I believe we manifest in life where we end up after death. I figured that spirits who haunt or stay about sometimes lose their way, that the power of thought of a certain mindset keeps them pigeon-holed. Just my $.02
As for my thoughts, I believe that our souls go through a system not unlike public school. We have umpteen years of preschool, elementary, middle, and so on, we level up as we accomplish the lessons we set out to do. I believe that we travel in groups, our soul groups, and that when some arrive here earlier and leave before we do some choose to stay and wait until others in their group pass on as well. I haven't quite figured out how it all works. I've read widely varying opinions on the subject and with trying to decipher my own experiences I'm left with more questions.
Those in my family whom I was close to and have passed on have almost always come to me in dreams some time after to say goodbye or provide some sort of closure. It took me some time to figure this out, I noticed that these particular dreams were very different from my usual dreamtime. The colors were more sharp, I could see them and everything very clearly (whereas in most of my dreams there is a haze and I tend to only see what I try to focus on in my peripheral vision). With the exception of my paternal grandfather I have been visited by every loved one who has passed during my life. Ironically it is with this grandfather that I struggle with closure. He passed when I was 12 and his was the only wake I was not allowed to attend. This side of my family was Irish, so wakes were a part of life and I had attended wakes from a young age. So I never saw him ailing or passed and he has never visited me so this is the basis for my speculations of the afterlife and the variables therein.
I think for the most part we stay near one another, as predetermined before we enter this life. I know my maternal grandmother is around me since her passing in 2002, I hear her, smell her and feel her presence quite often. My grandfather (maternal) pops in and out as well. This isn't only my family either, when I do readings for people I'll sometimes get messages and whatnot from family members. Usually a hey or a short sentence and they toss in a pet name of the person I am doing the reading for as (I think) a way of giving their message credence. It cements my belief that there is more beyond this earthly life.
This post is part of the 44 Days of Witchery