keeping in touch

I have been remembering my father lately wishing I could talk to him one more time.

My daddy was older than my mother, and his health was a little more fragile, so we were all surprised when my mother passed away first. That left daddy living alone, and lost without his lifelong companion.

He wore hearing aids and claimed he couldn’t talk on the phone. I knew that communication would be necessary. So we got him an accessible phone with large numbers and amplified sound. He found that it worked very well.

I tried to get by to see daddy every afternoon on my way home from school. And every night he would call me about 9:00 to give me an update on the Braves baseball game (or some other team that was playing that night). We would talk for just a bit, and I would hang up smiling that he was calling me on the phone he said he couldn’t use.

His health problems multiplied and after a week of hospitalization he went to an assisted living facility. He had learned he had cancer and was also having some insulin/sugar level issues. Sometimes he would talk about things that didn’t really make sense. I was most concerned about his thinking.

His first night there, using that phone that he couldn’t use, he called me. But I was out at the time. Our answering machine picked up and I heard him talking to the nurse at the facility as he was hanging up. “Well she didn’t answer. I’ll talk to her tomorrow.”

This was such an encouragement! He was able to call me on the phone! He remembered my number! He was thinking about the next day and making plans, even though his world had been turned upside down and he was staying in a strange place.

I was so glad we got him that phone that he wouldn’t be able to use. Keeping in touch is such a comfort – on both sides of the conversation.

4 thoughts on “keeping in touch

  1. marc-aureled says:

    Looking for the positives is so powerful when caring for an older family member. I hope you get to have many wonderful conversations.

  2. B says:

    Such a heartfelt piece. I’m glad he gave the phone a whirl! And I’m glad you have the memory of your dad being one who tried :).

  3. My elderly dad leaves voicemail messages for my sister and I every morning. We call in and leave messages for him every morning in return. Your story reminds me of that. It is something that used to be a bit of a chore but now is something I cherish. ” Keeping in touch is such a comfort- on both sides of the conversation.” Yes.

  4. GirlGriot says:

    This is a beautiful piece. I am starting to think about my mother’s aging and wondering how my siblings and I will care for her, how our relationships with her will change as ages. Your post is a lovely reminder that something so small (a different phone, a regular check-in call) can be so huge, a reminder that I need to not overlook these “little” things. I’m so glad you had those calls with/from your father.

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