I can’t delete her text messages.

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A friend just passed this video onto me and I just had to write about it:

Chills. I didn’t understand the hype until the end. The second he mentioned the undeleted phone contacts, I almost lost my shit. I thought I was the only one.

When someone dies, you want to hold onto every piece of them possible. You start with physical things – notes, clothing, pictures that hang on your wall. Then you realize it’s all too sad, too pathetic. You fear that someone will see your room as a memorial site because for some reason, when someone dies, the picture that was always next to your bed now becomes too much for others to handle. Overnight it turns into a constant reminder of what you don’t have. People aren’t going to look at it and say “You were such an adorable kid!” Instead, they’ll give you this sad look that says everything they’re feeling.

So I got rid of the pictures, pieces of clothing… I tucked away the notes. Anything with handwriting on it is sacred and you throw it in a cabinet because the smallest spill on a seemingly stupid note would bring your world crashing down.

My dad died before I had a cellphone, so his contact info was never there. I have no old text messages or phone calls. My friend is different.

When my friend Amanda died, I put up my favorite photo of us. It was from my sophomore year’s Fest (an annual outdoor concert at DePaul). Things were simple and fun that day. Four Loko was still legal, the weather was warm and three of my best friends all lived together. It was right before the biggest breakdown of my life (obviously alcohol induced) and I was completely unaware that my entire life was going to change. We were just young and just so naïve.

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Amanda’s death was awful. There is no other way to explain it. It was unexpected and cruel. To make things worse, the news covered it… and as much as you tell yourself to stay away from Google, you can’t help it. Then you realize how much it hurts to have your friend, someone you knew and loved, called the “Hit-and-run victim”. Hit-and-run victim in critical condition, Man arrested for hit and run involving cyclist, and ultimately, Hit-and-run victim dies, Remembering Amanda: Friends, faculty talk about student killed in hit and run accident.

So it’s no surprise that I couldn’t, and still sometimes can’t, let go. I eventually got rid of the picture. People looked at it and saw how young she was… instead of that happy, carefree and naïve vision I had. So I took it down. Instead, I held her memory in a private place – my cellphone:

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She was supposed to move in with us, which means that I thought we had time. This was four days before she died. The day after the text, she went home for the weekend. I spent a really long time regretting not seeing her. I now know that you can’t always predict the future… but you better believe I still think of this constantly. We never have the time that we think we have.

And I refuse to delete her messages. I have a handful of dead people in my contact list. Why? What is the point?

If a picture gets lost, it’s not all my doing. If someone spills something on a loved one’s note, it’s not all my doing. If memories fade, it’s not all my doing. But deleting someone from my phone means that I’m saying it’s okay to let them go. You feel like you’re deleting them from your life.

And honestly, a part of me doesn’t want to let go of that.

2 thoughts on “I can’t delete her text messages.

  1. My dad died in October, and I just deleted his contact information a few weeks ago. I still have the last voicemail saved on my phone– a simple “Call me.” I don’t know what I’ll do when I have to get a new phone.

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