This is a story about reaching the end of life.
It was recorded as part of StoryCorps’
Legacy Initiative–an effort to collect interviews with people who have life-threatening conditions.
In 2010, David Plant was diagnosed with skin cancer. Since then, the cancer has metastasized in other parts of his body.
David sat down for a StoryCorps Legacy interview with his stepson, Frank Lilley.
Click here for the transcript.
Frank Lilley (FL): My name's Frank Lilley. Difference in names is because David is my stepfather, but I certainly consider him my father. So you first met me when I was about nine or ten years old, when you married my mother. And I'm just wondering what your impressions were of me at the time.
DP: You were a good-looking, athletic guy, but you were in the unhappy situation of broken family.
FL: I didn't have a lot of people to look up to at that time--or a lot of friends, really. And so you became one of those very rapidly and that meant a lot to me. You know, I was thinking the other day how much I've looked up to you and used you as an example. And I realized that's what I'm doing right now, again. I'm watching all of this and I'm trying to learn how are you handling all this.
DP: Well, I think in a year from now I won't be here. But I'm not anxious about whether there's a heaven or whether there's music or clouds or whatever. I'm more anxious about the end of life journey. I want it to be quiet, contemplative, and calm. For me, dying... it's very enlightening and certainly rewarding. Look at the opportunity to talk, for example. It's just incredible. We would coast around having a drink before dinner, never get down to anything that was serious.
FL: That's exactly right.
DP: But I don't regard this as the terminal point of these conversations because I'm confident we're going to talk again and again.
FL: What would you like to see after you go? I mean, what is your legacy?
DP: I would just like people to believe that humility, listening to the other person and trying to understand the other person, and forgiving are important.
FL: You know, to be honest, I don't feel like I have to forgive you for anything. I'm really just very grateful and I love you and I thank you.
DP: Thank you.