Written on January 06th, 2007 by Shawn Anthony
Six weeks had passed since the death of Stacy’s younger brother. He was only twenty-five. A twenty-five year old victim of his own false sense of youthful immortality. Normally, no one seriously thinks about dying before they are forty-five years old, at least. The thought may appear on their cognitive radar every now and then, but the blip is a fleeting one.
Your average mid-twenty something rarely thinks about their own death. Twenty-somethings are too busy living life to busy themselves with its temporality. Stacy’s brother didn’t give his own death a second thought as he swallowed another little blue pill, a shot of morphine, and a seventh beer. Any sounds of life’s instinctive warning siren was drowned out by the bass-heavy blare of his truck’s Pioneer speakers. He was seemingly in control and on top of his world; a world in which he would later blackout; a world in which he would never again awake.
Stacy really struggled with the shocking reality of her brother’s sudden and senseless death. The bad news burst out of nowhere like a levee break and flooded her with new and raw emotions never before experienced, or even asked for. It was really hard to watch her suffer so. She wept as profusely as anyone I had ever seen before. She groaned in agony at the mere thought of the permanence of the death event. Her heart ached bitterly as she forced her eyes downward toward the carpet as she passed by his many wall-framed photos still hanging in place in the hall as if nothing bad had ever happened. Her countenance even changed when she would happen by a vehicle that looked remotely similar to his. Stacy was hurting, and deeply so.
One afternoon, as Stacy’s boyfriend was scrolling through the phone numbers stored in their cellular phone. He noticed Stacy’s brother’s cell phone number was still programmed. He stopped and looked at the digital image in front of him, and sincerely wished he could change history. He couldn’t. He then took it upon himself to delete the number so as to prevent Stacy from accidentally coming across it and suffering more because of the many memories the cell phone number represented. A few electronic blips later and the number was gone.
Months went by and Stacy found the inner strength to carry on. The death of her brother still hurt her incredibly, but she was becoming more accustomed to the pain.
One afternoon Stacy cornered her boyfriend in the dinning room and sternly asked him why her brother’s cell phone number wasn’t still programmed in the cell phone. He told her that he deleted it to prevent her from accidentally stumbling upon it. He told her that he didn’t want to see her suffer anymore. She thanked him for his kind gesture and then proceeded to point out how seriously stupid it was for him to do such a thing. She was visibly upset. It turned out that his deleting of the number in an effort to protect her actually caused more damage then it prevented. She ran out of the dining room in tears.
Stacy’s boyfriend learned a lot from a little cell phone. He learned a lot from deleting a digital number. He learned how important it was to the person who put it in there. He learned a person’s grief is - and must be - their own. He learned a person should go through the grieving process at their own pace, and in his or her own way. He realized tampering with the process was unwise - in spite of the good intentions behind the act. The cell phone number was Stacy’s to save or delete; the cell phone number was her responsibility. His responsibility was to simply await the invitation to enter into her world and simply be the support she needed him to be.