“WHEN SOMEBODY GOES AWAY THERE'S THINGS YOU WANT TO TELL THEM. WHEN SOMEBODY DIES MAYBE THAT'S THE WORST THING. YOU WANT TO TELL THEM THINGS THAT HAPPEN AFTER.”
I dialed my Dad’s phone number the other day. It was a totally natural thing for me to do before but now it was just unsettling. My daughter had been awarded a fellowship to do community service this summer in Ohio and I had to tell someone. When it was something about my girls I would always telephone my Dad first.
I caught myself when the number appeared on the phone screen.
Harriet M. Welsh knew this type of confidence. To childrens’ book lovers she’s better known as “Harriet the Spy.” That was one of my favorite books when I was about 11. When Harriet lost her nanny Ole Golly she couldn’t share things with her in the same way.
This is the part of grief that will always stay. My mother died when I was 20. I was grown up physically but so far from grown up otherwise. Her death was sudden and very unexpected. There isn’t a day in the last thirty years I haven’t thought about her; what she would say, how she would do things, what she would think about what I have done in my life. I have had less time with her on this earth than without her. And boy, I would love to have my girls spend just one day with their grandmother. And they think I am blunt.
I would love to have just one more day to tell her "things."
Having a good memory is both a blessing and a curse. I still have my old phone numbers memorized: The childhood one when we lived in the city and the adolescent one when my family moved “down the shore”. And now of course, my Dad's.
But no one will answer them now.
That's the worst thing.