Sunday, April 12, was Easter and a most un-Easter-like day it was. The weather was typical for spring in Ohio: undecided. Shall it rain? Be mild or chilly? Overcast or sunny? Mother Nature couldn’t decide.

What made the highest holy day of the liturgical calendar un-Easter-like? The shelter-at-home orders arising from the COVID-19 crisis. But this isn’t a pandemic-related post, even though the lockdown has really messed with my concept of days of the week by canceling Sunday Masses.

Easter is the day when Christians celebrate Christ rising from death. I spent Easter morning visiting the dead.

First I went to Ferncliff Cemetery where my niece, Madeline, is buried. I thought I remembered where her grave is, but I was wrong. Ferncliff has a plot locator on its website, so I checked that on my phone. No results. It appeared my niece was not in their records. However, a search from my home computer did return her record and her location. I’ll have to go back, because I did not find her plot on Easter.

Off to the Dayton National Cemetery. I had no trouble finding the columbarium and locating the niche where my father’s ashes rest. I wept a little, sniffled a lot, and talked at him. I received no sense that he listened. I did not hear his voice. I didn’t really expect to, although if I had it wouldn’t be the first time I heard the voice of the deceased.

The first time I can recall hearing the dead speak was when my maternal grandmother died. Grandma was often brusque, so her words to me were few: “I’m fine.” That’s all I heard in her distinct voice, in her distinct tone, on the way to the cemetery for the interment service. Her words echo in my brain. Many may dismiss that as a hallucination or illusion arising from grief; I choose to believe that my grandmother spoke to me. She gave me the quick reassurance I needed.

She’s fine.

I’ve never heard Madeline speak since she died, but her mother has. I don’t doubt it, because faith informs me that the souls of the deceased can communicate with the as-yet living. I haven’t heard from my father. Perhaps he thinks I need no reassurance. Perhaps I’ve outgrown or become too cynical or jaded to hear. Or perhaps it’s simply not yet time.

But I’ll continue to listen.

​I hope you had a peaceful Easter holiday.