Chapter 9, Way Station

way station is defined as “1 a stopping place on a journey, syn: stopover. 2. A small railway station between the principal stations or station where the train stops only on a signal. Syn: whistle stop, flag stop.”

I believe that a way station exists between our world and the next.

In a blessing to Katie from our stake president the day after Lorna passed away, she was told that it was her mother’s time to go. She could have chosen to stay, but it was her time.

I believe her decision was being made in that “way station” late Saturday night and into Sunday. I know it wasn’t an easy decision.

Lorna was in that way station when she told Calli to play the songs that were played for Katie on the way from the airport to hospital.

She was in the way station when Calli heard her mother say with a sense of urgency before Calli left the hospital that Sunday morning, “Don’t forget me. I can do things from here.”

She was in the “way station” when my neighbor Dale Palsson had the following experience.

Dale Palsson , Neighbor

When going through tough times, my father was known to say, “Whenever you think you have problems, think about what others are going through.” It was on such a Sunday morning when I was feeling burdened by life that I took a moment to reflect while sitting on my back deck.

I had just finished a book and was pondering what I had read when something in my neighbor’s backyard caught my eye. I saw what appeared to be two people walking into the yard. I say “appeared,” because what I saw was more like two individuals walking behind an opaque glass that distorts details and causes you to see only movement.

I didn’t mention it to my wife, because I really couldn’t explain it to myself, but I knew that I had seen something.

About an hour and a half later, I was seated in the chapel waiting for sacrament meeting to start. The bishop stood to conduct the meeting, and when it came time for the announcements, I was shocked at what he had to say.

Although I wasn’t paying close attention, I thought  he said that my neighbor had passed away that morning. I was struck. What did he just say? Could that be true? How did this happen? The questions came flooding into my mind. I leaned over to my wife to ask her if she had heard the same thing. The shock I saw in her face confirmed that what I thought I had heard was true.

It was later in the day when I started putting events together. Lorna had passed late in the morning, and it was around that time when I was on the deck finishing my book. The answer to what I saw was coming into focus, but I waited for the right moment to discuss it with my neighbor Craig.

Craig has always been the best neighbor one could ask for. Over the years he has shared more gospel truths and insights with me while standing in our adjoining yards than I have learned from attending a lifetime of church meetings.

After a few weeks passed, while having an impromptu conversation in the yard, I felt that I should share my experience with him. Aware that not much time had passed and that emotions were still fresh, I was surprised when he lit up and explained my experience to me in terms that once again lifted me spiritually. He testified that what I saw was his dear wife bringing her heavenly escort to their backyard.

With the help of Craig, Lorna designed and built her very own mountain retreat in their backyard. She was  proud of what she described as her favorite place, her little slice of heaven on earth.

Craig felt that she wanted one more chance to see their backyard and to show her escort what she had built. I felt the Spirit confirm in my heart and my mind that what he was sharing with me was true. The timing of my sighting corresponded almost to the minute, as far as I can recollect, with the passing of this dear neighbor of mine.

I have gained a greater perspective from this experience and know that it was a tender mercy from the Lord. Although I felt that I was carrying the weight of the world upon my shoulders, right next door, this family that I love had been carrying  much more.

I have been inspired by the grace with which the Jenkins family has managed Lorna’s passing. It does not seem to have affected them like it would most others, both in and out of the faith. They have been such an inspiration and testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and its plan of salvation for us all.

When Dale shared this experience with me, he told me he had just finished the book he was reading, closed it and looked at his watch. It was around 11:30 a.m. the same time the nurses were confirming that Lorna had passed.