Anyone who knows me even a little probably knows that I firmly believe that words matter. I’ve never been big on talking or saying what you think out loud; but am a huge advocate of putting it in writing. But, every once in a while, a conversation is had that truly matters regardless of what is or isn’t said. Last night I was fortuned to share in such an exchange.
The call came at 7:39 pm CST – an hour behind time of the caller. I didn’t need the caller ID to tell me who was calling. I recognized the voice. We seldom speak to each via phone and see each other in person even less; but still I knew who it was.
She, who I seldom see, has the same voice as ever. She, who I have always associated with strength, was being strong for all of us. She, who lives for family, has exemplified the word in every way to me – even from a distance. She, wearer of wigs and costumes, makes being weird okay for the rest of us. She, who despite her religious ties, supported me when I came out as gay then supported me even harder when I came out as trans. She, who also played the violin growing up, always reminds me of our shared history. She, who understands and shares my sense of humor, called and we laughed. She, who always knows what to say and when to say it, knew to call.
She is my Aunt Casey (my dad’s sister) and was calling from Michigan. She was at her home. She was there with my cousins (her children) and my Uncle Joe. People often say you should tell people how much they mean because one day you may not have the chance. She, with more courage than I have ever witnessed, was grabbing that chance. She had a list to get through and she was doing what needed to be done. She, who lives with purpose, was calling because we are running out of time.
On Monday, after a number of days in the hospital, Aunt Casey returned to her home to wait. Under hospice care and in the arms of her family she celebrated her ¾ century birthday yesterday. Her days now are spent behind a revolving door of friends and family, full of love and well wishes. I imagine them sharing stories when she feels strong and sitting beside her when she needs to rest. I have a feeling there’s a lot more conversation happening than rest, but she is doing this her way.
Our telephone call lasted two minutes. As far as speaking – the fewer words the better, has always been my preference. Two minutes was perfect. We spoke as though it hadn’t been years since we’d both been on the same line. We fit our past, present, and future neatly into what was clearly the longest two-minute and most important telephone call I’ve ever had. The time passed quickly and stilled at the same time behind pocketed emotions while we said and didn’t say what we needed.
For two minutes and one last time…we matched each other wit for wit and quip for quip.