I have a new friendship to tell you about– one that I never saw coming. Isn’t it funny when new a friend sneaks into your life, without you even realizing that it was happening?
About 6 months ago, my home phone rang. I don’t know about you, but we rarely even use our home phone anymore… always the cells. Sometimes I don’t even answer the home phone to avoid telemarketers.
However that day, I noticed that the last name on the caller ID was the same as mine. So of course, I answered it, a bit intrigued.
The woman who called is probably in her 70s or 80s; we’ll call her Max (it wouldn’t be fair to share her real name). She was looking for her grandson, Sam (yes, another pseudonym). I explained that she had the wrong number. She apologized profusely, and said that she had called Information and they had given her my number. We exchanged niceties, and hung up. I thought nothing of it.
After that phonecall, Max called five more times that day. I answered the second time, but ignored the ringing after that, feeling somewhat disconcerted that she didn’t seem to remember calling the first time.
The next day began with the ring of the phone. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t. So instead, I started answering Max’s calls.
Six months have now gone by, and I have spoken to Max almost every day, except for the month that I was travelling over the summer with my family.
For the first few months of our daily conversations, she never remembered me at all, or that she had accidentally called me the day before.
We had the same conversation over and over…
“Hi Mrs. Palmer. How are you today? Oh, good. My name is Stephanie Palmer. No, your grandson Sam isn’t here at this number. There seems to be some confusion about which number you should call to reach him.”
I wonder if it’s Alzheimer’s, or perhaps a vascular dementia, or multiple TIAs. I’m not sure.
I can hardly believe it, but an amazing thing has happened. Mrs. Palmer sort of remembers me now. Each time she calls, she is confused by the situation at first. She never knows that she’s dialing me each time. She truly expects to hear her grandson Sam’s voice on the other end of the call.
But now, when I explain that it’s me, and that she accidentally got my number from 411, she laughs and seems to remember a bit. She calls me “darling” and tells me how sweet I am. She promises to cross out the number in her phone book, and swears that she won’t make the mistake again. I ask her about her dogs, and her the housekeeper who takes care of her (she’s been through a couple now), and what she did during the day, and whether she’s seen Sam lately.
She tells me how sad she is, because her husband, son and daughter have all passed away, and her grandson Sam is her only connection to the world now. But she says she is well taken care of, and that our conversations brighten her day.
Sometimes my conversation with Max bring me to tears. Sometimes I hang up, laughing, after the funny things she’s said.
Regardless, I know I look forward to her calls each day. Her friendship is an unexpected blessing.
And the thought of her not calling anymore…. well, that’s just too terrible to think about.
When she called yesterday, I asked for her address. I am going to send her a quilt. What should it be, I wonder? I wish I could do more for her, but a least the warm, soft quilt will deliver the hug I would like to send.
My friendship with Mrs. Palmer helped bring to mind the question I would like to ask of you….
If you are participating in the Supernova block swap, I invite you to share the answer with your partners for the last month of our swap.
What unexpected blessings do you have in your life?