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. 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…

  2. I don’t think that death is the end, either. It just can’t be. I am so glad your aunt was your kindred spirit.

  3. Beautiful. <3



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