We have one of those family phone plans. The kind where you can add phones for $10, and you share minutes, texting and data. Every two years each person can get a new phone, and there’s one phone on the plan that’s the primary number for the plan. And in our plan, that phone number would be Don’s.
Now, in these plans, you can buy a new phone, but every time you do, you re-up that number for two more years in the contract. If, however, you switch a number to a phone you already own, you don’t have to extend the contract. So sometimes we’ve done that.
Well, today was the day. It’s been costing me money. I have this phone that’s just been sitting around. I have a 24-year-old who’s been promising for over a year that she’s moving out, and this is the month, and she’s going to get her own phone plan. So today was the day.
Don had an iPhone 5. My 20-year-old already had an iPhone 4, and I had a 4s, but he was holding out for the 5. It came out, and he got it, and he loved it. 20-year-old wanted the 5, and 24-year-old wanted a new phone. Any phone.
I know, this is the boring part. But I’m setting it up to explain why and how I was motivated to finally do this thing – to turn off Don’s cell phone.
So we (we being really I, but I ran it by my 20-year-old) decided that we’d take the phones to Verizon, turn off service to Don’s phone, make my number the primary number, give Don’s 5 to 20-year-old, give 20-year-old’s 4 to 24-year-old, and then everything would be good. Sounds easy, right?
Well, the mechanics of the whole thing were easy. Many thanks to the good people at the Verizon store in Tyson’s Corner Center. It was more the turning off of the phone number. It’s a finality thing.
Now, I know it would be ridiculously silly to keep Don’s phone active, especially with the $30/month data charge. Keeping Don’s phone active won’t bring Don back, and even if there is all of a sudden phone service from the afterlife, I’m fairly certain Don wouldn’t phone me on his number. He’d probably call mine. I’m just saying. But it’s still a final thing. Like getting rid of his socks and underwear.
So I took down the phone numbers that I thought I might need from Don’s phone, and 20-year-old checked for pictures. We didn’t save his music from his phone because we have it on his computer. We went to the Verizon store and Will took care of it. It was fine. And I’m fine. Well, I’m ok. It just took me a while to get to where I could do this.
There are a lot of little things like that. Residual things. Things like socks and underwear. If I emptied out Don’s dresser, I’d have a lot more space. I get it – it’s like Kansas said in the song “Dust in the Wind,”: “nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.” It means giving away a lot of Don’s clothes. I should probably do that. I just start to feel a little guilty sometimes.
It really didn’t take much time at all to take care of the phones, and we were at the mall, so then we went walking around and decided to have some lunch. Something caught my eye in a jewelry store, and we struck up a conversation with the salesman, who noticed that I was wearing Don’s wedding band on my wrist. Again, I was reminded of the impermanence of things. Don used to like to buy me jewelry, and I have that. When I wear it, I’m reminded of him. He would be much more generous with me, usually, than I am with myself. I saw a lovely bracelet while I was there, for example. I don’t need it. Of course, no one really needs jewelry. But it was the kind of thing that Don would sometimes talk me into buying. I was reminded of how he’d seen me look at a watch time-and-again, and then it showed up wrapped in a box one Christmas. I didn’t buy it.
It’s not that I wish someone were here to talk me into things. It’s that I just wish Don were still here. It’s good to have the memories. The things aren’t memories. They’re memory nudges, but they aren’t themselves the memories. Oh yes, some things have great sentimental value. I’ve been wearing some of Don’s t-shirts. Some. Some things I’ll keep, others I’ve been giving to the kids and will continue to give to them. But many things I can throw away or give away.
I shut off the phone. Big step. I know I can throw away the socks and underwear. If I take over Don’s dresser it will help to get the room straightened, and I won’t forget about Don. As if I could. I think that’s what I’m always afraid of, but I know it’s really baseless. So, um, if anyone wants a desktop computer, let me know.