January, 2019 was the year I lost my dad. After the burial, several traditional rituals are performed including, the cutting off of hair as a sign of mourning (although only my mum did this), the slaughtering of a white ram and sprinkling it’s dung on the grave, and the giving away some of his belongings first to his relatives, then his friends, and finally to anyone else who wants a specific item. I decided to do my own ritual: hold on to his bed-throw that I had gifted him a few years back, and to leave his contact information in my phone the way it had always been. But, this morning while filling in a rental form that required a contact’s phone number in case of an emergency, I looked in my phone-book for the number. My contact’s name starts with the letter “D”, so I entered D, and “dad” popped up at the top. Well, a pause! thoughts! emotions! questions! Is it time to erase my dad’s number from my phone, and if so, what difference would it make? Then I did something strange. I decided to call his number knowing too well that there would be no ring or sound on the other side. Surprisingly, his phone rang three times before an automated voice said that the phone number was not available. Immediately, I called my mum to ask who it was she had given dad’s phone to, and whether his number was disabled before his phone was given away. “Angela, I was mourning,” moaned my mum, taken aback by such a random question. “I do not remember whom I gave your dad’s phone to,” she stated matter-of-factly. Realizing her sad tone, I quickly changed the subject of our conversation to a more cheerful one. A part of me wants to remove my dad’s mobile number from my phone, because I know that I will never use it to reach him again, but another part of me feels the guilt of doing so. It’s as if I am finally parting ways with him or forgetting him. So, I leave it the way it is.


Published by Msdedeng

At 41, I am still figuring out life: my place in society, my career path, a family of my own, any many others things. Heck, I am still trying to make friends in California; a place I moved to 3 years ago. I am currently in a Community College to make up for the many years I missed school while in Africa (Uganda). I intend to transfer to university next year and double major in History and English. I lead a very ordinary life; a normal day is spent doing school assignments, hiking, or reading. My favorite thing to do is walk! Short walks or long walks it does not matter. Walking allows me to think about things - anything! My love of walking comes from where I grew up, a small village in northeastern Uganda. It is still one of the most remotest areas I will ever know, and couldn't even start comparing what life is like there to say a place like California. Walking was all I did while growing up! I walked for miles to school, to church, to the shops, to the borehole to fetch water, and to the market. It was quite an adventure unlike any other - so you now understand my love for walking.

87 thoughts on “Guilt

  1. It doesn’t have to make sense we deal with things in our own ways and we never really truly heal but life goes on and we make peace with our loss if keeping a phone number helps keep it, if you need to let go, let go.. For some healing comes in letting go for others holding on is an anchor that helps them make sense

    As for me, I started my blog partly so those who will want a part of me can find pieces of me on the internet, my immortality.

    When my sister passed away a couple of years back, we had a family discussion some saying let’s shut down her Facebook page and others saying leave it… It was eventually deleted and now I regret not having been firmer in asking them not to delete it Or to at least just deactivate and not permanently delete anyway it was before facebook introduced that memorial feature where you can mark a profile as belonging to someone who died


  2. Bless you. It’s comforting to know that keeping something of a loved one is very normal. And many friends on here have told me how one day they just know it’s time to let it go. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally relate to your post… After my mom died, I took a few things to remember her by. One of the things I took was her silver hairbrush, with her hair still in it. I was tempted years later to wash it and remove her hair, but I didn’t. Then one day, I just “knew” it was OK to do that…maybe 5 years later, it felt right, and I did it…There was no guilt then, for me. I am sorry for your loss and do know how hard it it, to lose a parent…🤗🙏🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is powerful in a certain way. I know both of my parents went through it in different ways. My only loss to this day is either symbolic or distant relatives. I still feel an invisible pull.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ultra, thank you, but there is nothing special about me. Humans are resilient and can cope to new environments when life dictates. I promise, you would do the same had you been in a similar situation. Thank you for your kind words though 🙂


