This morning I received an e-mail from our Human Resources coordinator at work advising us of her new telephone number. As I scrolled through the contacts in my phone to find her name and update her contact record I found this listing:
Mama and Papa’s House
That is what I called my Grandma and Grandpa. They were Mama (pronounced Maw-Maw) and Papa (pronounced Paw-Paw). It was sad to see their names in my phone. My Grandma died July 26, 2010 and my Grandpa is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and he can’t walk or speak. He has been in a full-care nursing facility since early 2010. Their home was falling apart and has since been condemned by the city. It will be demolished later this year. That phone number in my phone? It calls nowhere. If I tried to call it I would receive one of those recorded, “The number you have dialed is no longer in service” messages. I know this, that is why I never call it. For some reason I seem to have nearly convinced myself that if their phone number is still in my phone then they aren’t really gone. They are still there, I can still call them, I can still talk to them…if I want to.
It will be two years next month since my Grandma died and yet…I can’t delete the number. It just sits there like this little reminder that once upon a time…I had grandparents…and they were here. It doesn’t do anything. I don’t ever call it. I don’t even look at it. I just can’t bring myself to delete it. There seems to be this part of me that feels like as long as I don’t delete it I don’t have to accept it. There is also this little part of me that has this futile hope that one day my Grandpa is going to get better. He will start talking again and be able to walk again and work his garden again and remember everyone and then he can go home. If he went home, I would need his number, right? I would need it so I could call him to tell him how much I love him and how happy I am that he’s feeling better. In my head I know that is not going to happen and yet somehow, I can’t let go.
Is this normal? Just a part of the grieving process? I don’t know. I do know that it’s not hurting anyone if I hold on to that number and so it stays and so it will always stay.