James has a new fascination with my cell phone. I get it – there are buttons, noises, bright colors, what’s not to like? When I’m making dinner I stick James in his high chair, and sometimes when he gets antsy I’ll turn on a baby app and hand him my phone. I did this the other night and was able to finish dinner while he happily played in his chair. It was only when I took the phone away that I realized I’d forgotten to put the phone on guided access. He’d managed to move my apps all over the place but at least nothing had been deleted.

After dinner and the kids were asleep, my cell rang. I grabbed the phone and looked at the caller ID, and my heart stopped.

Jackie Oswold

I was so confused and before I could even really process what was happening, the ringing stopped.

I checked my phone history and quickly figured out that James had managed to call Jackie’s number when he’d been messing around with my phone.


I still hadn’t been able to delete her number from my phone. In fact, she was still on my speed dial.

Then my voicemail dinged.

It took me a couple of hours to work up the courage, but I finally listened to the voicemail:

“Hi, I had a missed call from this number, so I’m calling it back. Thanks.”

The voice belonged to a man.

I’ve known for a while that I needed to delete Jackie’s number from my speed dial. I’ve occasionally dialed the number by accident, and what would I have said if the deep-voiced man answered? “Oh, sorry, this number used to belong to my friend before she died.” But, I never expected him to call back.  I never expected him to leave a message.

Still…I knew I had to remove her number from my speed dial. Another sign she’s gone.

Even though it was the logical thing to do, it felt like I was betraying her. Even now, days later, I still have irrational guilt. As if, somehow, removing her number from my phone was dishonoring her memory. I have thousands of photos, some of her possessions, and millions of memories and still, hitting “delete” made me feel physically ill.

I can tell myself over and over that I’m not betraying her and yet, these little steps I have to take because she’s gone…they still hurt. A lot.