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My Grandpa wasn’t feeling well today. I know because Mom told me so. My phone’s been broken for two weeks; I was only able to talk to Mom because she’d been the last to call and the only working button on my phone dialed her by some miracle of the universe.

So, Grandpa. He called while I was on the phone with Mom. This was strange, you see, because Grandpa isn’t even always sure who I am (pardon his dementia.)  He doesn’t typically know that he can call directly to my cellphone (cellphone?, he would say with a quizzical look) or that I’m living three hours away in Michigan (he’s unsure whether Michigan is a state or a city, sometimes whether it’s a place or a person.) I can’t drive him to the bank from here, which is what he often desires why he feels crummy like he did today. But, it’s possible that he doesn’t understand my distance in a comprehensive way.

Hours later–my phone on the road to fixage–I listen to Grandpa’s message. His voice is low, almost sleepy, like he just awoke. Hello, Donna, he says.  Donna is my mom. Mumble, mumble, something about golfing–no bowling–he corrects himself and trails off until I hear the click and the voicemail lady asks me to delete the message by pressing seven.  Slowly, I do press seven.

I sent Mom a quick message to let her know that Grandpa was calling my phone, thinking it was hers. I didn’t tell her how it felt to see his name on my screen as an incoming call. Didn’t tell her how I wondered what made Grandpa think of me in the midst of his constant brain fog and confusion. Didn’t share with her the list of things I’d brainstormed in case we ran out of things to talk about.  Just said, he was calling to talk to her.

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