Since my mother believed in an afterlife, she assumed that my father was still there and would make contact. That’s why she wasn’t shocked when she heard his voice pretty soon after his death, saying, “We’ve got to find something about that!” What he meant by this soon became clear: he was looking for ways to inform her of his existence and to comfort her. In the eleven years that my mother survived him, he did this with great inventiveness , albeit sometimes at long intervals.
It started with the phone ringing three times at 3 AM. When my mother answered, there was silence and there was nothing on the display. The same thing happened a few nights in a row. My mother was very happy with it, convinced as she was that it was my father, and asked for more every day. Apparently that was too much to ask because on the fifth night the plane exploded and the debris was scattered throughout the room!
After this, he made my mother happy by turning on the blinking light of a device that was meant to hear the doorbell in the bedroom for about a year and a half. That device no longer worked, the battery was empty, but that did not prevent the light from flashing day and night. My mother was very happy with it, but she understood that after such a long time it had to stop. “Your father should go his own way, he must have another one,” she told me. But she missed it terribly, that light in her lonely existence.
She used to thank my father regularly for everything he had done for her. At night before going to sleep, she often sang to him the songs they sang together in Zurich cafes, when they had to earn money to supplement their much too meager income. My father studied there and I was just born. They lived on a scholarship for one person.
Six years after my father’s death, I took my mother to the doctor because she had a lump in her breast that had been there for a long time and she wanted to know if it was cancer. I had advised her not to pay any attention to it and certainly not to have it treated, because she was physically weak and after all she was already ninety.
But of course the doctor did not agree and he advised to have it removed and, if necessary, to be treated with radiation and/or chemo. If she didn’t, it could turn out to be a really nasty wound and cause a lot of trouble. Still, I advised her not to and she was happy about that, but she felt insecure about it.
That night she slept badly. But towards morning she heard a melody. It came from the device that was still in her bedroom and that had had its flashing light on for a long time. Of course no music was supposed to come out of that, it was never intended for that! It was one of the songs they used to sing together in Zurich and the lyrics, translated from Swiss-German: ‘Don’t worry about that!’ How appropriate do you want it to be?
This song now sounded from the device with some regularity, especially when my mother was struggling, but sometimes on a special day, such as their wedding day. My mother often asked for it, but sometimes there was a long silence. Both my oldest brother and myself have heard it once, so it certainly wasn’t a product of a vivid fantasy, although it was my father’s.
When my mother died and both my brothers were in the apartment together, the melody suddenly sounded again! It gave them goosebumps. My youngest brother doesn’t believe in an afterlife, but he found this very spooky and inexplicable.
Just wanted to let my father know that my mother had gained weight and that they are now together again?