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What Will Happen to Your Body After You Die?

By 14/09/2017January 12th, 2018thoughts
Writers after death

Writers after deathSome people do not like speaking or thinking of death, but is a part of the process of life, its only predictable part, the very end. Writers routinely deal deaths to their characters, and readers often bemoan these.

Death will come to all of us, and the body that has been ours for all our lives will be ours no longer.

Religions prescribe what should happen to a body after the person has passed on, but some countries allow its citizens to donate their bodies for research. I recently read about one such ‘Body farm’ in Texas— on a writers forum, of course.

I confess to not bothering too much about what will happen to my body once I die–in Singapore you are a compulsory organ donor, you have to opt out of it if you don’t want to donate. Beyond organ donation, I’m not really bothered–I won’t be there, and won’t have any control over what happens. I’d love for it to be of use to other humans, animals, plants. From dust we rise, and to dust we shall return and stuff like that.

Writers are often called upon by their art to imagine various situations, and readers/ TV audiences absorb a variety of stories about people, living and dead. Based on these, and your life experiences, what are your thoughts on your body after you are gone?

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Ben Aqiba says:


    you have a great blog here. And above in your tittle is great question.Yea, death will come,that is some kind of universal justice. But since we are energy beings , and energy never dies, I believe that we will just change our shape and form after death 🙂

    Thank you

  • Interesting discussion. I’ve always been sure of what I wanted to be done to me after I’m gone. Bury me in the land of my native village so I become one with that very place from where my roots emanate. Thank you for this thought provoking post ?

  • I’m fascinated to read these comments and see that people assume there will be someone to ensure that their body will be in the right place for organs to be harvested or that they will only die when they are old.

    I came back from a long trip a few months ago. As soon as I opened the front door of my house I was hit by a putrid smell. Long story short I found a dead rat in my study, the room where I’m sitting writing this now. It had tried to chew its way out through the door but didn’t manage. I’m guessing dehydration was the cause of death. It didn’t seem to be dead all that long, maybe just a couple of days. There were no visible maggots yet but it was ripe and it stank. If there was an organ harvesting market for rats this ones organs would have been past their reap-by date. It took me a bit of effort and a lot of gagging to remove the body and clean up afterwards, and while I did so I couldn’t help thinking that the rat could be me – dead, alone in a room, unfound for days.

  • I probably spend way too much time thinking about this. I’m not concerned much with what happens to my body, but as a Christian I wonder how I’d be reborn on Earth if I chose to cremate my remains. I’m secure in what happens to my soul after this body passes, but I hope to find a way back to tell people that all of what happens in the afterlife is real.

    • datmama4 says:

      I plan on cremation, and my thoughts (also as a Christian) are that it’s not going to create any hardship for God to do what he needs to for me to have a new body when the time comes. Think of people who have been in horrific accidents . . . God’s pretty capable of taking care of that. 🙂

  • dgkaye says:

    I’m definitely in the camp of “I don’t want to think about it” <3

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I’ve donated everything, but I’m afraid I’m going to use it all to the max before I exit. I’m trying. The body isn’t who I am, but it has been a very convenient package, and I’m grateful for it and my parents who gave it to me.

  • macjam47 says:

    An interesting post, Damyanti. Our family has opted to donate our organs for the same reasons you mentioned. Here, in the US, it is something you have to sign up for when you renew your driver’s license if you want to be a donor.
    Have a wonderful week, my friend. <3

  • I read a fascinating book titled Stiff, by journalist Mary Roach, on the subject. It is very detailed so you need a strong stomach, but she writes with a lovely humorous style. I am very keen to be recycled if possible.

  • ccyager says:

    My body shall be cremated. It has too many medical issues to be of use as an organ donor, actually; e.g. right now I cannot donate blood because of those issues and the medication I’m on for them. I had thought about donating my body for medical research, but then decided that I’d prefer to be ALIVE and see the research progress and possibly result in something. To that end, I am enrolled in several on-going studies regarding a couple of my medical issues. I participate in the appropriate ways as asked. I’ve also had medical peer-reviewed papers written about me because of the rarity of some of my issues. It pleases me no end that I can be of service to the medical community in this way so that perhaps someone else won’t need to go through what I’ve gone through the last 20+ years. I think it is crucial for an individual to insure that his or her wishes are known by next of kin, and that those wishes are in writing in a legally binding form.

    Killing off characters in my fiction is not really much of a pleasure. I find it shocking at times when a character dies. But death is a part of life, and I know that it’s really not as scary as most people think. We each have a time to leave this life.

