Mae, this is just Mom. I woke up from a sleep and I just thought I’d call you. That’s OK. We’ll talk tomorrow. I had a pretty rough day. OK. Bye.
It was from a time when she still had strength to dial out and talk. Towards the end, she didn’t pick up the phone and could barely breathe into the receiver. I’m not sure why I hadn’t deleted it initially. I can only guess my own life was in such disarray that it escaped notice. Afterwards, I couldn’t bear to erase it.
Now and then I still listen to it when I rewind back to the beginning of my recorded messages. I know it’s there and like the sound of her voice. I have the message memorized. The cadence, the accent and the simplicity of the moment warms my heart. It is a voice I’ve known all of my life and will never hear in conversation again. I still mourn my mother but after three years I no longer have a strong desire to call her when something wonderful happens. I haven’t stopped thinking she would have enjoyed this or that. Time has softened and filled the void left from her absence. Admittedly, having her voice recorded has given me strange comfort.
My phone, which is part of the answering machine is breaking. I’ve had it at least 15 years and it’s just wearing out. When it rings, I pick up the receiver but it won’t connect to the base and let me answer. All my incoming calls just go to the message machine. I have let this go on for two weeks as I know when I get a new phone, she will be silenced. As it turns out, I’m not ready for that.