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Your cell phone bill is due again, and I decided not to pay it. I’ve kept it on since February just so I could call your voicemail and hear your gruff, sweet southern drawl. I panic immediately after my decision. I have so few movies of you or anything where I can hear your voice, and now that I fear our wedding video is lost, this brief, 15 second clip is all I have left of that voice I loved so much. The voice that comforted me, scolded me, encouraged me, yelled at me sometimes while driving. What will I do? 50.00 is a lot right now. I whisper a soft prayer, and I have an inspiration. I get out your phone..figure out how to record on mine..and I begin calling your number. It takes me 5 tries but I finally get the timing right to record the entire message on my phone. Oh, sweet relief. Then I start looking through your phone pics..I better make sure I forward any of these because you have no card on your phone..once it’s shut off they are trapped in there forever. I look around…I find a folder for “my sounds”..there is a recording there.
I push play. Your voice fills the still room…”Mom, this is Paul. Everythings fine, I’m alright, I didn’t want to call you. I just wanted to tell you that if anything happens to me, I want to make sure Alison is taken care of. She can stay here in the house as long as she wants, and the kids will have to deal with it. I don’t want them comin in and taking everything out - the Tvs and beds and furniture are all Alison’s if she wants them. I want to make sure they are going to treat her right and that she is taken care of. I’ve said everything I need to say to the kids, I love them and all that, so…this is going on way to long now…so …you have been the light of my life and I want to Thank You for everything you have done for me…I love you Mom”.
I was there when this recording was made…Feb 2011..a year before the dreaded Feb 2012 day. You made it I think..if I remember correctly…your blood pressure was doing weird things at the time, and you were worried..having a heart condition makes a lot of things worrisome. We had talked about it..you had reassured me that “You can stay here as long as you want to or need to”. And I had replied with “do you really think I could stay here without you? I would be devastated and don’t think I could do it”.
I was exactly correct. You died on Feb. 13, 2012, and I moved on April 5th, just shy of 2 months. Being there alone without you was too heart wrenching, too empty…too much regret, too much missing, too much sadness, too much of everything not good.
And now, hearing this again….it’s too much of everything good. This was the best part of You. The part that loved his mother deeply, the part that was looking out for me, even now…beyond space and time..beyond your absence. It wasn’t necessary, as I chose to leave, but I think. now ..to do that ..you are loving me still…somehow..in another dimension. As I am here loving you..without you.
And I still have that voice to listen to..even if only for a few seconds…it will have to suffice. Just as my memories of holding you …and listening to your heart beat.