Holding On

I wonder how many of us keep saved voice mails that we can’t bring ourselves to delete. Maybe they are messages that carry some special weight for us, or are from someone now gone from this world, or just inaccessible to us now – a message we play on occasion to remember, or to find comfort in a voice that we can’t otherwise hear.
 
My dad is not much for technology. In fact, he told me just the other day that he didn’t want to learn to do anything new. He’s 81, so I guess it’s okay. Anyway, he carries a simple flip phone that I got for him years ago. Occasionally he gets a text message that he doesn’t know how to pull up, or a voice mail that he can’t get to. On those times that I’ve helped him clear out old, irrelevant voicemails, we always come across one from his older brother that passed away nearly five years ago now. I can see that uncomfortable look in my dad’s eyes when he hears his brother’s voice from beyond, as he tries to smile. My dad has never been a crier. (Sometimes the apple does fall a little distance from the tree.) We keep choosing to save that one.
Technology can be a wonderful thing.
 
I have phone numbers in my contact list of people that have died (some, several years ago). I’m sure that many (if not all) of the numbers have been recycled by now. I don’t try to call them, I just don’t delete them. I suppose that if anyone with one of the recycled numbers were to call me, it would freak me out a bit. But sometimes we just want to hold onto whatever ties we have with someone.
I keep a voice mail message from my son from almost ten years ago, of an apology for something that had happened; and another more recent message from a friend whose voice I hadn’t heard in years. A couple months ago my phone repeatedly dialed about four people in my contacts list several times each while it was in my pocket. I didn’t know that this was happening until it had gone on for a while and my phone battery was nearly dead. I had a couple of texts from people either checking to see what was wrong, or simply telling me that I was butt-dialing them. I also had a voice mail that simply said, “You keep calling me, please stop.” I still find comfort in playing it back just to hear that voice.

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