Today I erased my dad. Well, that’s not completely true. I erased a lot of contacts that were programmed into my cordless phone — numbers that were important to my dad.
In my last blog post I mentioned that my apartment and office are going through the renovation from Hell. Everything is either in boxes, carted away to a storage facility that I haven’t ever seen (and at this point don’t have access to), or is hidden under drop cloths where I can’t access them. Soon, my cordless phone will be packed up somewhere as well, mute, and useless.
But before the plug is proverbially pulled, for some reason I decided to start erasing some of the contacts that I don’t ever call. Many of these were contacts that were friends of my father’s, or service providers he needed when I handled his affairs for the eight years or so as he continued to decline, and eventually, passed away.
I’m not sure why, but previously I hadn’t wanted to remove these contacts from my phone. I knew I didn’t need them anymore because he was deceased/ But, somehow, keeping these dozen or so numbers on my telephone came with the irrational feeling that if he ever came back, I’d need them. Of course, that was ridiculous, but somehow it was another way to hold onto what was familiar.
But this morning, finally, I decided to erase those contacts, along with plenty of others that were no longer current or relevant. Each deletion took a few steps on a keypad, and a long “beeeep!” signified that it was erased.
At first it felt strange to delete all these people who had been so significant in my life as well as my dad’s life. I felt somehow like I was erasing the last of him, along with the numbers. But as I continued to delete (beeep!) and move on to the next number, I finally began feeling relief. Erasing Dad’s contacts and service providers didn’t mean he was gone. My memories of him aren’t erased with phone numbers. In fact, erasing dad’s numbers allows me to move forward, and find something — more of myself!