I am so proud to be up on The Manifest Station today with a piece that is near and dear to my heart. It’s been rejected four times by other sites. Yep, four times. But I loved it. It’s about my dad. It’s about one of the most absurd situations I have ever dealt with as an adult. It was literally writing my heart. And although I wanted to throw in the towel and just shelf the essay, I just kept sending it in.

My dad still teaches me life lessons from the grave.

A Choice of Wood

“I can’t do it. I can’t go into the room with all the caskets. I can’t do it again,” she told me.

“It’s okay, Mom. I’ll take care of everything,” I stated easily, as I knew that my father wanted to be cremated, which reduced the decision-making burden. Although I was the youngest in my family, the responsibility would be mine. My brother and sister had their children to manage, and I was the most involved when it came to my dad’s care.

“Just do what you think is right. I just need you to take care of it.”

My mom wasn’t much older than I was when she buried her own mother, along with three teenage siblings. They died in a fire started from bad electrical wiring in their dilapidated Ohio farm house. As the oldest of eight, she managed the burial arrangements, and selected the caskets for her teenage brothers and sister. The act of selecting small coffins for young people yet to reach their prime crushed her to the core. It was a weight she carried around with her each day.

She was the strongest woman I knew, but even she had her limits.

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