posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 10:14 AM
Always Call Back
Everyday, we get phone calls or make phone calls. Sometimes we tell the caller, "I'll call you back", or when we make a phone call, the receiver
asks us to call back. Sometimes we call back when the other party asks us too, sometimes we forget to call back due to obligations in our busy lives,
or we forget. This is what happened to me.
I forgot to call back.
For the rest of my life, I'll always remember my mother's last words to me: "Call me back in a little while; I am getting my medication right
In February 1997, I was four months into my second enlistment in the Army, stationed at Ft Hood, in Texas. I was a Logistics Specialist in an M1
Abrams tank battalion. Normally, my family doesn't call me, as back then we didn't have unlimited long distance packages on our landline phones, and
cellular phones weren't popular back then, so my family would wait until I called them once a week, as long distance calls were expensive.
One day, I get a phone call to my section. Its my older sister crying on the phone, saying Mom has terminal cervical cancer, that I should come home
to see her soon.
Mom had cervical cancer back in 1994 or so, they did a hysterectomy, hoping to catch it all. It didn't. It came back with a vengeance.
I wanted desperately to go home to see Mom. She raised me, my 3 siblings and 2 half sisters alone. Our fathers did not help in any way shape or form.
I felt it was my dutyt to go home and see her before she passed on.
At this time, my Brigade went on something called 'Force Deployment status', meaning if anything were to go down anywhere in the world, we would be
the first deployed. Regulations stated only 20% of the Brigade were allowed to go on leave at any given time. I went to my company's First Sergeant
(the highest ranking enlisted person in a company) requesting emergency leave. I was denied, and informed emergency leave would only be given in the
event of a family member's passing. Then I asked for a 3 day pass to fly home. Again, denied.
Personnel on Force Deployment couldn't go more then 200 miles from the base, and being New York was over 1,000 miles, that was a 'no go' situation.
I went thru all my channels, Red Cross, Chaplin, to no success.
I did not know what else to do, except call Mom twice a week to keep her spirits up and make sure she's okay.
The Saturday before Memorial Day 1997 I called Mom for my second weekly phone call. When she got to the phone, she asked me to call her back, that her
hospice nurse was there, administering her medication, and to call back later on that afternoon.
I told her okay and hung up.
In retrospect, her voice sounded weak and tired. I didn't think anything of it at the time.
Not long after I hung up the phone, my roommate came in, telling me there was a party going on at another barracks, so of course I went.
I forgot to call back.
The Tuesday following Memorial Day began like every other day in the Army. I got up around 6 AM for morning PT (physical training), then immediately
went to breakfast. Afterwards, I went to my room to shower and get ready for the day.
When I got to my room, our room's telephone's answering machine indicated it had a message on it waiting. It must have come in while I was at PT.
Thinking it was for my roommate, as noone would be calling me around 6 am, I left it alone while getting ready for my workday. When my roommate got
back from the mess hall, I told him there was a message probably for him from his wife, who was in Germany. he hit play on the machine, and it to my
shock, it was my uncle's voice telling me to call him as soon as I got in. I immediately grabbed the phone and called, expecting the worst, and my
fears were confirmed. My mother passed away sometime during the night, that I need to come home, the Red Cross has been notified, who in turn notified
my Chain of Command.
About 30 minutes later, I was summoned to my commanders office with a 3 day emergency leave form to go home for the funeral.
I never called her back.
Knowing my mother's last words to me in this life were: 'Call me back; the nurse is giving me my medication,' will haunt me for the rest of my
What would had she told me if I did call back? What would we have talked about? Did she know she was dying? Was she okay?
I'll never know, because I didnt call her back.
From then on, I have always made it a point to call anyone back when asked or I say I will call back at a certain time.
It might be a good idea now, but it will never change the one fact that will stick with me for the rest of my life:
I never called back.
So learn from me, if you say youre going to call someone back, CALL THEM BACK, It might be the LAST TIME you talk to them