Angels in a Not Yet Broken Phone

Five and a half years after being placed on hospice, my mom died in June 2017 at the age of 64.

I organized the funeral and then the funeral happened and then I returned to our house and my husband David went to work and our house was just empty and quiet and I couldn’t handle being downstairs in the space where Mom had been and which had been bustling with activity for the last nine months so I went upstairs to spend the day in bed.

Our bedroom had become my sole private space throughout the past year when hospice staff and caregivers were coming in and out of our small house so I retreated there.

I was selfishly happy to be able to just be openly sad, alone, unneeded by anyone and “off.”

I sank into my grief, into all the losses. Losing my dad to cancer in 2015, followed by my cousin and grandma in 2016 and, finally, my mom in 2017, this was the first moment I’d had to really feel the losses sink in and settle.

I felt apart.

But my thoughts were disrupted when a friend texted me, asking that I take a photo of a floral arrangement that her family had sent for my mom’s funeral.

A small explosion went *pow* in my head.

While I could have said “Not today!” and that would have been completely fine with my friend, I, instead, in a fit of rage, angrily stalked downstairs.

I stomped into the now-empty room where my mom had been and glared at one of the floral arrangements sitting on the floor by the windows.

I was so upset by my friend’s request and it had nothing to do with my friend or her request.

The sun was streaming in through the windows and my house plants which lined them were aglow with the light.

It was a beautiful day outside.

I irritably got my phone out of my pocket and held it up to take a photo of the specific floral arrangement but, as I did so, nothing was on the phone screen.

Or, rather, it just looked like a black screen.


Black screen or not, I clicked to take the photo.

And the black screen remained.

I had taken a photo of blackness.

what the fuck is happening

I turned my phone off and on again. I shook it. I lifted the phone up to again take a photo and the camera only showed the same blackness, as if it was somehow stuck on the screen.

I moved the phone around in the air. I moved myself around the room, turned away from the windows and the black screen remained. I thought, “Awesome. My new phone is jacked.”

And I almost detonated. It was a beautiful sunny day and how I wished it wasn’t.

I was so frustrated by the phone, by the reality I was now stuck in and just about everything. I was alone for the first time in a long time and I wanted to scream.

I did a quick lap around the house.

I walked into what had been the living room and turned left before the stairs to walk into the kitchen and then I walked through the kitchen and came out the other side of it and walked back into the now-empty room which had been my mom’s bedroom.

And I lifted my phone up and… it suddenly worked.


The screen was no longer black.

I took the photo and stalked back upstairs. I texted my friend her requested photo.

I then sat on my bed and glowered for a few minutes.




Eventually, I calmed down and my breathing returned to normal.  

It was then I looked down at the photos on my phone. And I did not have a photo of a black screen.

Rather, I had this photo.

This photo had been taken on a very sunny day in an open, empty room filled with house plants perched on their stands and funeral flowers which sat on the floor in the room my mom had died in.

Seeing that image in the dark of the bedroom completely dismantled my anger because, in it, I saw my parents.

Light in the dark.

And it reassures/gives me goosebumps even today.

Though, yeah, in some light, and, on some days, it just looks like blackness still. 🖤



Also, for the record, this is the most accurate visual portrayal of the grief process:

Thank you, Soaring Spirits International. 🖤

3 thoughts on “Angels in a Not Yet Broken Phone

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