I believe that death is just an end to beliefs.
I believe when you die that you will still experience yourself as you are ( unless you are enlightened and a fully ascended ), your frequency will change and you will resonate with other who have died, and you will appear in their dimension and not the physical realm ( although it is still very much a physical realm just not as dense ). In a sense the way I see it, is kinda of like going into the Astral or dreaming. In the 3D world we have parameters down here that we strictly enforce (unconsciously) as co-creators of this dimension. Things such as nobody can fly and things are not spontaneous or instant, so if you manifest in the 3d realm it takes it's sweet ol' time to get to you. And everything is denser, time is slower etc.
When you die you no longer play by the rules. So in that sense you are freer ( how can you not be free of the mind's games, you just died? What else could be done to prove to you this world is not all that is, and life goes on? ) But I think this happens to certain "awakened" individuals. I think individuals who spent their lives here on this planet wasting their opportunities, not believing they deserved to be free and happy will have to go through a cycle in the 3D world as a less conscious being.
For example, if you were a human and the goal of humanity to me in my opinion is to find our your individual truth and IF you are given a life with the luxury of comfort so you can afford to do that, but you avoid that instead opting to play a game of living to exist, not existing to live fully. Like just eating, watching tv every night, believing everything told to you, believing you deserve to suffer and just "tipping away" at life doing a job you hate, not expanding your experience. I believe that you would be reincarnated into an existence that is lesser than the one you had.* Perhaps you will be a pampered cat or a starving child in Calcutta. Perhaps you will be a weed or a grass blade. You could be a gust of wind. Based on how you used your life experience and your consciousness during that life will determine what you deserve to be next in my opinion. If you didn't live consciously enough well then the universe will give you a life experience that you won't have to. If you looked the gift of life in the mouth it will look right back at you.
(*Lesser in the sense of conscious living, so if you are a human and your are a cat your conscious awareness itself is a lesser experience, and this is why it's important to have pets so that we help them ascend by taking care of their needs so their consciousness can expand but that's a topic for another day )
However, if you had the same life and you used it to expand your knowledge of yourself, to seek truth, to become the best you can be, to live consciously, well then in my opinion you will die consciously too and in that comes the boon of choice. You can perhaps choose to go back to the 3D - but that choice will come with a leap of choosing to forget what you already know, to be learned again. You will know it on a soul-level, and you may meet people in your next 3D life who will trigger that knowledge within, that inner truth and knowing, but your 3D mind will have to unlock it all again for itself... Perhaps you can be born into any life you desire or perhaps you can remain in the higher realms, and here in the higher realms you continually grow from your perspective and expand upon what you already know.
I think that when people die they are still "alive" it's just their dimension and vibration is much less dense than ours so we rarely have experiences of them. The soul sheds the dense body it was once animating, but it still has a body for the next dimension.
That's my take...and though I still feel it as true for me I also still feel fear even though I know it's totally irrational because I have personally experienced numerous times proof for me that life DOES go on in this manner. But the fear is still so deeply ingrained, isn't it?
I should go into much more detail, perhaps i will write a book.... this is only the tip of the iceberg of what I am trying to say !!
I'd also like to add that I think Karma is a self-perpetuating energy on some level.
Say I stole a pair of earrings from a shop and I felt really guilty about it, well then karma would come back to pay me because I believe in Karma and believe that will happen.
Say I stole wine and didn't resent it or myself for doing so, in fact I felt really good, then Karma might not come back to hurt me because I don't believe I deserve it.
The reason I say this is because I've seen so many people do things many would consider inherently wrong. And gone on to live fantastic lives and never in lack of anything.
And I've seen people who live their lives inherently good and never stepping toes out of line, literally, almost afraid to do something bad - and those people struggle and the worst things seem to follow them.