I sat in a parking lot on the phone tonight and listened to my favorite aunt die.

There wasn’t much to hear, my family and cousins surrounding her bed, my uncle offering a prayer of which I could only hear the word “smile.”

My cousin gave me the play by play, my sister was holding her hand, her heart rate had slowed from 35 to 21 BPM in a matter of moments. She said she looked peaceful (my sister later added that there was a lot of snoring involved. Way to be Cheryl, way to be.)

I cried a little. I mean, every quality attribute I possess can be traced back to Aunt Cheryl.

Aunt Cheryl and me.

Then remembered that I had never seen Cheryl cry. Ever.

This is a woman who spent nearly half a century in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.

She’d be ticked off if she knew I was crying. So I quit.

You see, we Mormons have a different view on death. And Aunt Cheryl? Was totally a Mormon. Maybe the best one there ever was or will be.

Death is a separation of spirit and physical body. It is not the end. Her spirit is still very much alive and it was still very much alive as my dad held the phone up to her ear and let me say my earthly goodbyes to her.

Her spirit just happened to be stuck in a very broken and very tired body.

The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.

Alma 40:23

And what was the first thing she did with that proper and perfect frame?

Threw gang signs from heaven.

Yeesh Cheryl, I get it. You’re happy to be there. No need to show off.

Then all of a sudden there were rainbows over the cornfields on my drive home.

You win Cheryl. You win.

I will love you forever.

Until we meet again.


  1. She sounds like an amazing woman and I am glad your life has been touched by knowing her. You’ll see her again.

  2. What a beautiful post. Your Aunt Cheryl sounds absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  3. Oh, Casey. I am so sorry for the loss of your dear Aunt. I’m so happy that she’s been freed from her earthly body and that you are feeling peace right now. I know how close you were and that you will continue to miss her.

  4. I’m sorry for your loss -

  5. Sorry for your (temporary) loss. She sounds like she was a really wonderful person.

  6. Im so sorry. I love that she sent a rainbow. : ) XOXO

  7. I’m so sorry.

    Unfortunately, those are the only words I can come up with at the moment.

  8. Threw gang signs from heaven…awesome! I’m so glad you had her in your life.

  9. So sorry she’s gone, but so glad you have the comfort of knowing you’ll see her again. She sounds awesome.

  10. HeidiLee says:

    wonderful words again – I am sure you were her favorite! ;)

  11. Glorious! Glory be <3

  12. I am, so, so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you. What a beautiful tribute — we’re all a little better off knowing her through this post, I think.

  13. Your beliefs make me smile. Sometimes I think I could take a bit from here and there and there and make a religion I could stand behind. Many of your beliefs would be included. The way you see death is, oddly, peaceful

    I’m sorry for the loss of your aunt, but glad she is at peace and already showing off for you. Xo

  14. I love you! Bawlin over here. Heart with you. Can’t wait to see Cheryl run!

  15. I’m so sorry for your (in this lifetime) loss. What a lovely and peaceful way to look at her death! I hope you experience lots of comfort and love while you and your family observe her passage!

  16. Love you! Love you Aunt Cheryl!

    You always have the perfect words to say. I hope you’ll be speaking at the funeral. My dear cousin, she did hold a very very special place in her heart reserved just for you! You two were kindred spirits! It’s hard to believe she’s gone; but I can’t help but to smile thinking of her running to her sweet reunion/party! I can’t wait to see her again!

  17. Oh Casey. I’m so sorry for your loss but encouraged by your lovely words about her and her strong life. She will obviously be missed.


  18. It’s 3:26 AM as I read this. I am so very sad for you, because I know SO MUCH how terribly important she was to you.

    The only hope we have is knowing that you will see Aunt Cheryl again, in a body that’s not broken, but restored to perfection.


  19. So sorry for your loss, what a wonderful person your Aunt was, may she rest in peace.

  20. I am very sorry for your loss.

  21. She sounds like a strong wonderful person, and while it might not be the end, it’s still sad to see someone you love pass on from this world. My condolences.

  22. It was a comfort to me that my grandfather was with our Heavenly Father – but I was still sad for all of us here without him. My pastor said our time here is just a flash – soon we will all be together again. I hope happy memories prevail. You and your family are in my prayers.

  23. dude you gave me chills.

    Beautiful post. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. hugs!

  25. This is beautiful, Casey. I am so sorry for your loss, but I guess it’s ok I’m happy for Aunt Cheryl (and heaven’s) gain.


  26. That is great! What a moment to rejoice for her, she is free! I love this gospel!

  27. I’m sorry for your loss.

  28. Your first post on your aunt was so very beautiful (and it’s always touching to me to hear someone write about chronic and phantom pain like that), but to hear the things your aunt taught you was beautiful. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. My thoughts for you and your family–including all those other cousins who think they were her favorite!:)

  29. Lisa in TX says:

    You’ve got her crazy goofy smile. I love that, it looks so good on each of you.

  30. It’s never easy to say goodbye to someone we love (even if it’s just for a while). Thinking of you.

  31. Thanks for sharing your love for your sweet aunt with us. We should all be so lucky and blessed to know someone like that in our lives who loves us so much in return!

  32. You already know that Aunt Cheryl held a special place in our hearts as well. You have one more guardian angel watching over you.

  33. Thanks for sharing. I had a very special Aunt much like yours. She died way too young at age 52. It was very hard to lose her, but I knew she was finally at peace as she had been sick for awhile.

  34. so sorry for your loss and rejoicing as i am sure the angels are to finally have her home. blessings to you and your family, casey.

  35. mommabird2345 says:

    Hugs to you and your family.


  37. I’m Baptist but we view death the same way. It’s only goodbye for a little while and we know we’ll see them again in Heaven. Death is bittersweet but we always know they’re in a better place. Your aunt seems like she was fabulous.

  38. what a lovely verse. being that i’m not mormon, i had not heard of that book before, but still a VERY lovely verse. so sorry for your loss. :(

  39. I am sorry for your loss. It is good knowing this goodbye is only temporary.

  40. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  41. That was lovely, a beautiful tribute to her life.

    I’m so glad you had her.

  42. So sorry for your loss- at least here on earth. It’s a comfort knowing it’s not truly the end. *hugs*

  43. She sounds amazing and I am sure that you can’t wait until you meet again!


  44. Michelle says:

    I’m glad you’ve got great memories of your aunt, and also the knowledge that this isn’t the end. Praying that your ‘year of firsts’ without her isn’t too hard.

  45. She sounds like a wonderful person, and I’m sorry for your loss. So glad you had many happy years to be together.

  46. Sorry for your loss, Casey. It sounds like she was amazing.

  47. She sounds like an incredible woman. It’s wonderful that you were able to say your goodbyes even if you couldn’t be there.

    On a different note, the Moosh looks so much like you did when you were little!

  48. Casey, I pray you and your family will be comforted. But I am glad to see that you already have some verses of comfort and feel the assurance that you’ll see her again. She sounds like a wonderful woman.

    I also think that Addie resembles you so much as a child! Beautiful picture.

  49. Hugs to you. And while it’s a family’s loss, it’s heaven’s gain. Safe travels out west. Love the gorgeous picture. It’s amazing how losing someone gives us perspective on things.

  50. What a beautiful tribute to her. So glad she was a part of your earthly life and I know your reunion someday will be sweet…


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