My late husband, Marv Roelofs, showed up last week and sang to me. I was sitting at a church concert listening to a pianist play a medley of old hymns. When he fluidly moved into “In the Garden,” Marv’s favorite hymn, I suddenly heard Marv’s voice singing the melody his usual octave lower next to my right ear.

My eyes misted over, and I took a deep breath as I listened:

and He walks with me, and He talks with me,
and He tells me I am His own,
and the joy I hear when we tarry there,
none other has ever known.

I savored the moment, thinking his voice would fade away any second. But, as the pianist moved into “How Great Thou Art,” Marv continued singing:

O Lord, my God,
When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds thy hands hath made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then he stopped. It had been so clear, so exactly his voice, so exactly his normal wavering a bit off tune.

I forced down sobs for the rest of the medley. Wiped my eyes. Took deep breaths. What a wonderful gift to hear his voice again. To feel as if he were sitting beside me. To feel as if the five years since his terminal diagnosis had been wiped away.

Just recently I’d told the story of when Marv showed up as a visual one time. That seemed like a fluke, and I never expected it to happen again.

So what was it? Physics? Imagination? Wishful thinking? Whatever, a God-thing, of course.

Marv at his oncology visit to get the order for hospice care. Just five years ago.