The voicemail message box on my phone gets full very quickly these days. It's not that I've suddenly become more popular. It's that there's very little space left for new messages. I allowed a backlog of old messages from my mother pile up, and I don't want to erase them.
Mom died last March.
She still had all of her social graces and was the same wise, considerate person she'd always been. The messages reveal that. They also show that she still had the capacity to love life at 94 years of age.
The best messages were when she would call to say it was snowing. She loved snow and so do I. Once I was in the middle of a long day in Manhattan with my agent and my book editors, and I checked my messages. "Hi, it's Mom," she said. "It's snowing! It's really coming down! Talk to you later."
She'd also call me about the latest visitors to her bird feeder. She knew them all and worried about specific individuals who hadn't been to the feeder in a while. "I saw the female cardinal, but not the male," she'd say. "I hope everything is all right."
Sometimes she'd leave what she called "FYI messages." This usually involved something I'd bought and had shipped to her and she just wanted me to know that it had arrived.
An FYI message went like this: "Hi, it's Mom. This is an FYI message. No need to call me back. Especially if you're writing."
She lived a hundred miles away. I visited frequently, but in between my trips we used email (yes, she had a laptop) and especially the telephone to stay in close contact.
Now she's gone and there's an enormous hole in my life. I have thousands of wonderful memories. I have some of her belongings, such as her wedding dress.
But I also have her phone messages.
Someday, when I have to upgrade to a new phone, I'll have to figure out a way to save her messages. But for now, I have no intention of doing anything except leaving them where they are. It's nice to know that anytime I want to, I can play her messages and hear her voice.