We lost dad a year ago today — technically; the call came a year ago yesterday, but he was still with us, even though the end was inevitable — and since then every time the phone rings, I hesitate before I pick it up. And I take a breath. Because I vividly remember the moment before. The breath before I heard my mother’s voice and knew she wasn’t just calling to say hi. The breath before she asked if I was alone, or sitting down. The second before she said, “Dad had a fall.” The last moment where I had a dad who shared the world with me, where everything was normal and happy and we all felt whole.
And now every time that phone goes, I can’t help it. I stop. Without meaning to, I take stock of what I’m doing, what I’m thinking, what I’m wearing even, where the boys are, what they last said, what I last said, whether I said the right things to everyone. Wondering if this is just another moment before. And wondering when I will stop wondering, and fearing that the minute I do, it will happen again.