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When the Phone Rings Twice

phone 2The phone rang, yet I was not there to answer.

A call to “call home” was all that was left, the sinking pit of all my fears overwhelmed my heart full of trepidation.  He does not usually call me, what could he possibly want, wonder what I did this time, the thoughts whirled through my head.  I will just call back later, is what I said to myself, dreading the condemnation that might occur on the other end of the phone.

Startled, I must have dosed off or was caught gazing into my own emotional abyss, I jumped a bit when the phone rang again, this time with almost a sense of urgency that could be felt.  I answered bracing myself for the worst, yet hoping for the best.  The voice on the other end trembled as the words were spoken.. ‘it’s your grandfather’.

What do you mean grandpa?  I just saw him, we had just talked, we were at  Easter Brunch together and hour ago… I don’t understand.

You might want to hurry, he slip and fell and hit his head, he is at the hospital.. come if you

The air was thick, I could not breathe, my head was spinning as I turned to my wife, tears in my eyes. I could barely get the words out, yet she understood, we needed to go and go we should.

You see, I quit answering the phone when the calls came from home, many years ago.  Rarely does the phone ring just to check in and see how things have been.  Always filled with angst and urgency or sadness instead.  That is how the messages of other relatives were relayed through a phone call to ‘call home‘.

Coming from a family where emotions are held close, we do not speak or share like most.  We shake hands rather than hug and talk about politics or current events rather than feelings or the like.

So when tragedy strikes in our family, it is a matter of fact event, very little tears or sadness takes place. It is the job of the man to remain steadfast and calm.  When there is a glimmer of despair or pain, we shut down our sentiments and focus on what needs to be done. We bury our feelings and stand firm unwavering during crisis.

We rushed to the hospital to be by his side, I stayed there for hours, tearless and took everything in stride.  As he gasped and took his last breath, he peacefully went and spent all he had left.

I comforted my father the best that I knew how, neither of us were familiar with what to do next.

Leaving the hospital that Easter evening, I looked up to the sky and felt that he was smiling down on me. Standing by his side , two were now one as both had been raised up on that day. My pain and hurt by him leaving too soon was covered up in His glory knowing that I one day will join them there too.

It will be five years this Easter since my grandfather passed away. I remember it as if it were yesterday and hope that I will retain the good memories of our past.

One thing I will always cherish is that he passed doing the one thing he did best.

You see when he slipped and fell, he had stopped outside to pick a

Grandpa at a young age

Grandpa at a young age

single rose for his wife of 71 years. He was a man who valued the things that mattered, the simple things like faith and family.  He was a man of few words yet everyone listened when he spoke.  He exemplified hard work and character all men should only wish to possess.

Within the moments of deep despair and in death there is a silver lining that we can always hold onto.  We can bury our hurt and pain as I did and still do, but the truth is known in that moment when they leave you.

Lessons are learned and feelings are felt, sometimes it takes the passing of someone before we ever realize how much they really meant.

This was written as a topic, hopefully to bring peace to those that read it as it did to me in writing it.

Question: Is there someone you lost unexpectantly that were able to turn into a moment of healing? Please feel free to comment with your own stories to help others know they are not alone.


About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

3 Replies

  1. David Mike

    I have not had any unexpected deaths of anyone close to me. When it is my time, I hope I am picking a rose for my wife. Thanks for sharing his life with us.

  2. Denise Beidler Jackson

    This hit close to home. For me, our phone calls went both ways on that fateful Sunday before Christmas; I called Dad, and then his phone called me, but it wasn’t Daddy. It was his wife saying he was gone. I’ve had great anxiety about phone notifications ever since. I’m sorry about your grandfather. Loss of loved ones is so hard.

  3. Thank you for sharing your grandpa with us. He might have been a man of few words — like my grandpas were — but actions speak as well. A flower for his wife, a tangible expression of his heart. What a fine and considerate man.