What could be more inspiring than a confirmation of the hope that deceased loved ones express their continued love in actual guidance and support? That’s what I found in Kelly Paries’ new book, Kory, based on vivid experiences with Kelly’s son Kory after his tragic death in a car wreck the week of Christmas 2002.
Kelly documented her unusual experiences in a book with an equally unusual format. The first chapter is fiction and focuses on a future event, which she completes in the last chapter. Chapters 2-7 tell the actual events surrounding her son’s death. The remaining chapters are labeled fiction: they tell of Kory’s adventures in the spirit world, based on years of research plus Kelly’s visits from and dreams about Kory. The fictionalized story of what Kelly believes her son’s life in the spirit world has been so far is mesmerizing, and the actual experiences with his death and her life since are authentic and touching. I’ve never seen anything quite like the structure of this book, but it works.
What Is It Like in the Spirit World?
I have a deep interest in this subject matter since I too have a son in the spirit world. However, I believe the book would be fascinating to anyone. Who doesn’t wonder what it is like in the spirit world? Who doesn’t yearn for assurance that our loved ones there are not only mindful of us but can help us? Who wouldn’t love to know that we are not alone no matter how alone we may feel here?
A real plus for me was that Kelly’s book has gospel soundness. Nothing sticks out as being implausible or contradictory to the gospel research I’ve done on death and the spirit world. I think she was wise to call the parts fiction that would be impossible to either document or to present every detail or conversation as fact. But she also indicates that her son has communicated to her what his life is like in the spirit world, and that the fiction parts mirror the information he has transmitted. The fiction parts are full of good tidings . . . hopeful . . . reassuring . . . comforting. Oh, don’t we need that kind of thing in this crazy mixed-up world that is so full of loss?
Are Departed Loved Ones Assigned to Help Us?
In the preface to her book, Kelly wrote, “We wonder where our loved ones are after they die. What are they doing? Are they aware of the pain we are feeling? Are they aware of how much we miss them? If we could only talk to them or feel their presence for just a moment! I am here to tell you that they are closer than we realize, sometimes standing by our sides in our darkest hours. I have learned for myself that our loved ones who have departed this world have never really left us. They are still very much involved with our lives. They are involved in a journey of their own and are learning and growing, but we remain one of their first priorities. Guardian angels are real, and most of us have the privilege of knowing ours personally. I pray that this book will answer some of the questions and concerns you might have about death. After all, death is only a door to a greater adventure.”
On page 205 Kelly said, “Kory felt great yearnings to be able to assist his family. He was guided from the moment of his arrival to pursue learning so that he could be better prepared to assist them. When Kory had first arrived in the spirit world, he learned that others had been offering assistance to his family. Those individuals consisted of his mother’s father, great-grandparents, and aunts and uncles. A relative who had lived in an earlier era had been involved occasionally, until new spirits arrived who had a closer, more intimate relationships to the family or to individuals. Deceased loved ones have a greater love and understanding of their family member or close friends and have a more complete knowledge of how to serve and comfort them.”
Kelly suggests in a straight forward way how help might happen. On page 120 she said, “Whenever Kory felt that great need to see his family, he was able to go to the viewing room and watch their progress through the day. He was also able to go and help them and offer comfort to them in times of need. Sometimes he would get assignments, usually in direct request of a prayer that was being pleaded from the mortal sphere. Someone in authority would then seek out Kory and tell him he was needed to offer comfort or guidance. He loves those precious times that he got to visit mortality and help his family. He loved thinking about being their guardian angel, and the thought made him smile.” Later, on page 207, Kelly explains, “He had to learn to be patient. He was not able to assist his family in big challenges by himself at first. Once he had received the higher priesthood in the temple, he was able to be where he wanted to be in helping his family, and he was assigned as their primary guardian.”
Kelly illustrates with several fictional examples of Kory’s involvement with his family, such as being with his brother Kris during asurgery on a tumor on his head when he was a missionary in Portugal and an emergency appendectomy later. Kory realized that had he still been on earth he would not have been able to be with and help his brother, who was feeling so alone. In the difficult months Randy, Kory’s father, was being treated for cancer, Kelly strongly feels that Kory was closely involved. In monthly temple “visits” with Kory, Kelly was constantly reassured and comforted by him.
The book Kory touches on many other interesting aspects of life in the spirit world: what it looks like, how people interact and help each other, how they learn and experience things with more than five senses, how they go back and forth through the veil, what their spirit bodies and clothing are like, and much more.
In the final chapter we read a beautiful fictionalized account of Kory’s resurrection at the time of the second coming, where the righteous are “caught up” to meet the Savior. It feels right. It feels good. Kelly’s inspired words calm my troubled heart. Her book, truly a labor of love, is certainly worth the read. I will continue to think about it and ponder the ideas it contains.