I Wish I Could Hear Her Voice

13 Nov

Although I recall things my mom said to me and conversations we had, I miss her voice. I had not put much thought into hearing her voice until recently. During a visit with my (very wonderful) cousin, he mentioned watching his wedding video so we could hear my mom talk (and relive that most precious day). We did not get around to watching the video, yet his thoughtful and thought-provoking comment resonated with me.

I’ve heard stories about terminally ill people who make videos and tape recordings to leave for family and friends. Perhaps because I’ve always thought the idea is sweet, but eery or because I was too caught up in the tragedy surrounding us, I did not even think about recording my mom’s voice when we knew her situation was terminal. Yet, now that I am thinking so much about my mom’s voice, I realize how clever it is. I could choose to listen to my mom and she would speak directly to me. It would never replace our daily phone call, but would certainly fill part of the void. Just as important, my children would hear her.

While my mom’s mother, Grandma Ray, was alive, we made a point of asking her to tell her history. She lived into her 90s and certainly had substantial stories of life in Poland, her pious father, emigration to the US via Cuba, raising a family in Harlem, The Bronx, etc. It made sense to record her –her stories could add important personal reflection to a course in world history! I fondly recall my Grandma’s wise sayings, many taken from reading the Bible and Torah: “Who is rich? A person satisfied with what he has.” In Yiddish, “Besser be gornit (better than nothing).” I now think about the impact any saying or story would have if heard in her voice. Although my mom’s history couldn’t  measure up to her mom’s (thankfully), she certainly had plenty to say!

I am going to satisfy this newly discovered desire to hear my mom’s voice by watching and listening to my own wedding video. But, as I think about this, I must stand on the clichéd soapbox to encourage you, if it’s not too late, to record your mom’s (or dad’s or any significant older/ ill friend or relative) voice. Keep filming events and saving the film. Use your phone or computer to record a conversation. Tell your mom (or other person). I am not sure how my mom would have reacted, but I think she might have appreciated the idea of being heard eternally.

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4 Responses to “I Wish I Could Hear Her Voice”

  1. lori pitkowsky November 13, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Beautiful sentiment, Shar. Nothing like hearing someone’s voice. So wise to think about.

  2. Stacey November 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    I actually did this, but still after almost 6years haven’t listened to it. Maybe I will one of these days. It’s sort of comforting in a way to know I can. Not sure how I will react!

  3. Deborah the Closet Monster November 14, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    I’ve been a little nervous about my health the last month or so, and I’ve been thinking a lot about recordings.

    Right after my mom died, I took the two voicemails from her that I’d saved and converted them to digital format. I haven’t listened often, but it’s a blessing to know I can.

    I went to watch my college graduation tape, made by a then-recent ex, and was startled to see my mom healthy and whole. I wept, but not the same kind of tears as I did around March 2010.

    Her last words on the video? “I’m proud of you, honey!”

    And, there they are again. Things in my eyes.

  4. Renee Schuls-Jacobson December 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    My parents love to watch their wedding video and they narrate all the people who have passed away. It is a wee bit creepy, but you are right. I have video of them speaking and dancing and while it is goofy now, I’m sure one day, I will appreciate it more. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful that I have two parents who love me very much. Lesson learned.

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