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More Voices

Every month readers share their true first-person stories--in 40 to 400 words--on a different healthcare theme.

I’m crying a lot these days. Goes with the territory, and the triggers are everywhere.

My thirty-one year-old son had a newer laptop than mine and an iPhone 6. My iPhone 5 was a hand-me-down from him. (Prior to that, my iPhone 3 was given to me by a former resident, now friend, who upgraded to a 5 and was tired of mocking me for my flip phone.)

I have been paying my son's cell phone bill since he died on 1/16/17. I told myself I would do this until I could get it backed up so I could have his contacts, pictures and music (most of the music that I do not even like) until I can face going through the contents. And then I could expropriate it to be my phone. It's the same with his laptop: I don't want to lose what's on there. 

Today my home computer support tech came over, now two and a half months after my son's death. He backed my son's tablet and phone to his laptop. And then we did two back ups of the computer and got the tablet and laptop set up for my use. While he worked on the devices, I finally filed some of Matthew’s (yes, he has a name) papers, wondering what to keep. 

“Swiping” the phone and transferring my phone contents to his is a separate journey. It involves a trip to his carrier and then to mine, maybe trying to prove I have a right to do this. 

By the time my tech guru left, we had talked about Matthew’s influenza-like illness and death and his wife’s grandma’s similar illness during the same month - and her death. And he hugged me, and I started to cry. And so he hugged me again.

My tears, his kindness to hug me, and two realities. First, storing Matt’s content silences part of his being and voice. And second, he was young and has no heirs: Who will want to know of him in the future?

Sharon Dobie
Seattle, Washington