I called my parents' phone number just now. No one answered. In fact, a recording came on informing me the line was no longer in service.
I knew some things would be hard. I knew it would be hard to walk back into the church for the first time after the funeral, and it was. I knew it would be hard to drive by and see the front door closed and to walk into an empty house; it takes my breath away when I realize Mama won't be sitting on the den sofa when I walk in.
But I didn't expect it would be so hard, so emotional, to cancel their phone service. I really didn't. I called the phone company Monday morning, just four weeks after Mama's death. No need to spend the extra $35 or so for a phone no one was using, right? We all have cell phones we can use when we're at the house. So I made the call. One more thing I could check off my list.
"My mother died last month, and I want to cancel her phone service." That shouldn't be so hard.
Before I had spoken two sentences, the tears started. I choked up and couldn't even talk for a few moments.
The customer service rep was so sweet when I apologized for my tears. "It's OK," she said.
We talked for a few minutes and she transferred me to the correct operator. The first person must have explained my emotional state to the next operator because when she picked up my call, she made reference to my parents' death. She was so kind as well. She asked me a few questions, and we took care of the business at hand. She asked me about the weather and tried to distract me. She was very sweet to the blubbering daughter on the other end of the line.
"They have had this number for almost 50 years," I told her, still sniffling but remembering how long they had been at the house.
Actually, they got the number in 1958, the operator said. That's the year they got married. That means they could be reached at that number in the short time they lived in an apartment before moving to the home they built and raised their family in.
How many times have I dialed that number? 243-4527. How many times have I thought it odd that the first three digits add up to 9, so do the next two and the last two?
How many times have I found comfort from the voice on the other end of the line? I was calling home.
When I was finished, I e-mailed my sister and told her the job was done.
I told her I want to fast-forward to the "it gets easier" part everyone tells me about.
Susan said maybe it will start getting better bit by bit. I sure hope so.