death, the person might be very pale and feel cold to the touch. In a few hours, the person’s limbs become stiff. In a few days, the person will begin to decompose.
  • The tradition of burying the dead goes back as many as 350,000 years. Other cultures have different traditions. In Tibet, people are given a “sky burial,” in which their body is left at the top of a mountain. In India, bodies are cremated – or burned – after death.
  • In Madagascar, people have a tradition called famadihana. They occasionally remove the dead from their burial sites and splash the bodies with perfume. They then carry the bodies through the street, dancing and singing. This tradition shows their gratitude and love for their deceased family members.
  • In Indonesia, family members keep an embalmed person’s body at home – for up to 10 years. The body is bathed and cared for while the family saves money for a six-day-long burial feast.
  • About 100 billion people have lived – and died – since the beginning of time.
  • In Greek mythology, it was thought that redheads turned into vampires after death.

Questions and Answers

Question: Is there life after death? Why is it so sad?

Answer: The question of what happens after death is the ultimate question humans ask. Many people believe that the soul lives on after death. In the Christian faith, people believe that the soul will be reunited with the body. In other faiths, people believe in reincarnation – that the soul will live again in another body. Atheists do not believe in an afterlife. They believe in eternal oblivion. Talk with your parents and give some thought to what you believe.

It is sad because we won’t see a loved person again – at least in this life. Many people believe we will see loved ones when we die. Talking about your feelings or doing things to remember the person who has died can make you feel better.