2 min read

The Power of a Voice

The Power of a Voice

There are so many incredible tools that not only help us remember what it is we need to do in our daily lives, but can serve to remind us of those days – the moments within them, bringing it and the people within, back to life.

Yet when I was in the throes of caring for my dad, there were times when I completely overlooked the simplest of life hacks to help get me through the day, much less create a memory. No-brainer things, like setting up alarms on dad’s iPad to remind him to drink water, only occurred to me after he’d answer my calls impersonating W.C. Fields, claiming he would never drink water because of what fish do in it.

I’d give just about anything to have a recording of that. The irony is that I have hours and hours of recordings of him telling family stories and documenting the important decisions he made with regard to his care at the end of his life (being his own advocate and guiding my mother, brother, and me to honor his wishes, not interpret them). Not once in the years since he passed have I listened to them.

It wasn’t until a friend shared a voicemail from his mother that I remembered how much I missed my dad’s voice. Especially when he was speaking in the present tense instead of looking back over his life. This friend was sharing one of his major life-accomplishments, the training and completion of his first marathon. He layered his story-telling, first with his own words, then with a video of him running across the finish line, followed by a photo of him being embraced by family.

Not until he played for me that voicemail did the fullness of his accomplishment truly resonate. Like me, she wasn’t present at the marathon but experienced it through words, videos and photographs. Yet in her message she was there – her joy, pride, and love were tangible – not just in the words she chose or the emotion with which she delivered them – her very essence was captured.

I’ll never meet this woman, she passed away long before I met her son. But as a mother of a boy, I feel a kinship to her (particularly when she referred to her grown son as her “baby boy”) and aspire to leave my children with similar messages that convey not just the love and amazement I have for them, but which also reveal who I am as a person.

voice blog imageI need to tell my mother similar things, in the present tense, before the threat of her loss overshadows everything. Someday, hopefully far into the future, I’ll come across the letters I wrote to my mom and discover voicemails she kept to embrace the love, joy, and pride I felt for her.

We live in an amazing time, wherein a myriad of technologies can help capture the essence of ourselves and our loved ones. Technology allows us to hold memories and celebrations of life more closely. Documenting ourselves for instance through a care journey, allows those whom we’ve never met, nor will meet, learn of our joys and struggles.

For caregivers, technology can truly be a gift. As our relationships with loved ones change, we can use videos, photos, and voice recordings to prepare for saying goodbye to the person they were, the person they’ve become, and finally the person moving on. 

Find comfort in that loved ones are always near and will immediately bring back to life a moment and the people we shared it with – no longer just a reminder or a memory, but a reliving.

We're in this together…