With Father’s Day approaching, my mind becomes consumed with memories of my father and a story about his passing that has a paranormal twist you may appreciate….
Daddy was diagnosed with colon cancer and lived for about two years before crossing over in April, 1991. I remember him as a man with an incredibly calm disposition. He rarely showed anger and if he did, it didn’t last long. I also remember him as a very devoted Christian. My parents divorced when I was very young, but I remember spending many weekends and summer vacations with Daddy over the years. If I forgot to pack a dress for Sunday church, he took me to one of the malls in Memphis, Tennessee and bought me something to wear. We didn’t miss church. Even though he slept through most of the service. He had a condition known as sleep narcolepsy. Usually, my brother and I would sit on each side of him putting him in the middle so that if he began to snore, we could jab him in the ribs from both sides.
I also remember that he definitely believed in an afterlife. He believed that the soul lived on. In fact, this was so important to him that he had a conversation with my uncle while he was a patient at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis. The conversation went something like this.
Daddy: Jake, I want you to know that I am going to heaven when I die.
Jake: (Looking surprised at this sudden affirmation from Daddy) Ok, Landon. I believe you.
Daddy: I mean it. I really want you to know that.
Jake: I believe you. But I tell you what. Why don’t you send me a sign to let me know that you’ve made it?
Daddy: Ok, what kind of sign?
Jake: (Thinks for a minute) I know. Remember those old tombstones standing in the middle of the wheat field at mom and pop’s house? You know, Dr. Ross. The ones that have been there for over a hundred years?
Daddy: Yeah, Yeah. I know.
Jake: Ok. Then knock them over.
Daddy: You want me to knock them over as my sign?
Jake: Yeah, knock them over. I’ll know it’s you when I look out the kitchen window and don’t see them.
Fast forward one year later in May, 1992. I get a telephone call at 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday night. Uncle Jake precedes to tell me about the above conversation before he informs me that the tomb stones have been knocked down. Not just knocked down, but knocked completely off a concrete base weighing several hundred pounds. And no one really knows how many days that the tombstones had been in that condition. What could have caused it? These tombstones had been standing in the middle of a wheat field for over one hundred years. Surrounded by tall, waist high wheat. Fields that my uncle farmed. Maybe a prank by a group of teenagers? How did they get to the middle of the field without an ATV or something that would have indicated traffic through the field? And who would have known about the location? Bad weather? There had not been a storm in weeks. Earthquake? Since this was in Missouri, my uncle did inquire about any local tremors. NONE. I was stunned to hear this and told my uncle that I wanted to come and have a look. My brother and I made plans to view the graves the following weekend.
When we arrived, my uncle was just as eager for me to see the graves as I was. We walked through the fields with wheat already growing waist high. There it was. Just as he had described it. A century old tombstone completely busted away from its base. It was massive. Huge. Solid concrete. I stood and stared for a few minutes. I found myself searching for a logical explanation. Was this Daddy’s sign?
During the ride home, I pondered over the event. A comforting feeling washed over me. A feeling of awe and wonder. Amazement. This was definitely Daddy’s style. During his struggle with cancer, he shared his Christian testimony with many and touched lives during his stay at St. Francis. Was he now in the afterlife still reaching souls through a supernatural message that would be shared with thousands?
I opened the front door and flicked on the lights. It was just me in the apartment. Alone. I sat down at my antique writing desk and picked up my pen. Words began to pour from my fingers.
Dear Daddy, I heard that you made it.