My father, several years before he shot himself, told me where he wished to be buried. It was during the trip home from my grandmother’s funeral. He said he wanted to rest in my mother’s family-cemetery out in the country where there were trees and birds and farm sounds—not the cemetery plot that he and Mom had picked out two decades ago. When Daddy died, I felt a great need to honor his wishes, but chose not to go against my mother. She wanted him in the in-town plot. It was closer and paid for. There was enough stress without my making a big deal. But still, I felt that we had put him in the wrong place. It nagged at me.
One day driving to work, window down, I heard bird songs along the country road. My mind worked on a ridiculous plan to dig him up when Mom died and bury him in the right place. That’s when I actually heard my father’s voice speak with that same grinning-tone that always tried to talk me out of things. “Don’t worry about that, Karen,” he said, “I kinda like hearing the traffic. It’s ok.”
Hot and cold at the same time, I pulled over to the side of the road to let sink what had just happened. For the last few weeks, yes, I had heard the memory of my father’s voice, but today—I felt him actually near me. I heard his voice. It was different from remembering it.
I never knew how to explain that moment. I gave up the particular worry over where he was buried. The rest of the day felt light and easy. It was probably the first light and easy day I’d had since I had found my father’s body. Later in the evening, I wished he had of explained what in the hell he was thinking.
Who’s to say what’s real? It’s faith that gives a miracle its nourishment.