For years, I’ve kept a well-managed contact list in electronic form. And I do regular cleanings of it, for businesses that are no longer in business and business contacts that I no longer have a need to keep around. But for those people in my life that have passed on, they have remained in my contact list.
For example, my mom is still in my contact list even though she’s been gone for almost 7 years. While I don’t normally look up her contact information, I pass by it when I call my daughter and it makes me think of her. Which is a good thing, even if it does bring some sadness that I can’t call her anymore.
I also have an aunt listed in my contacts, even though she has been dead for over 8 years. And it’s been over 10 years since the last time I wrote to her. While I only met her once in my life when I was 9, I somehow kept her contact information current as an adult.
I also still have several friends that have died and they remain in my address list. Two of my best friends – one who will be gone 10 years this coming December and another who died a year ago – are still in on my phone and available to call, even though both of them are gone and their phone numbers have been disconnected.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve not found a reason to delete them. Or more likely, it’s due to the fact that I don’t know of a proper place to archive their details. I’ve been thinking about this, mostly due to the anniversary of my friend Jim’s death is this coming Thursday. I think loss is such a difficult thing to deal with and one that leaves a lot of memories for those that we were close to. So wanting to keep their legacy around, even if it’s in the form of a contact on your phone’s address book, it’s not something that’s easy to let go.