Months before my Mom passed away, I sat on the couch next to her and recorded her voice. I captured her thoughts, her laughter, and her gratitude for each of my siblings and my Dad.
Friends, who had experienced loss, told me they really missed the voice of their loved one. So as my Mother’s health continued to decline, she and I worked to record a voice memo for each person in our immediate family and then for her grandchildren. I wanted them to be able to hear her say how much she loved them, whenever they needed it, or wanted it. I wasn’t worried about getting a memo for myself. I was spending so much time with my Mom; I wanted to finish theirs first.
After the funeral, I re-listened to my Mother’s voice and texted the voice memos to my siblings. I remember tapping the blue send arrow and suddenly feeling totally and completely bereft, like a small rowboat dropped from a much larger ship into a churning sea, with no tether. Left to fare the heaving waters alone.
I had no voice memo. I know it seems a little thing, even a selfish thing, and at the time we were recording I didn’t feel worried about it. But when I realized everyone else had this precious message just for them, I felt unmoored, undone. Like I had dealt myself an inequity, an unfairness. I don’t know why it bothered me so much, but it troubled me to the core.