Note: I wrote this post on September 25, 16 days after my Mom died. I’ve been sharing parts of this process on my blog, but in order to protect myself, I am sharing them a couple of weeks or so after I wrote them. I want to be able to look back at these posts and see how I’ve grown… Besides, the emotion seems less sharp and raw a couple of weeks later. Perhaps this is my way of gaining perspective. So, ignore scattered thoughts. Ignore poor grammar and punctuation. These words were a pure stream of emotion.
When we were cleaning my Mom’s house, I was cleaning her closet. After my sister had left for the day to make the 1.5 hour drive back to Springfield to pick up my niece from school, I stumbled upon an old Panasonic tape recorder. It’s silver-grey and has five simple buttons on it: rewind, forward, pause, play and record.
The minute I saw it I smiled. It was the same recorder that went every week with me tap class starting when I was 2.5. The same recorder that sat on my piano as I would record myself playing. The same recorder that I would sing into (yes) and read into. (I loved public speaking from an early age. Weirdo.) The same recorder that I would hold UP to the radio to record a song I liked so I could listen to it again and again. (I didn’t get a boom box until way late…)
In the 25-year-old panasonic recorder was a cassette tape. Which made me smile because it’s 2013 and a cassette tape is a relic; an anachronism. So while standing in my Mom’s bedroom, I tried to press “play” but the batteries were clearly dead. Understandably.
So, I held the recorder for a while and then put it in my pile of “stuff” to take home with me. I figured I’d plug it in or change the batteries. My sister and I would check it out later.
The week went on.
We burned her journals.
We cried some more.
We left her house and went back to my sister’s house in Springfield. Then, we packed our bags to leave one another; to go back to our “normal” lives after such a life-altering tragedy. My bag was a little heavier. It contained a new framed photograph of my Mom. One that we actually took in Cabo… for her profile picture when we signed her up for Facebook. Ah, social media… I also had a couple other odds and ends that I found at her house. Including the tape recorder.
I’ve been home from Springfield for just 5 days and tonight, around 10:30 p.m. I thought of it. I couldn’t get four double A batteries out of our junk drawer fast enough. I grabbed the Panasonic tape recorder that was so ridiculously familiar to me; I slid open the battery door, pulled the orange ribbon that loosened the old batteries and I carefully loaded the new one and I pressed play.
The ‘ole Panasonic tape recorder wasn’t as deft as it once was and the reverberation squeaked loudly… I adjusted the volume and that seemed to help. The static stopped… and then… very quietly, I heard it…
It was her… singing…
“I love you Lord…
And I lift my voice…
To worship you, oh my soul..
Take joy my King,
In what you hear.
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound… in your ear.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
It’s my Mom.
I heard her. I HEARD HER.
Singing the sweetest praise song.
I just sat, frozen, heart pounding, praying that this tape would never end…
I could hear the crickets in the background… even her dog.
She sang it a couple of times, then switched to “Lord, you are more precious than silver…”
When I switched the tape, there was another hymn that I wasn’t familiar with… but it spoke of being ready for heaven.
The entire time I sat still and didn’t move.
And I had a smile on my face.
My Mom died days ago and I’ve been crying, oh I’ve been crying lately because I am just beyond sad… because all I want to do is hear her voice.
… I did.
I don’t believe in luck. I believe in destiny. I believe that everything is pre-ordained and destined.
Tonight? I didn’t happen upon that tape. I heard it because I needed it.
She left that knowing we’d find it after she died.
I think maybe I’m going to be ok.
—The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom.
September 30, 2013 :: Slivers of Sunlight :: Post here.
October 6, 2013 :: That first week.Those first days :: Post here.
October 14, 2013 :: 14 days after :: Post here.