Remembering the Voices

I was reminded today of the reason why many of us engage in writing and recording personal histories.

Often it’s not just about the photos and stories and memories. It’s about the  sounds.  Recently a friend who lost a beloved parent not long ago wrote about this in a blog posting.  A native and lifelong resident of Massachusetts, he  decamped in June with his wife  for  work in Cambodia.  Perhaps it was a sense of the  enormous distance he had put between himself and his family, friends,  and familiar ground that did it, but he found himself craving the sound of his late mother’s voice (especially after phoning the U.S. and hearing it on an old voice mail greeting that the family has kept).  I was immediately mindful of my own yearning  for my mother’s voice, a craving still strong these 26 years after her death.  Hearing those voices — whether on tape or video — is powerful and goes straight to the heart of why few among us would say we don’t miss hearing them.   I often urge friends with living parents to grab a tape recorder and make sure not to wait for an “occasion” to turn it on and let it memorialize a loved one’s voice.  Today’s casual dinner table conversation can become tomorrow’s audio gift. (September 2, 2010)

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