One of the hardest things about losing my parents and trust me when I say it has all been hard, has been removing parts of their lives from mine. For example, their personal affects. I still have Dads not so smart flip phone. I laugh when I see it but try to keep it somewhere I don’t see it very often. I still have his watch, a camo flannel shirt I will never wear in a million years…the contents of his pockets in the last pair of jeans he wore, jeans he considered his “going out jeans.”
I have some slippers mom used to wear… entirely too small for my feet but I put them on anyway just because I know at some point she had them on her little feet. A tube of lotion she never opened but must have wanted to at some point because she bought it. A pillow case she used to lay her head on. Her favorite blanket. I cannot make myself get rid of them. Any of it. Even if I have them places I cannot see. I just need to know they are there. And maybe I will have them forever and that will be ok too.
But I have held on two things that I am afraid I am going to need to let go of. Their phone numbers. At some point I removed Dad from my “favorites” which if you are like me, your favorites contain the only 5 people you probably actually physically talk to on the phone anymore. I was so sad when I did that though. Out of sight out of mind. And sometimes his absence can escape my reality and that makes me sad too. A couple days ago my Brother sent my sister and I a screen pick/grab, whatever you call them, with a notification telling him that Dad’s Cell had joined snapchat. If he is anything like me that was like a giant punch in the gut.
Today, while moving my phone I called my Mom. Who is still listed in my favorites. When I noticed my phone was dialing someone and noticed it was Mom, I almost threw up. This is not the first time I have done this either. But a sensation I cannot really describe overcame me, with an almost “what if she answered” thought tagging behind the gut wrenching sensation. I hung up as fast as I could. Now scared because WHAT IF SHE REALLY DID?
What happened next was sad on every level of sad. 50 shades of sad. Mom called back. I almost could not answer, but at my core knew I could not live with myself if I didn’t. I answered a very trepid “hello.” The caller said “hi this is Courtney, I missed your call.” To prevent Courtney from getting what would surely sound like a lunatic having a meltdown I simply said, I am sorry Courtney I dialed your # by accident. And that was it. It was sadly not my Mom saying “I was in the bathroom (always where she was when she missed a call) what did you need.” My heart broke all over again. For many reasons but the most important one being I now have to remove her from my favorites and really need to remove her from my phone book entirely but I just can’t. I also can’t be accidentally calling Courtney either. I also secretly wished it would be one of those stories where I could start calling or randomly texting this person just to see “Mom” come up and then thought that would require extra grief counseling and also Courtney didn’t sound interested in having that kind of relationship with me.
I wish when someone passes that we could retire their phone numbers like we retire sport stars jersey’s. These people that leave us are legends too, why should anyone get the opportunity to use a number that someone else has had for years? Until that happens I will remove Mom from my favorites…but “Mom” and “Dad” will probably remain in my phonebook to infinity. I just cannot let go of them.