Friday, January 29, 2010

call me

I haven't called Jeff's number in almost two years. In the first few days after he died, I called him repeatedly....apologizing. Wishing I could have saved him. Begging him to come home.

His cell phone number is still programmed into the home phone and my cell phone. I will never be able to delete it. If it is on my phone, it seems that he is just a call away. Not too far.

Our home phone had a special ring programmed announcing that the caller was him. Some classical song that was exciting and uplifting. When I'd hear it, I would bolt from whatever task I was involved in and launch myself over children and furniture to catch it before voicemail took over. I haven't heard that ring in so very long.

One evening after putting the kids to bed, I felt compelled to phone him. To close the gap between us and pretend for just a moment that I could succeed with this seemingly small and mundane task of calling my husband.

I dialed the number and attempted to breathe as my heart leaped from my throat and down to my abdomen. It rang three times before the new owner of the number answered it. I waited to catch my composure and squeaked out, "Can I speak to Jeff, please?" She tersely coughed out, "Wrong number," and hung up.

I sat sobbing. He was gone. I couldn't bridge the gap. I couldn't reach him. After sometime, I managed to settle myself. I rolled over on my soaked pillow and stared at his dry one in the dark as I fell asleep.

At two am, I was jolted awake to the sound of an 'exciting and uplifting classical song' being belted from my telephone. I snatched the handset and stared at the call display. "Jeff" I thought I'd vomit as I answered....... Nothing. Silence. Dead air. He wasn't there.

But for one brief moment, I remembered how it felt to know he was out there. He was thinking of me. He was calling out for me....and he loved me.


  1. my husband and i are both phone plan commitment-phobes so we only had gophones. it just worked well for us that way. when he suddenly died i started using his cell phone. i would use my phone only to call his to hear his voice on the voicemail. then out of the blue his cell died. it didn't give me trouble. there was no sign. it just stopped functioning. my daughter and i took it to the store but they said it couldn't be fixed. right there in the store i started crying, sobbing. it seemed a metaphor for what happened at the hospital. he had been rushed there. he couldn't be fixed.

    i kept the phone for months until i called the VA and told them i had my Marine husband's cell phone but that the store told me it was dead. they said to send it along anyway in the Cells for Soldiers plan, that they had guys who could work miracles. i sent it to them.

    i sometimes wonder if they got it fixed and that right now a soldier or a Marine somewhere is using his cell phone. i like to believe so. somehow they got it "fixed." another metaphor. my husband was sent out and now he's well and happy and doing good things. i only wished i could have gotten his voice off that voicemail. i didn't think to ask the "miracle guys" at the VA if they could do that.

    i tend to believe in things. i believe the fact that you got a call from out of nowhere and that the display read your husband's name was intended as comfort for you. yes, he is thinking of you. yes, he was calling you to let you know that. and yes, most certainly he loves you.

  2. I, too, still have Jim's numbers in my phone. Sometimes I think it's crazy, but I can't delete them. I've parted with almost everything else that was his, but not that.
    Not yet.
    Thanks, Jackie ... for reminding me that we're not alone .... in our craziness or in our saneness. : )

  3. Your story gives me chills, Jackie. I'm always amazed by stories like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I can TOTALLY relate to this story!!! In the past months I have been texting my late husband's cellphone like crazy, telling him how I feel in this grieving journey....till recently the phone number got a new owner, who read all my messages to my husband, and started texting me back all the time trying to get to know me (I am guessing the new owner is a man trying to take advantage of a young widow). Eventually I had to block that phone number although to stop getting harassed by the new owner.....but that also was a wake up call for me. That my husband is forever gone. That I can never ever hear his voice over the phone again...