It’s been a year since my last Skype call with Mum. It was a “short” call lasting just 2 hours 33 minutes and 39 seconds. (Yes: As some calls could last 3+ hours, this was short. Although in fairness, it was probably our “average”.) But like so many things in this life, I didn’t know it was our last call at the time.
Our tradition for Sunday Skype calls began when I returned to Scotland after my husband died. In the beginning, it was just a random call here and there. Over time, it became a thing we did on Sundays at 8 pm my time; 12 noon Mum’s time. And quite often, I would sip a cocktail and give myself a manicure as we chatted.
We spoke most Sundays and on random other days when one of us had something to share – including quick video chats when I was out exploring so that I could share the scenery with her. And we interacted through Facebook comments, Facebook Messaging, email, and “old-fashioned” letters as well. Indeed, it was rare to go more than a couple of days without some form of interaction with Mum.
We even tried to chat when my folks were away on their travels, although it was more likely that we would reschedule a call for later in the week if that was the case. But on occasion, we did have calls from elsewhere. And that included Thanksgiving calls that became a tradition – normally with my youngest sister (Royann) and her family since that’s where they spent most of their Thanksgivings in recent years.
Yes, the Traditional Sunday Skype was a tradition I loved. And that last Skype call was a very typical call, but with the added joy of real planning. In addition to the normal updates and re-hashed rants (often societal/political, as we were of a similar mindset) we talked about plans for my arrival. Both practical plans for how I would get home to Cle Elum if the weather was bad and plans for what we would do when I arrived – including the ever-growing list of chores that waited for me.
I don’t recall the little details of that call… but I know very well the feeling of joy it brought, as all my calls with Mum left me feeling happy.
And then, two days later, I travelled home to America. And I enjoyed my first hugs since 2019. Oh, how wonderful that was!
On the following Sunday, after I arrived home, we joked that I wouldn’t be able to make the call as I wasn’t going to be home. Mum made a joke in return about the missed call. And we laughed because we knew Skype was pointless for the time being…
On her last Sunday, several weeks later, I told her we’d have “our call” even though there was no call to be had. By then, Mum was slipping away from this world, and I was holding vigil so that she was never alone. So, I talked to her, updating her on all the silly little things I would have shared had we been on a Sunday Skype call – I even included a wee rant about the current political environment for good measure. After all, that was part of our Skype tradition. Mum died the following morning.
I always regretted the days when we cancelled a call because I was always aware that the last call might be the last call. And (before she died) Daddy told me how much she looked forward to our calls, which makes me regret even more all the calls we never made.
But I will always treasure the calls we had.
I miss my mother so very much. She was an anchor in my life and I find myself at a loss without her there on the other end of a video chat on a Sunday evening. But I am so blessed to have had so many wonderful conversations and moments of laughter with her.
If you’re loved ones are still with you, pick up the phone or your video chat platform of choice and give them a call. Tell them about your day; ask them about theirs… and tell them you love them. You’ll not regret it!