What I miss the most is our phone calls. Even on the darkest days, talking to my mom would brighten my spirits.
I still feel a tug to call her every time I leave work. The sadness sets in the instant that I get behind the wheel and realize that our lively chats during my evening commute will never happen again.
My mother Helen passed away in September. Strangely, the realization that my mother is gone doesn’t always stop me from calling her house. It’s bittersweet to listen to her cheerful voice on the answering machine. She sounds so alive. It makes me want to reach through the phone and grab hold of the person speaking those words.
A few weeks after her death I was desperate to talk to her again, desperate just to hear her voice. I went searching for old voicemails. There had to be something buried in my iPhone, considering the countless calls we shared.
As luck would have it, my deleted message file turned into a treasure chest of memories. I struck it rich with nearly a dozen voice messages from my mom. And these were not just your average voice messages. It was not unusual for my mother to have an entire conversation in a voicemail. I’m embarrassed to say there were times in the past when I would hang up before hearing her entire message. Now, I was hanging on to every word.
I listened to these voicemails over and over again in the quiet, darkness of my bedroom. Her voice was so real. Her spirit so alive. It was as if the voicemails were coming straight from Heaven. This was it, I thought, the solution to my deep sadness & shattered heart. These “Voicemails from Heaven” would be enough….
But the truth is, they were not enough - they never will be. As wonderful as it is to listen to my mother’s sweet voice, and as grateful as I am for finding these treasures, she is gone. The voicemails can’t replace our deep, meaningful, thought-provoking, funny, supportive, loving and sometimes heated conversations.
A few weeks before my mom died, she placed her hand on my heart and said, “I will ALWAYS be with you.” What a gift to give a loved one. No words between us were left unspoken. But I promise you, we still had plenty more to say. If only Heaven had a hotline. I promise you that I would be calling it every day.
This is one of the voicemails from my mom. She left me this message on Saint Patrick’s Day. She talks about her decision to eat a traditional Irish meal and memories of her father preparing the same dish. She also mentions all three of my children individually. What a tremendous gift!
Sloane is the mom of three and a reporter and anchor for WRAL-TV.