A friend of mine has been writing about death. That sparks a new topic for me. Be forewarned, my religion taints every aspect of this topic, so I see death through Mormon eyes.
The closest relative of mine that has died would have to be my grandparents. Two of my grandparents died before I was even born, but these two grandparents I knew fairly well, having lived with my grandmother for a year. It was very hard to see them go. I can't imagine what it would be like if, heaven forbid, it were one of my children or my husband that died. My parents are getting up in age and I know that they won't be with us forever, and I'm sure that will be very hard as well.
When my grandmother died, I had this sense that she really wasn't gone. For me it was like she had moved to another state, and I wouldn't be able to visit her. I can feel that she still exists, but I will have to wait until it is my time to be able to see her again. But I have no doubt that I will indeed see her again.
I have no proof of myself that we exist after we die, but I have sensed my grandfather's presence at difficult times in my life. I know that he is concerned about me and that he keeps watch. My husband has had similar experiences with his Grandfather, with whom he had a very close relationship.
Brigham Young, one of our Church Presidents and Prophet once said, "The dead know our thoughts, and are often pained thereby.". I haven't always spoken respectfully of the dead, so I'm sure that statement is true. But I do believe that the opposite is true as well. If they know our thoughts, then they know of our love and admiration for them also. I don't think it is weird, or crazy, to on occasion say what we would like to say to our departed loved ones. I don't know that it is healthy to make that a daily practice, but if there are unsaid words, I think they can still be said.
I often wonder about what they are doing in the Spirit World. In our religion we believe that the body and the spirit separate at death, to be reunited at the resurrection in the future. The body is buried, and the spirit goes to a spirit world. I kind of look at it this way: Just as our body has a spirit, our World has a spirit also. That is the place where those who have passed on dwell. Those who pass on are busy learning all those things that weren't available to them in this world. They have other work too, I am sure.
I've read alot of books about near death experiences. The one thing that I see voiced over and over is that those who have passed on would want us to not worry about them. They are free from the cares and troubles of this world. Now that they have seen for themselves the big picture, they don't have the same fears that we do about the purpose of this life and what will happen after death. They would want us to be at peace also.