This mod protects your items from despawning when you die by storing them on a dead body that you can later loot to get your stuff back. Your dead body is unharmed by fire, explosions, and falling, with configurations options to make your lootable bodies completely invulnerable (or more vulnerable, if you so choose). Simply right-click on a dead body to access its inventory. Use a shovel to dispose of your body after you looted it (3 hits with a shovel will remove the body).
When you die, this mod spawns a corpse (with your player skin, unless fancy corpses are disabled) and puts all of your inventory on the corpse. Damageable items suffer some damage (configurable), bit will never be destroyed. Even near-by items on the ground are sucked into your corpse, just in case you accidentally threw your sword at the zombie when you meant to attack it (D'oh!).