One Last Phone Call
It was a Friday morning, and I was getting ready for work. I went out to the kitchen and laid my phone down and grabbed a bowl of cereal. I headed back to the bedroom and sat down for a moment to eat and relax before rushing to finish getting ready.
The SKYPE on my iPad began to ring. I didn’t have my glasses on, and I couldn’t quite make out who was calling until I saw Mom. I was relieved that it was her, because usually my brother is the one who calls me if something is wrong with Mom.
As soon as I answered, the line went dead. I was actually a bit puzzled by the phone call because she didn’t usually call me…I called her.
I SKYPED her back immediately.
She answered with “Hi, Honey!”. She sounded cheery as usual, but she did sound like she might have a slight cold.
She chatted with me and shared that she was in the hospital. The hospital? Yes, she had pneumonia. I was quite shocked, because I usually get a phone call when she goes in.
As she shared the news, she finally paused to ask, “Well, who called you, Honey?”
I was a bit dumfounded. I replied, “Well, Mom, you did.”
She asked, “Oh, I did?”
I probed further. Was she in such bad shape that she had forgotten that she called me?
“Mom, did you have your cell phone in your hand or on your bed and you bumped it? Or was it lying on the table next to you?”
“It was lying on the table next to me, and I picked it up when it rang.”
I immediately spoke to God and said in my heart, “God, you’ve got my attention. I will focus on every word she says to me right now, because I realize that this might be my last conversation with her.”
Now you might think me a bit dramatic, but I must say that I felt a little dramatic at that moment. I realized that somehow God had caused my Skype to ring (or her phone to call me) for a reason. I dropped what I was doing and focused on the conversation, whether I was going to be late to work or not.
I began asking her other questions and chatting, and I got up to take the phone around to the kids and Larry. They were all busy getting ready for school and work, but I motioned to them that it was Grandma Nita and I asked them to say hello.
As I went around the house to each one, I choked up, because I knew that she had called for a reason, and I began to feel that this would be my last conversation with her.
She spoke to each one with such joy to hear their voices. They all told her that they loved her, and she told them how much she loved them, too.
When she got tired, she told me she had better go and get some rest. We did our usual goodbye, and then a pause, and then she came back with “I love you forever.” I always reply “I love you forever, too,” with a little laugh, but this time I had to choke back the tears.
As soon as I hung up, I breathed a prayer to God, thanking Him for that conversation, and praying for my mom.
That morning, January 5, 2018, Korea Standard Time, I went to work and told three different people that I think I might have had my last conversation with my mom. I would later find out that I was right.
That same night, I called my mom, hoping to talk to her again, but there was no answer. I tried not to worry, and I told myself that her phone could have died and she might not have a charger with her since she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
I spoke to my brother late that night and found out that he had been stuck in an ice storm trying to get back to Florida to be with Mom. He told me that when he had talked to her hours earlier, she was laughing and joking around with them on the phone. It seemed like she was going to be fine.
A few hours later he called back. Mom was worse. She’d been placed on a ventilator. The next several hours would be up and down.
The next day, I got the opportunity to FaceTime with her, thanks to my brother and sister-in-law, Clark and Lisa. They held up the phone so Mom and I could see each other. She couldn’t talk with the ventilator in her mouth. I chatted briefly and told her how much we all loved her, and I also got to tell her that Mackenzie broke the school record for the number of three-pointers made in one game.
She started to drift off, so I told her, “You are an amazing woman, Juanita Gayle Berry.” She perked up and lifted up her right arm, pointing to the phone and mouthed the words, “So are you.”
As she drifted off to sleep I said, “I love you forever, Mom.”
My mom made it through the next day, and then she left this earth to be with Jesus on Sunday, January 7. My brother and sister-in-law were by her side when she passed away.
As I write this, it’s been three months today. It’s hard to live each day without being able to call her or share a photo or a story with her, but I thank God today that she is rejoicing in Heaven with him and that she is without pain or illness.
And, I praise God that I got to have that one last, beautiful conversation with her.
One person that I told this story to on that Friday morning said, “Wow, I didn’t know God had SKYPE.” Well, apparently He does when He wants to.
I thank you, Lord, that you got my attention and gave me the gift of one last phone call with Mom.
I love you forever, God!