The Call

I remember how, as soon as the phone rang, as soon as I heard my brother’s voice, I knew my father had had a heart attack. Don’t ask me how I knew (because the call was in the middle of the day), but I knew. I woke my then 2 year old daughter from her nap, threw her in the car and started the race to my parents’ house.

And I knew when I got the call in the car before I picked it up that my father had died. I wasn’t going to get a chance to say goodbye. Or to tell him I loved him one last time.

There was a time when The Call and I were on all-too-familiar terms. Too many calls in way too short a span. Life’s like that, how it bunches up in places… Thankfully, the phone has been quiet for a few years now.

So when I had to call my daughter at school today, I could immediately hear the worry in her voice. “Mom, is everything okay?” I knew that in that short instant she had calculated all the possibilities.

She’s had to deal with more death at her young age than most people in their thirties, and any unexpected call immediately plugs into that place where her throat closes because all the air’s been sucked out of her lungs. And her reaction immediately plugged me into that place.

“Everything’s fine,” I quickly reassured her and went on to relay the reason for my call. (Nothing exciting, just a change in dentist appointments and I needed to pick her up sooner than originally planned.)

As I heard her finally exhale a deep breath, I knew she was reeling herself back from the black precipice.

“So, you feel like you dodged a bullet?” I teased.

She giggled a nervous giggle.

No, Death is never on holiday, but my daughter and I had a moment to remember and be thankful that he’s not ringing our phone today.

13 thoughts on “The Call”

  1. Don’t expect anything from life, expectations hurt. When you don’t expect, every moment is a surprise and every surprise brings happiness.

  2. Mountain Dweller

    The dreaded call. It’s funny how we often get vibes that something has happened before we actually pick up the phone. Luckily we still get it wrong sometimes.

  3. Those are always tough calls – from either end. I’m glad you and Cait were able to appreciate what that call was not.

  4. Oh, that is so hard. I am really sorry for the pain of your loss. These things don’t go away do they?
    Our kids feel the same way having lost two grandparents and been called home from school. Poor children

  5. Oh that post squeezed my heart a little. My kids are wary of the call at school too now. Once they were called up when their grandpa passed and once when their father got called up to deploy right after 9-11.

  6. Caffienated Cowgirl

    Is there a time when we don’t want to answer the phone? Like if we don’t nothing bad will happen?

    I understand completely. I’ve had too many of those calls as well. And why is it always a call? Shouldn’t the phone be saved for something more lighthearted…

  7. Poor Cait. My kids aren’t nearly as well versed in “The Call”, but I’m sad for the day they will be. She has learned a valuable lesson about appreciation of life though, sad and hard as it may be.

  8. I have had two of those calls…and they were so painful that I’ve considered taking the phone off the hook. But that’s life, right.

  9. This post hit home for me. Do we all wait for the other shoe to drop? I thought it was only me. The phone does it as does an emergency whistle. I’m constantly taking inventory of my loved ones.

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