I Was Too Busy to Take My Father’s Last Phone Call

I thought it was a day like any other. Crazy hectic. I was trying to do more and more. Employees were standing outside my door looking for help; clients were calling. I was late for a lunch date and late on a big project I was supposed to have finished. But this day would be different.

One Hectic Day

I was at my desk taking support calls. These were the days of phones with illuminated push buttons. All the lines were blinking. There was a stack of pink “While You Were Away” call slips in front of me. One call after another, answering customers’ questions on our software.

Lynn, my secretary who was right outside my office door, said, “Your father is on the line.”

I yelled back, “Tell him I’ll call him later. I’m too busy to talk.”

I went back to the customer on hold. I was helping her with a problem she was having so she could complete her work. Then on to the next call and the next and the next.

My Sister’s Call

Thirty minutes later, my secretary said, “Your sister is on the line.”

“Tell her I’ll call her back,” I said.

“She needs to talk to you right now. It’s urgent.”

I hung up on my client.

“She’s on line two,” Lynn said.

“Hey, Jan. What’s so important we have to talk right away?” I asked.

“I am at the hospital. Dad just died,” she said.

“What happened? He just called me. He can’t be dead. He can’t be gone. He can’t!”

The Moment of Regret

I’ll never forget that call, that moment. The sadness and emptiness in my sister’s voice. What the room looked like. The quiet which blotted out everything around me. The sun shining through my office window. The trees blowing about outside. The eerie calm. The shock. The regret. The quiet. It became so quiet.

“I didn’t take his call,” I thought to myself.

“I could have talked to him one last time. Now he is gone forever,” I said out loud to no one in particular.

I lost my father on February 15, 1981 at 3:30 pm.

I should have taken his call.

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