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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Trustey

New Message from "Anna Trustey"

We all have bad days. Not just “Trader Joe’s was out of dark chocolate peanut butter cup” days. But those days where we seriously doubt every aspect of our lives. Those days where we start thinking, “ok, what do I have going for me?” and we struggle to answer. Honestly, maybe it’s a me thing.


Well, the other night, I’m having one of those moments. I like to categorize my life and check off what’s going well and what’s not (helloooo, type-A perfectionists!). My mind process went something like this:


“Work? Nope, I’m way behind on the dissertation and can’t focus if my life depended on it.


Finances? I’m not doing the graduate assistantship next semester, so I can focus on the dissertation, so there goes my income. (This is wildly dramatic of me, as I am so lucky to have family support, but my pride gets in the way.)


Love life? Let’s just say I cracked open this book the other night:



(Kinda a joke, kinda not).”


So, here I am, inventorying my life and realizing it’s a good thing I didn’t go into supply chain management.


When I have these moments, I like to text Anna from time to time. It’s always brought me comfort. I know she won’t reply, but it feels like I’m talking to her. On Friday night, I sent her a text. For the past 6 years, every message I’ve sent to her has been sent as a green text bubble. “Sent as text message,” my iPhone 12 states, reminding me that her iPhone 5 will never again be turned on. That her phone is out of service.


Imagine my shock, at two in the morning, to see a blue text bubble and the word “delivered.” Nausea overwhelmed me. So many emotions at once until I felt nothing at all: sadness, betrayal, shock, disbelief, hope, apathy. Through heaving sobs, those ones where you can’t breathe and have to remind yourself to inhale, I typed out some semblance of an apology/explanation to the new owner of this number. In the words of Monica Lewinsky in the new tv show, Impeachment, “[AT&T] you treacherous bitch.”



Panic ensued. I must make sure no one else’s numbers have been reassigned. Why did I play this game? Unclear. But there I was, sending texts to dad, A.J., and Jake, desperately hoping to see green. The irony is that I’ve prayed to see blue for so long that I maybe imagined it all, and I’ll get iMessages in return from these loves. Now, blue is a nightmare. Another sign of moving on?


At the juxtaposition of the Anna nightmare and the relief of everyone else still being disconnected (my brain is exhausting), I fell asleep. I awoke Saturday morning and honestly forgot about this emotional rollercoaster. That’s the funny thing about grief - it’s not linear. Sometimes we are at the peak of grieving, and other times we’re gliding through life, like penguins playing on their bellies.


But if you’ve ever been on a rollercoaster, you know there’s usually an unexpected dip. My dip came on Saturday night when I got a text message from “Anna Trustey.” My heart stopped (honestly, this isn’t a good metaphor at the moment as I’ve been dealing with a heart arrhythmia and various heart problems - which is its own post for another day, coping with the learning of a diagnosis and being treated for the thing that stole the love of your life away for you. But I digress).


“Anna Trustey” illuminates the screen. This has not happened in 6 years. The breath leaves my lungs. Cognitively, I am aware it is not my sister. Emotionally, I need it to be her. So desperately, I want my sister to be texting me. Anything. “Did you feed the dogs?” “When will you be home?” “LOL Claire has a boyfriend.” “Want to play sims?” (Sidebar: we LOVED staying up playing sims, and my mom would come into my room at like 3 AM and force us to go to sleep…) I did not play it cool. I did not wait to read the text. I was not playing hard to get. I sprawled across the couch as if a Trader Joe’s white cheddar corn puffs bag was on the other side (shockingly, not sponsored by T.J.s) to read the text. And it was as perfect as it could be, all things considered:





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