There are lots of books about death and the dying process. Elisabeth Kubler Ross was one of the first people who wrote about the dying process in her book called, Death and Dying, in 1969.
Since then much has been written.
I learned a lot about death and dying by reading various books.
Actually, my entire spiritual journey was precipitated in 1978 when I saw my father's spirit, once he had left his body. I was completely unprepared. I had no idea such a thing could even happen.
That was such a monumental event, it left me wondering and questioning, and that brought people and books in my life that started answering my questions as to what happened.
One of the first books was Raymond Moody's book,Life After Life, (1975). The book was about near-death experiences. And they closely matched what I had experienced when my dad died.
I had learned that reading books written by people who have had a near-death experience explains a lot about the nature of reality and what happens once we leave our body. One such book is Dannion Brinkley's Saved by the Light: The True Story of a Man Who Died Twice and the Profound Revelations He Received. (That was Dannion's first book. Since that books was written, he had his third near-death experience.)
Also reading books written by mediums like James Van Praagh offer important insight about life after death.
Reading these books, I synthesized the information to form a good picture of what happens when we die.
Possibly, the biggest learning for me came from reading Robert Monroe's three books: Journeys Out of the Body; Far Journeys; Ultimate Journey.
In the early 1950s, Robert Monroe had an "accidental" out-of-body experience that shook his world. It was so out of the ordinary that he set out on a journey to find out what's happening to him. The result was the three books and the creation of The Monroe Institute in Faber, VA, where he taught people how to leave their body at will.
I have read and re-read these books many times. They offer tremendous information about the nature of reality, about life here on this plane and life outside this plane -- if you are reading between the lines and synthesizing the information offered. Monroe only reports what happened; you have to look more deeply into it to understand what it all means.
My other source of extensive information about the nature of reality and life and death came from the many Seth books, written by Jane Roberts. If you decide to read those, it is recommended you read them in order they were written. Here I show the first two books.
Here's a short description of how I understand the process of life and death.
The soul decides it wants to enter this reality, It has specific objectives about what it wants to experience. It comes prepared with abilities to carry out its goals.
The soul comes in brining with it certain qualities, abilities and intentions and then it learns how to operate in matter and is influence by all earthly experiences.
Early on, the baby sleeps a lot; it is spending more time out of body learning things about how to do earthly life. Then sleeps less and less as it becomes more earth bound. But in my psychic readings what I see is that the souk does not really take total root in physical reality until about the teen years. Then an earthly identity is formed.
As the person progresses through life, it gets more and more focused on doing earthly life all up until it starts to think about leaving the earth plane. Then the focus, again, shifts to spending time out of body, synthesizing earth experiences with spiritual knowing. Older people sleep a lot. The focus starts to be taken off the physical. One starts "forgetting," letting go of this existence slowly.
A lot of what is diagnosed as a medical problem, like dementia is simply the person moving out of this real of existence and transitioning more into the spiritual realm.
As I said, the person starts to forget things of this life. This is critical because it allows the soul to move on. This life experience is one of many experiences the soul has in many other lifetimes and many other realities.
Once out of body, the soul spends time reviewing this life and what it has learned and correlating it to all other knowledge gained in other lifetimes and other realities. In the end, the earth personality becomes part of the larger reality of what the soul knows, what is its larger identity.
This is similar to the person having many different life experiences -- while they are the same person. So, the soul has many experiences, but they are about many lifetimes and experiences in many realities.
When we die, we are naturally drawn to move on. Most of the time, in my understanding, others, who were important to us, wait for us and help us move out of our body.
I think many people fear what will happen. I have had a number out-of-body experiences. The main thing is your consciousness is still you. You are you. You're fundamentally not associated with your body, Wherever you are as spirit is the you you are.
There are exceptions to all this, but that's too much to go into right here.
Pretty much immediately after death, as I understand it, we are in the presence of our higher self -- many Christians believe it is Christ they are with, but my understanding is you are with your higher self and you review your life. Where have a done good, where have I hurt people, what have I learned, and so on.
The there is a rest period where the soul integrates all its experiences and comes back to identity as soul, instead of just the earthly personality it has been for a short time.
After that, the soul plans, with the help of his/her higher self and spirit friends, its next incarnation or a sojourn into another plane of existence.
So, that's my understanding of what happens when we are the way out of this existence, a short explanation.