Thursday, December 24, 2009

You've Got Mail

I was driving the gang to school the other morning. Although it takes barely 15 minutes door-to-door, it's an important stretch of together-time that I don't often get because I work from home. So on a day when our respective schedules meant I needed the car during the day, I found myself at the wheel. And as my wife and I often do when we drive, we talk. About the everyday yin and yang of life that you might otherwise miss if you didn't have in-between moments like these.

As we ran through the highlights of the day ahead, my wife told me she had cleaned up the voicemail on our home phone. I take the blame, because I'm a shameless message saver. Send me an e-mail and I'm more apt to archive and not delete it. Because you never know when you'll need it. Same thing with voicemail: I want to make sure Debbie hears the message before it gets deleted into oblivion.

That's how we ended up with 22 old messages clogging our inbox, the Whining Betty voice from the phone company not-so-politely advising us that our mailbox was almost full. Thanks, Betty, for the heads-up.

Debbie deleted them all. Except one: From my dad. He had left it a few days before he died. It wasn't anything earth shattering, just the usual checking-in-we'll-talk-later kind of message. "I just couldn't," she said, her voice haltingly trailing off into silence.

I felt the now-familiar wave of sadness that precedes unprovoked tears. I wanted to stop the car and just hug her. But we were in the middle of traffic, and the clock beckoned. It was her loss, too, and it's just as important for her to hold on to the digitized remnants of a life well lived as it is for me.

6 comments:

Mojo said...

This doesn't surprise me one bit. Not one single bit. Debbie's good people Carmi. But you know that. How fortunate that you found each other.

Love to both of you, and the little'uns too.

Mark said...

How wonderful to have that. I have used my digital recorder to archive voicemails, because I have lived to regret never recording certain (now deceased) relatives' voices.

Aspenstar said...

Carmi -- love to you and your family this holiday season. I have recordings of my mom's voices and some old home movies...today they bring me peace...many years ago, they were very sad to hear. I am glad this was saved for all of you

bobbie said...

Love to you all, Carmi.

I have a voice mail message or two myself that I just cannot erase.

torontopearl said...

Every two weeks, with our type of Bell Canada internal phone messaging system, I have to hit SAVE so as not to lose phone messages; that is how we get to keep mesages from my dear dad and from Ron's dear mom. Believe me, the time I hit DELETE by mistake on one of my father's b'day messages to me made me feel ill.
So glad that Debbie saved that message...even an everyday, mundane message becomes a special message.

MB said...

I'm glad you will be able to hear his voice again even if he didn't say anything all that important in his message. Just hearing his voice will be enough to get you through some days.