The Sound of Her Voice
“Everything comes to pass; nothing comes to stay.” ~Matthew Flickstein
While driving in my car yesterday I caught the tail end of a radio show.
It had a Mother’s Day theme and the part I caught centered on the death of a 65-year-old nurse and her final moments as told by one of her daughters.
Her mother had caught Covid from one of the patients she tended tirelessly.
When she succumbed to the illness, she called all her family members to say a final goodbye while she still could, just in case.
In her case, “just in case” happened; after being intubated, she was unable to speak again.
Her daughter is so grateful to have had that last cogent conversation. She said that without it she would have felt incomplete and might have grieved longer and harder.
~ ~ ~ ~
These stories of Covid deaths are far too common nowadays, and I fear that we (I?) might be becoming immune to them.
So many stories. So much sadness, uncertainty, and loss.
But this story, for some reason, breached my personal firewall, though there was no catharsis in its telling, just a daughter reflecting on the gifts left behind by her cherished mother.
I was moved most by this part of her story: that her mother would call each of her children at one minute past midnight on their birthday every year and leave, according to her daughter, a loud and terribly off-key version of a happy birthday chorus on their voice mail to which they would awaken.
While she related that part of the story, you could tell, even over the airwaves, that she was smiling
But then: “Funny,” she added, “that’s what I now miss the most. Her voice.”
And the smile disappeared from her voice.
~ ~ ~ ~
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. And while my own mother is still alive and healthy at 90+ years of age, there are countless mothers who will never again say “happy birthday” to anyone.
There are countless children, no matter their age, who miss the sound of their mother’s voice and will till the day they die. (My father died over 30 years ago, and I still miss his voice.)
If you are one of them, take comfort, perhaps, in the knowledge that the missing itself is proof of the love once shared in person, though now relegated to the heart, mind and memory.
Love doesn’t die, not really, not real love.
Never has, never will.
And if your mom’s still with you?
Get her to sing you “happy birthday,” even if it’s not your birthday.
And record it.
“The tongue can paint what the eyes can’t see.” ~Chinese Proverb