Going through my phone contacts the other day, I spotted the name and phone number of a dear friend of mine. I smiled at the thought of her and imagined her reassuring voice that greeted me whenever I called and the way she was so interested in the mundane details of my life. How I longed to have one more conversation with her, but she died two years ago from cancer. I found the number I needed and dialed; Donna’s name still securely in my list of contacts. I will never delete her from my phone, my email contacts or the other places where she appears. She may no longer be available to call, but she is still very much alive in my heart. I cannot delete her from those lists any more than I can delete her from my life.
I have heard variations of this story again and again from people who have lost a loved one. They still visit their loved one’s Facebook page and post a message to someone who is no longer there to answer. They have the last voicemail message left on their phone and they listen to it again and again. Their answering machine message is still the one recorded years before and they find a comfort in calling the house and listening to their voice with the standard, “We’re not home right now, but leave your name and number…..”
When a loved one dies, we may have mixed emotions about the technology that kept us connected. Their names, emails, phone numbers, Skype contact, Facebook page, Twitter account and more are readily available, but the person on the other end of the technological connection is not. There is a comfort in continuing to see their name pop up at odd times when we are looking for something else, but it also creates a sadness that technology has yet to find a way to connect with Heaven.
So we continue with our one-sided conversations, we listen again and again to the sound of their voice recorded at a time when life seemed “normal” and the words so simple. Delete them from our phone contacts? Never! That would be an admission that they are gone and, while our heads know this is true; our hearts yearn for that continued connection. And that is where they shall remain, in our hearts… and in our phones, in our computers and in our special list of contacts that can now only be reached through bittersweet memories.
Nancy Weil is a leading authority on humor and grief. She serves as Director of Grief Support for eleven cemeteries and is a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Management Specialist. Through her company, The Laugh Academy, she offers products to ease the stress and pain that grief can bring. Bandages for Your Heart on DVD or CD, Laugh for the Health of It on CD and her new book, If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might, can be ordered by clicking here.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons / barryskeates