We talk on the phone

We talk on the phone a few times each week. Often I call as I leave work between 5:30 and 6, just before she settles down to watch the evening news- full volume because she won’t wear her hearing aids. And because she doesn’t wear her hearing aids, she can’t hear the phone ring, even when the tv isn’t on. Though she rarely hears the ring, she almost always hears my voice as I begin to record my message on her answering machine. She picks up then. Phone conversations are usually choppy. She says the sound from my cell phone isn’t clear. We agree to disagree about the reason she cannot hear me. We talk about her day, the weather, the neighbors, and the news. Sometimes she tells me something she told me the last time we spoke. I pay attention, wondering if I should worry. As she speaks, I listen to her breathing and the strength of her voice. I listen for clues about what she isn’t saying. I tell her the simple version of my day, knowing she is no longer my thought partner and that too many details will overwhelm her. And she tells me I’m working so hard and asks me if I’m getting enough time off, if I’m sleeping, and if I’m taking care of myself. I say yes, even when it isn’t true. Our calls are usually brief, no more than ten minutes, often five or fewer. I wish she lived closer to me, or I to her, and I could stop in for a visit, or we could eat dinner together. And I try to feel gratitude that at least we can talk on the phone.

6 thoughts on “We talk on the phone

  1. Wow, you really capture so much here, Lisa. I’m really touched by this. I went through this with my mother, and even when I saw her in person it was a similar interaction. “Knowing she is no longer my thought partner” is tough to handle. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Phone calls with my mom were a lifeline for both of us. It must be hard measuring what you say and protecting her during this time. I love the questions that she asks you in true mom fashion (even though you don’t always tell the truth). Treasure these times even though you’re just linked by the phone.

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  3. This is a heartwarming text. My daughter’s new job leaves less time for meet-ups even though she lives close by. I can’t tell you how much I love her frequent calls. We were always close and these calls keep us connected. Savor these moments. You are a good daughter.

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  4. I talk to my mom about once a week. I’m lucky that both my sisters live close by and my brother lives with her. She’s 88 and in good health considering. But I still worry.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I could relate on both ends, calling my 80 year old dad each week and my 19 year old college student. Each time listening carefully for what what might cause concern and always with love.

    Liked by 1 person

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