I was bright back then (probably because I didn't have children) and I figured out the gig rather quickly--the booths where you read scriptures and sang hymns landed you a penthouse on the top floor of Heaven, but if the booth involved music, caffeinated soda or crunchy Cheetos you could bet your bottom dollar you were on the fast track to Helk.
It was a grand object lesson, which included lots of dry ice, disco balls and black lights, (as all grand object lessons did in the early eighties) and I decided to take a walk on the wild side first and get my tokens later!
You think you know where this is going, huh? Well that actually wasn't an important detail so keep paying attention.
Not even halfway through the carnival I was kidnapped. By a stake leader. Dressed in black. He took me to the dark and dreary cloak room at the front of the church and told me I wasn't allowed to speak to all the other poor souls who had been dragged away from the Cheetos.
"I am the grim reaper," he said, "and you . . . are dead."
"But I don't want to be dead," I told him.
"Too bad! You're dead," he told me. "Now sit down and shut your trap until this life is over."
I was fuming. And I wasn't about to stay dead. I mean, what a waste of dry ice and disco balls!
While all the other dead people were sitting submissively in the dark waiting for judgement day, I busted out of spirit prison to find my friends.
In fact I busted out of spirit prison several times to find my friends. The poor grim reaper. He was just trying to do his job, but I felt such an urgency to tell my friends what had happened to me and what was going down on the other side of the cloak room. I ratted out the GR and warned my friends to stay away from the Cheetos as security chased me down time and time again and returned me to the holding tank.
Dying was the best thing that happened to me that night.
Maybe because I wasn't ready to be silenced or maybe because I didn't get to tell anyone I was leaving, but the whole experience left a lasting impression.
Mostly it convinced me that I am not a happy dead person and that I literally will die if I can't pipe my thoughts to the world.
Believe me when I say as Gad as my witness, death cannot stop me from blogging my brains out.
KNOCK ON WOOD!
Just think of all the good writing material I'll have in Heaven, (especially if the whole state of Utah makes it in). I'll change my blog title to Postcards from the Edge of the Other Side of the Cloak Room and I'll be more pop-U-lar than Glinda and the Pioneer Woman put together.
But seriously, it made me wonder if our dead loved ones feel that same sense of urgency to talk to us and tell us they miss us as much as we miss them. Or tell us they are sorry for not taking John Mayer's advice and saying what they needed to say. Or just tell us what's going on the other side of the cloak room?
Four years ago, a friend, and popular ocean photographer/artist, Jon Mozo died tragically just before Valentines Day after sustaining head injuries while photographing waves at Pipeline.
At the time my daughter's choir group was raising money by selling singing telegrams and sugar cookies for V-day. I was helping decorate the cookies with some of the other moms when we discovered that Jon had ordered a Valentine cookie/singing telegram to be delivered to his wife, Nikki that day.
There, on a heart shaped love note, written in his own script, were sweet words of love and appreciation for his wife.
We all had sweaty eyes that day.
What would it be like to lose your spouse and then a few days later receive a love note from him?
Nikki also found a note in his car a week later and then still later she found another note scribbled on card stock attached to a photo of Jon surfing at the break that took his life. The note said: