Last night I had the honor of speaking on the phone with my grandfather Lynn. He had been confined to a hospice bed for the past several months, and his quality of life was not improving. He decided it was time to go. He picked a day and a time, and my mom let me know. So I gave him a call a couple hours prior.
I wasn’t expecting him to be so alert or awake. I was not expecting the power still in his voice, even between the extra breaths he had to take between words. I also wasn’t expecting to ask him any questions, or say much at all, but in the 20 minutes I got to hear some of his last messages, there was an exchange I’ll be able to cherish forever.
The conversation was of the oddest circumstances I’ve ever been in, but that made his words all the more poignant. After all, I’ve never spoken to a man that was planning on dying within the next hour or two—much less a man that was so resolved on what was the next step, that I was given no doubt in my mind to what will happen either. Papa, was a member of the Mormon faith, and part of those beliefs include a perspective on the afterlife that no one else has. It’s unique. And it’s beautiful. And it’s true. But you can ask me more about that later.
I managed to write down a few words of his as we spoke, and I would like to share them with you now.
Me: Are you scared?
Papa: No. Not at all. I’m looking forward to it, I really am. Just sad to be leaving the family and people I know here, but I’ve been looking forward to dying for about a year and a half, but nothing’s happened – so I have to hasten the process along. And today’s the day.
What is one thing you’re not sure will be in the next life but you want to be?
In this life, we spend so much of our time on food, clothes, etc. Then we get to the spirit world, where we don’t need those things – what do we do with all that time? I don’t know. I don’t know if there are people who have been able to make a connection to family still living, and I hope that’s possible. But I don’t know how that works. Oh well. Just have to find out.
If you could eat, what would be your first meal in the Spirit World?
The problem is that when you talk about meals, you talk about what your physical body likes, what you crave and so forth. So to be in the spirit world and not have a body, it’s hard to say what kind of a meal would be the best or most desirable, because it’s the body that enjoys sensations of a good meal, and if you don’t have your body there, then I don’t know. Maybe it’s all dessert.
What are the two most important things you’ve learned in your entire life:
The first is believing in the Plan of Salvation, which gives you the direction—roadmap to get where you need to go. The second, I guess it’s that whatever you do, you need to do it well. Do it to the best of your ability. Never put yourself in a position to say, “I wish I would have done that.” Do everything you can within your circumstances. And that will be enough.