A Phone Call I Will Never Forget

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

workshop-button-13.) A phone call you won’t forget.

Warning:  Intense, emotional theme.

During the late 90s I was working in radio on the air doing the night shift.  My shift would end at midnight when “Chris” would take over until 5:30 a.m.  I never worried that Chris would not show up on time, he took his position very seriously, and respected that at midnight I was off the air.  I couldn’t leave if he didn’t come because at that time of the night only one person would be at the station, the on-air personality.

One night at around 11:15 the “hotline” rang.  That was never good.  It was the secret phone number the listeners didn’t have.  It could be the Program Director, General Manager, Engineer; you had to pick up that line.

What was up now?

“Hello?”,  I said.

“Emily, Emily…”


“Yeah, it’s Chris.  I – I don’t think I will be able to come in tonight because…I think my father is dying.”

“What?  Where are you, in the hospital?”

“No, I’m home.  I’m with him and he’s lying on the floor.  He collapsed and I think he’s dying.”

“Okay, okay, don’t worry about it, I will call Terry (our program director) and let him know what’s going on.  It’s okay, Chris.”

“Em, Em, I – I…I think my father…I think he’s dead, Emily.  I think my father is dead.  He’s dead, yeah, he’s dead”

“Oh my God, oh my God, Chris!”

“So you see I can’t come in tonight, I’m sorry.”

I knew Chris was in shock, he couldn’t really grasp what he was saying to me or what was happening to him.  As for me, I was hearing the story of a man who died while I was having a phone conversation with his son.  I told Chris it was okay, how sorry I was and that he shouldn’t worry about the radio station.  I finally got him to hang up, as if hanging up the phone with me made it really final for him.

I don’t remember how much longer I stayed until our program director came to relieve me, maybe a couple of hours more.  It was like a dream, relating to him what had happened.

At Chris’s dad’s wake, Chris was in pretty good shape.  His girlfriend who would later be his wife was with him. The one thing I will always remember about the wake was Chris saying to me, “You know what I regret most, Em? That I never gave my dad any grandchildren.  My dad will never see my children.”

As was the case with Chris, I too have that same regret.  My dad did live to walk me down the aisle which I will be forever grateful for, but between me being sick and my dad dying less than a year after my wedding, a grandchild for him was not to be either.  I completely understand the significance of what Chris said to me that day.

And I will never forget the other side of that phone call where a life passed into death and peace.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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9 Responses to A Phone Call I Will Never Forget

  1. Kristy says:

    Wow, the raw emotion in that! I bet when you saw that prompt you KNEW you had to write about it.

  2. Oh how intense! Good job on holding it together for Chris, I would have lost it.

  3. Leah says:

    Whew, that was hard to read. Sadly, my parents died together 3 years ago and they will never see me get married or have children and this fact alone is enough to bring me to tears. It’s not fair that our loved ones sometimes can’t be here for those incredibly important events in our lives. I know that on those days I’ll just have to think of them and try feeling their presence in other ways.
    Stopping by from Mama Kat.

  4. Morgan says:

    Wow … thanks for sharing your heart.

    Visiting from Mama Kat’s 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    Oh man, there would have been no way I could have held it together during that call. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Erica says:

    Wow. What a call. When we think about how certain people will never see us get married, have kids, whatever we have to remember that their greatest joy was seeing YOU happy.

    Great post.

  7. Tendai says:

    Wow, your post invoked a lot of strong emotions from me today. I received a call on Good Friday 8 years ago from my mom asking me to come pick them (my mom and dad) up because they had just been in a car accident. I arrive at the scene and it is far worse than what I expected. Two fire trucks were there and many highway patrol officers and all the ambulances that our county had (3).

    I saw my parent’s car and the firemen trying to cut a bleeding man from the back of the truck and I wondered if anyone could have survived it. Only my mom survived after a man so drunk blacked out while driving the wrong way on a 4 lane highway rammed his pickup into my parent’s car. If my mom had been wearing her seatbelt, she would have been just as crushed as my father.

    I will never forget the chill in my heart from the call, running to the scene and seeing the vehicles torn up and on fire and the blood. It tore up life as we knew it.

  8. Kimberly says:

    Wow. Powerful post….definitely a phone call I wouldn’t ever forget either.

  9. Mama Kat says:

    Such a haunting phone call! You’re right, we definitely go into shock mode and fight that rational vs. emotional part of our brains. It’s just too hard to take it all in.

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