  6. You are special, extraordinary, you have been through so much. You live in a foreign country. Only a brave person can cope. You also run a blog. I wish you perseverance.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. i’ve never dealt with the passing away of someone close to me, and i hope that doesn’t come anytime soon. i can’t say i empathize with you, because i don’t, but i’m sorry for your loss, and even though condolences don’t do much, I hope you know that i admire how strong you are. for everything ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Aww, Michele. I don’t know what to say to you right now, but your words and similar experience left a warmth in me. I think if i had his voicemails, I would do the same, listen to them over and over again. And when I was writing my experience, I kept thinking of people like you with voice mails, and kept wondering if that was even harder, or sweeter to listen to a voice of a loved one passed to another world. I thank you for sharing your story. Enjoy your dad’s voice and may you have peace and comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your post touched me deeply. Thank you. 💗 I lost my dad in February of 2019. I have saved voicemails from him on my phone that I listen to from time to time. My favorite is the one of him saying, “Happy Birthday” to me. Sad and sweet.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Dear Keith, your words are like a horrible thirst quenched, with every drop renewing life. Words so sweet like spring, one is left bathing in it.
    Thank you for sharing your own experience with your dad’s passing, and yes, there is no end but continuity.
    I thank you my dear friend.
    Take care of yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Angela, sympathy, as my own father moved on several years ago. While no-one among us can say with perfect knowledge what, and who, awaits us next, you must suspect it’s not “goodbye,” but “until we meet again.” In the meantime, your father still lives in your memory and in your dreams. Cherish both.

    Your smile, your sensitivity and your intelligence are his legacy, as is your children’s laughter. These make him immortal.

    That’s a beautiful way to distribute your father’s things. You have the bed-throw you gave him, while I chose a few of Dad’s neckties I had gifted him over the years. Really, I have no need for more neckties, as I already have a closet full of them, but these are special. They’re a bright way to perpetuate his memory.

    There also are phone-related similarities, as I still have some of my father’s old voice mails, though I haven’t had a landline in years. Again, that memory thing.

    Thus, we both still hold whispers from the past. We keep them for now, and who knows when we’ll dispose of them, if ever? Our hearts will tell us when the moment is right. Likely when we realize our parents’ legacy appears not in the things they had, but in the lives we’ve built. That’s one inheritance we began collecting the day we were born.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My mom a couple years before she died. I hope the tape has survived my storage. I’ll get it made to an mp3 when I’m able to go through my storage again.


  13. Gosh, I can imagine a voice mail being even harder, but at the same time magical to hear his voice over and over again. Thank you for sharing, Morgan, and all the best. I also thank you for your kind words.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You know, Katelon, I thought about those with loved ones voice messages, and how harder that would be to erase. A number is one thing, a voice is quite another. Thank you and please take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I understand. I have things I’ve kept of my Mom’s. It was hard to get rid of my mom’s answering machine and her outgoing message.

    Sending on support for your loss and grief.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Sorry for your loss, it’s very difficult to comprehend your state. But maybe it’s the nature’s way, that we have to carry on however unwilling it will be. Peace be with you and you are truly wonderful child to take care of your mom.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I completely relate with you. When my dad died, he’d left a message on my answering machine and I couldn’t delete it. I’d say keep his number on your phone. If you ever delete it, it will be because you’re ready to.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sorry for your loss and I hear you. I have an old scarf that belonged to my Dad (he died 10 years ago today) and although I am unlikely to ever use, I can’t even imagine how to part with it. Grief is cyclic and I feel there is no need to rush into these things and you will know if and when the time is right.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I’m sorry for the loss of your Dad. Grief takes many shapes and forms. I still have phone and email details of people who have passed, even many years ago, in my contacts list. Like you, I like to hold onto the memory and each time they pop up is a reminder. Take care.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Most of the times the grieving process takes long. Especially when you lose a loved one which is very normal you can have mixed emotions like guilt,sadness, regret.
    We feel like we are letting the person down when we erase every memory we shared with them.

    When dealing with grief, it is ok to develop your own ritual to get over the deceased I can’t promise you that you that it will be easy and that you will forget dad (rip) but you will come out stronger than before.

    I believe He is proud of you whenever He is right now. Aunt Angella you are loved,you amazing,you are strong.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. A part of me wants to remove my dad’s mobile number from my phone, because I know that I will never use it to reach him again, but another part of me…


    God, do I understand you. I relate to what you’ve written so very much.


    Liked by 2 people

  22. I guess it is natural for all of us to hold on to memories of our loved ones…in fact those memories are what keeps us going. Retaining the number is also a similar process and I have done the same too for all those of my relatives and friends who were once very dear but have now moved on. I keep being reminded of them once in a while when I am scrolling my phone book and then the memories come back. So I really empathise with you and your dilemma. Not an easy decision to take for sure…but just to let you know that I too have kept the numbers stored and don’t delete them. Wishing you peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Aww, don’t feel guilty. My dad and mom passed many years ago, too many cell phones ago not sure what I did but time will heal your heart. I think you should keep his number and you’ll know when the time is right to let it go. 🙏❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Am crying as I read this! Dads phone number is still on my phone too. Am not sure I am ready to erase the number as yet! I feel like it’s the only thing that keeps me going for now, considering everything I missed out during his burial! And this month does not make it easy too, his memories are so fresh!
    May his soul RIP🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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