In the process of organizing ourselves for the move, we bought new phones to replace my three year old iPhone and Doc’s five year old device. After the purchase to upgraded toys, we plan to donate the older ones to a Rape and Abuse Center. Yet, this new phone purchase was different. The contentment specialist -or whatever her ridiculous title was- who transferred information from old phone to new only brought contacts and voicemail. None of the old texts, which I rarely erase, made it onto the brand new bauble. I found myself panicked at the thought of letting go of some of them, because they are not replaceable. I’ll never get another text from my friend Ric, because he passed away April 6, after a beautiful, if troubled run on this planet. Working through this technological conundrum brought this move into sharper focus. Ten years ago when we moved to this place, texting was not the ubiquitous communication format it has become, and age, death, and sorrow were intermittent tiny parts of our easy lives. Since then, even my Mother has learned to text, and Doc’s Father has left us. We have survived very real loss, not just in deaths, but in betrayals of various forms at the same time we have thrived and built deep, valued friendships and gorgeous memories. We will never be the people we were when we came here full of hope, because our capacities, our careers, and our scars have grown.
I took photos of the text conversations spanning about four years that were stuck on the old phone, using the nifty upgraded camera on the new phone. Thanks Apple. It was an odd process of holding on and letting go at the same time. It might be silly to want old texts, but those communications are representative of our changing relationship and of my changing relationship to my surroundings.
Mourning my lost texts and my old friend, provides inroads into mourning what will soon become my old life. We are looking forward to the adventure, no doubt, but experience makes us realize that some endings are permanent. Of course, we will hold on to the people we love, and we will visit when opportunities arise, but everything must and should change. In ten years, I hope I have saved more communications from amazing people I have not yet encountered, and that dear friends from this place are texting me still.