  • Shilpa Garg says:

    I am an organ donor too. I keep telling my husband to remember that and not forget in the heat of the moment 😀 I am not at all worried about my death, but I do fear the loss of my loved ones!

  • simonfalk28 says:

    It will decompose and provide nutrients for the earth and on goes the cycle. I kind of like that my body can give in that way. Coming from a Catholic-Christian tradition, I’m happy to believe that our soul lives on and still has a loving connection with loved ones.

  • There’s only one thing certain in life and that is death! We’re so pleased to read your open minded thoughts regarding death and your willingness to share them publicly. In Australia we have an opt-in system so it can be challenging to convince people to register their donor decision. We think it is important to break down the barriers that prevent us from talking about death and make sure you know what your loved ones want at the end of life. We appreciate reading what you want for your body when you die and we hope this inspires others to think about what they want, but most importantly to share that decision with their friends and family.

  • I’m an organ donor too, Damyanti. Then the rest will be cremated and sprinkled somewhere lovely. 😀

  • Glynis Jolly says:

    I will be donating my body to science. I just think taking up space in the ground is wrong. Although some go with cremation, that seems like such a waste when maybe someone can learn from my remains.

  • Shilpa Gupte says:

    I am an organ donor, too, and just want my body to be of use to others after I am gone. Beyond that, I, too, am not concerned! 🙂

  • ShoePenLens says:

    I think the body goes back to the dust, the earth as you mentioned but the soul lingers on or dissolves in to the cosmic…. Well that’s food for thought ☺?

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – everyone’s given much the same answer I’d give … cheap and cheerful and spread if possible in Cornwall in a Cornish churchyard … cheers Hilary

  • Eileen Sim says:

    I told my husband I don’t care what is done to my body after I am dead. He can donate my body/organs if they are of use. If not, my body should preferably be disposed in the cheapest way possible and a funeral is not necessary.

  • Peter Nena says:

    I think of death at least once a day. I’m no longer scared of it. I’d love to donate my body, though. And then get cremated afterwards. I think it is a terrible waste of excellent trees to build coffins. People waste the earth enough when they are alive. They shouldn’t be allowed to waste it anymore once they are dead.

  • Rachna says:

    Like you, I have pledged my body for organ donation. Beyond that I am really not too concerned.

  • I would like for my organs to be donated and my body cremated. I don’t mind my body being used for science either, though.

  • I must confess that I am terrified of death and often wonder what happens to the body after we die. The idea of a body-farm sounds gruesome! 🙂

  • datmama4 says:

    All I know is that once I’m dead, I’ll have no further use for my body where I’m going, so if anyone wants it, they can have it. Organs can be donated if needed, but otherwise, my kids have orders to cremate me and put my ashes somewhere fun.

  • Indeed mother earth will host our bodies for a while when we die. But there is something beyond we can have a hope for.

  • My body is old and worn out; nobody wants my donated eyes, heart, etc., so I have a paid-up international cremation card. International so that if I am visiting any of my children when I die, they can make one phone call and everything is taken care of–even the removal of metal knee and ankle. And they in time will be presented with an urn and will scatter my ashes at my favorite spot–the flea market at the Opera in Santa Fe. “It may be illegal,” I cautioned them. “No problem,” they said. So I can imagine them leaving me there, where the shopping and the view will satisfy me forever.

  • I know where my soul goes so it doesn’t matter what happens to my body. It’s only a shell.

  • JT Twissel says:

    I don’t mind donating organs but I’d rather my body not be hacked into by students!

  • I’m about to let a character meet her inevitable end — it occurs to me that I better figure out really fast her attitude and decision on what happens after she dies!

  • My great-aut donated her body to science. She decided she’d be done with it, why not have it help young medical students?

  • I’ve thought about death and had numerous conversations with my family about what I’d like them to do – cremate me, then bury my ashes in the garden at the family home. My older sister, who is a strong proponent for our traditional burial rites, was unimpressed and said: “You won’t care what we do with your body. You’ll be dead!” But all my other siblings agreed that cremating me and letting my dust be fertiliser in our garden in a good idea.

  • Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, said this in his song Miles from Nowhere:

    Lord my body, has been a good friend,
    but I won’t need it, when I reach the end.

    and then…

    I love everything
    So don’t it make you feel sad
    ’cause I’ll drink to you, my baby,
    I’ll think to that.

    Yeah, everything for me can be found in a song.
    Or a Seinfeld episode.

  • Billybuc says:

    Well, I’m sixty-nine, so I guess I’ll find out sooner rather than later. LOL Seriously, I don’t give much thought to death. I’m too busy living.

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