So I just got off the phone with my Dad. Over the course of 45 minutes we talked about a lot of inconsequential things.. Election 2016, Donald Trump, Dad’s two visits to New York, Remembrance Day, the War… just stuff. It really wasn’t important what we talked about. The important thing was the fact that we were spending time together.
You probably wouldn’t think that this would be unusual but until a month ago I had never had a phone conversation with my father. Oh, sure.. if he answered the phone I would talk to him for a minute before he passed the phone to my mother. Or if she wasn’t home he would take a message before hanging up. But we never had a real conversation on the phone.
Mom died almost two months ago and we both miss her. He is lonely and had admitted that evenings are very long without her. We live close enough that I can visit every week but not close enough that I can drop by every day so I have started to phone him just to see how he is doing. At first it was awkward because he was not in the habit of talking on the phone. He didn’t know what to talk about so I would prompt him, asking him about his day, or asking him specific questions about his childhood, or a place that he visited. A few days ago he admitted that he had never had the opportunity to talk on the phone often and it felt uncomfortable at first but now he looks forward to it.
I phone my Dad almost every evening and now I mostly listen while he talks. He repeats some of the stories and that’s okay. Tonight he told me ( again) about the time he was in New York and the tour guide pointed out a large yacht that belonged to a man named Donald Trump. He laughed and told me that he had never heard of Donald Trump at that time, but the tour guide predicted that Mr. Trump would be president of the United States some day. That was 20 years ago! Amazing prediction. Amazing story, and it bears repeating. I have heard it at least three times this week, and I will probably hear it again and that’s okay.
I consider our phone conversations to be a good investment of my time. It is good therapy for both of us. It relieves some of his loneliness and gives me the chance to get to know him better. It provides me with a good excuse to sit with a cup of tea and just be still. And it gives us both a chance to remember Mom. It doesn’t seem right that the world continues to spin with her gone but it does. Some days we talk about Nothing At All, but other days we talk about Her. It’s simply nice to talk with someone who misses her as much as I do.
I guess I should be thankful about the outcome of Election 2016…. it will give us lots to talk about in the next few months.