Why It’s Hard to Pick Up the Phone

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My brother Paul doesn’t call often. Not because he doesn’t like me, but because he’s a busy guy with more to do than he has time for. But when he does call, my heart stops until I hear his first words.

My thought is always the same. “Is Dad gone? Was it today?”

In a few short months, Dad will be 92. He survived one open-heart surgery well into his 80’s, and he’s been in slipping downhill ever since–especially since my mother died.

I can’t bring myself to erase the faltering sound of his voice mail messages repeating the same questions, giving me the same quiet assurances that he’s okay when he’s not.

I am already broken at the thought of losing him, knowing my life will change in one sentence.

Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps next month.

I do not erase email messages. I do not turn off my phone at night or on trips. And I never say good-bye without saying “I love you.”

I don’t think we can ever say it enough.

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