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the last time we spoke July 20, 2009

Posted by johnbohlinger in Dealing with Grief after Losing your child..
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August and Me playing guitar and mandolin with family

August and Me playing guitar and mandolin with family

The last time I spoke with August he called me while I was out of town on work.  I use to call August often, probably drove him crazy.  He rarely called me.  I’d been trying to see him for weeks but he kept breaking our plans and was hard to get a hold of.  I had just gotten off a plane and was waiting for my luggage when my phone rang.  It was completely unexpected and made me so happy.   I can’t remember all that was said, but I remember the tone was happy, non-combative,  comfortable, devoid of any of the tension that had plagued our conversations for the past few years.   One thing I do remember is that he was going through a meal line at the school cafeteria while we spoke, and he interrupted the conversation for a moment as he spoke to the check out girl.  He was so polite, sweet;  I remember feeling so proud of him,  so many college students have a sense of entitlement that they think gives them license to be rude to people in the service industry,  but not Aug.  He treated people with a genuine respect, kind of a hippie love that was so disarming.

Two days later August was gone and I was numb.  I flew home sobbing hysterically, out of my mind with grief.  When I landed I checked my voice mail and found that August  had called me shortly before we talked that final time. I am a moron who’s never figured out how to check voice mail when my phone is roaming.  Also,  my phone doesn’t record who called when I turn it off.   It’s rare that August would call me once, but to call me twice after leaving a message is truly miraculous;  he never did that before.  Had he just called once and left a message, we would have never spoken because I was unable to get the message until he was gone.  I don’t know why August reached out to me then or why he chose that time to reconcile.   I cherish that final conversation as one of the sweetest gifts I ever received.  Maybe God whispered in Aug’s ear saying “You love your dad,  you need to let him know.  Don’t put it off.”  I am so grateful to August and God for making that connection.  At times I’ve felt like there is no God and life hold no meaning, then I think of that miraculous phone call which has done more to make me believe in a loving God than anything else since August’s death.  It wasn’t closure, but it was ending on a positive note of love and acceptance.  I can live with that,  I don’t think I could live with out it.

Comments»

1. me - July 21, 2009

What a beautiful moment to keep, John. It does not make me believe in a loving God, it makes me believe in the power that we humans have to make things happening, in this case the force of an union between you and August… the force of love.

2. chiqui - July 21, 2009

John, after reading this, I promise never to complain to my kids about finding ‘quality’ time to call me.

Your story touched me deeply because I relate to the situation so much. My oldest son – when he calls – is always ordering dinner in some ‘take out’ on his way home.
While I’m engrossed in a conversation, I can hear him talking with whoever happens to be attending to him. I always end our conversation annoyed and telling him ‘you really don’t waste time, do you!’ At this point he is on the street and I can hardly hear him because of other people shouting, cars, sirens…

My youngest calls while he is driven to or from work. I’ll hang up quickly telling him he is going to have an accident.

I will change my way of ending this conversations just because of you and August.

3. Christopher - July 21, 2009

Thanks for writing and sharing that, John. All of these entries have been precious, and I hope you keep writing them. It’s good that our children let us into their lives – good that you were given that gift—at moments when they are doing something totally ordinary, multi-tasking us into their normal lives, or giving us the illusion of being part of their normal lives, rather than getting themselves all pumped up to call “their parents” and making it into a semi-special occcasion. I like it that way and can feel how grateful you must have been for that gift. And yes, how wonderful to see one’s kid(s) behave humbly, simply, courteously.

4. Charlie - August 7, 2009

I do believe that God was giving you both a hand…Aug no doubt needed to hear your voice as much as you needed to hear his. I hope you still talk to him and to God….

5. elvira - August 12, 2009

It sounds peaceful and grateful, John. Hard, too. Sobbing might be easier in that thought: my son and I were able to talk in love.You are not alone, John.

6. Olivia Taylor - February 24, 2011

John, I’m sitting reading about August, and I feel him as I do you. I lost my twins, and six other children and it is still a challenge for me to wake up everyday. Then on Sept 5, 2009 I lost my mom, and then on Sept 7,2010 I lost my dad. Looking at you and August makes me smile, and I wish you what I can’t wish for myself, peace and joy. I was researching death of a child when I found you. Thank you for sharing.


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