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Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from ‘The Message From Our Side”. To get your copy, click here.
“To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish.”*
I was that worm until my husband spent six weeks in a coma, came back, and showed us life after horseradish.
Lance seemed to be filled with an overwhelming need for something, too. He mouthed the same three words to us with urgency, over and over again. His eyes showed his great desire for us to understand. But for what seemed like an eternity, he was not strong enough to move his arms and hands enough to write, and because of the tracheostomy, speech was impossible. We all made futile attempts to guess what his passionately mouthed words could possibly mean.
“I’VE BEEN THERE! I’VE BEEN THERE!” was what he was trying to say.
“Been where? What are you talking about?”
Here are just a couple of the stories he shared with us that he experienced while in the next life. I know they are true because I know Lance Richardson. I’ll let him describe what he experienced in his own words. This first story happened with his grandfather on his dad’s side, who helped show him how things work in the next life, and who had died many years previous.
As I beheld my grandfather observing his son, my father, who was carefully considering the impact a new regulation would have upon the people, I could see the pride in his eyes. I could see the love he had for my father. I had not noted the resemblance between them until then, but I was moved with a knowledge of how my grandfather was so much a part of my father, as he was also a part of me. Some of his characteristics had been carried on in each of us, and he watched with pride as his son worked.
A wonderful thing happened as we observed my father. I watched my grandfather walk up to my dad and lean to his ear and say, ‘Mel, you need to give Lance a blessing today, and you have to catch an airplane in twenty minutes.’
I watched as my father suddenly reacted with a start, and looked at his watch.
‘Oh, boy!’ he exclaimed. ‘I forgot! I am supposed to be catching an airplane in twenty minutes!’ He turned to someone standing there and told them that he had to leave immediately. I looked at a clock on the wall. It was 1:30 p.m.
We followed my father as he gathered his things, headed across the capitol building, crossed the parking lot to his car, and drove to the Boise airport. I saw every road he turned on, watched him park in long-term parking, catch a shuttle to the terminal, and witnessed him cross the tarmac to the plane.
We headed back into the Spirit World. Along the way, however, my mind was spinning. What I had witnessed was a most amazing thing. My father had clearly heard my grandfather’s promptings and instantly reacted. He had not known his father was speaking to him, nor even that the inspiration came from God. But it had. Now I wondered how many times I had been inspired by unseen ministering servants of God, sent to assist me? How many times had I thought I suddenly had a most important idea and assumed I was the one with such great intellect? I was sobered by the thought.
Then my mother said to me, ‘Lance, your father gave you a special blessing while you were in your coma and things were at their worst. It probably saved your life.’
‘Yes, I did,’ Dad answered. ‘I was over in Boise…’
With the mention of the word Boise, my memory of the experience with Grandpa and my dad flooded into my mind.
‘I know,’ I said. ‘But Grandpa was helping you.’
Dad then shared with me another miraculous part of the story. He had flown home each Friday evening on the 5:20 p.m. flight. Mom would leave me at the hospital to pick him up at the airport, and they would drive to the hospital to see how I was doing.
Dad would call and schedule his flights for several weeks at a time. When he called to schedule this flight and a few others, he was informed that the only seat available on that particular Friday would be on the 1:50 flight. Every other Friday had openings on the 5:20. Having no other choice, he scheduled himself to fly on the 1:50 flight, but was hoping to be able to rearrange this later, as he would not be finished with his Senatorial work for the week by the time the flight left.
Unfortunately, Dad forgot about all of this until that very Friday when Grandpa and I visited him. Now I understood perfectly why Grandpa had needed to prompt Dad to leave when he did. Particularly in light of the blessing I received later that day under my father’s hand.
There was another miracle taking place as far as my mother was concerned. She had been sitting with me in the hospital that particular day. Things with my health were at their worst. One of my doctors had just called my mother into the hall to inform her that there didn’t seem to be anything else they could do for me. They could see they were losing ground. It appeared I was dying, and they were not sure I would survive through the afternoon.
Mom was distraught. My family had begun to fear the worst, and Mom was not sure she could handle such news. At that moment, when things looked bleakest, Dad, who had caught a ride with another legislator from the airport to the hospital, began to walk down the hall toward my mother and the doctor. Mom knew Dad should not be home until after 6:30 that evening. To her it was an absolute miracle to have him arrive there at such an important moment.
Dad went home and prayed desperately for God to give him inspiration as to what he should do and say. He shared with us that he felt the words come into his mind that he was to say in the blessing. He said that this was perhaps the only time in his life he had ever felt God inspire him with specific words to say in a blessing. But for some reason it was important at that time.
This entire experience was most remarkable. We all knew that there was no way I could have known these particular details and facts, had I not been present. It became a physical evidence of the truth of my journey to the other side.
“My cousin, Randy (who had died almost 20 years previous of leukemia) escorted me to where my wife was, and then told me he would be back in a minute. My wife was driving our Suburban into town at the time. I was able to literally sit down in the passenger seat next to her. The radio was on and she was singing along with it. It happened to be a song called, ‘God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You.’ She was crying as she sang. There was no doubt of whom she was thinking at that moment.
I watched her momentarily and kind of chuckled to think I was sitting there watching her singing. But the song and her tears touched me deeply. As she wiped them from her cheeks, I began to feel emotional, as well. I began to cry.
‘Jozet, dear. I love you. I am coming back. They have promised me now that I get to come back.’ I watched for any reaction from her that might tell me she was feeling my presence or hearing my words in her mind.
‘I am really coming back, dear, I really am. Just hold on a while longer.’ Then she turned and looked my direction. I could not tell at that moment if she knew I was there, but she seemed as if she had felt something.
I watched her look around, as if to see if someone was there.
*From Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Seeing beyond the Leaf,” (address given at the Brigham Young University Church History Symposium, Mar. 7, 2014).