Dannica and I used to communicate constantly through text messages. Silly, silly stuff! Not only that, though; there were times we actually had some pretty good talks about things that might not have come up face to face. I thought of them as ice breakers. It made those things easier to talk about face to face, later.
Before we had cell phones, we wrote notes. I wanted her to know it was important to express her feelings to me no matter what they were. I remember a time when she was much younger. I was irritated and we weren’t communicating well. I sent her to her room so we could both calm down. When I went back a while later so we could talk about things, a little note had been slipped under the door. “Mom, you hurt my feelings.”
My heart crumbled when I read that. I knocked and she invited me in and I just held her close and cried and told her how sorry I was. Regardless of anything else, hurting her feelings had never been my intent and I was grateful she told me what I had done. I received many little notes from Danni through the years and I saved them all. From time to time, I’ll find one in a place I didn’t expect such as in a cookbook or in a stack of papers or a journal I haven’t written in for a while and I am crumbled all over again.
Once again, It’s been months since I posted anything here. See, I had the holidays to get through and that took all the energy I had been able to conserve since August. New Year’s eve I took on a project involving one of my bookshelves and as I flipped through one of the books there, a Danni Note fell into my lap. It was written on a little sheet of stationery in pink pen. At the top of the page is the image of a little angel in a country dress with willow leaves for wings. She’s holding a watering can in one hand with a butterfly perched on her other and she’s floating over a garden of sunflowers that line the bottom of the page. The note says, “I don’t know what to write. I need a hug from mom.” Aw, little angel… Now it’s your mom who doesn’t know what to write and needs a hug from you.
I keep Dannica’s cell phone charged and sitting on a table next to the couch where I often sit. After she passed it continued to make noises each day and I’d pick it up to see the Dicionary.com word of the day. She was a writer, too. Though it frustrated her, whenever she’d ask me what a word meant, I’d suggest she look it up and let me know, too. Text messages and emails from people who didn’t know she’d passed continued to come in for a while. Even some who did know continued to write to her. Eventually, service ended. The phone is no longer even updatable. The only noise it makes now is a once monthly reminder to transfer $40 into her checking account to pay a bill that no longer exists. When she would receive a text, her phone used to make this sound. I miss it.
One day, I missed hearing from her so much I wondered what might happen if I sent her a text message. I see her name in my contacts and it’s a conscious effort to ignore it every time I send a text message to my husband, Daniel, because his name is directly above hers in the list. One day, I selected her name anyway and I wrote her a short note; something I’d said to her many times, something she’d know was from me no matter where she was. I cried. I read it over and felt the stabbing pain in the center of my being and I pressed Send. There it went, with a “who-oop?”
I sat there wondering why I just did that. Why did I actually send it? And where did it go?? I still don’t know the answers to those questions. I picked up her phone and began swiping through her photos and her notes hoping to find something I maybe hadn’t seen yet. Then my own phone whistled to me from the corner of the couch and the message was there. My hands shook as I opened it, “Who is this?”
“I’m sorry,” I immediately apologized (what had I been thinking…. honestly) “This used to be my daughter’s number. I hadn’t stopped to consider it might be someone else’s now.” Really? Hadn’t I? Well, I hadn’t wanted to.
“No problem.” says this mystery person as yet another part of me flat lines.
Well, now it is someone else’s number. Another fear faced. Another life experience I seal myself away with on my down days. Another something to wrap acceptance around.