What’s in a Message?

Last week, I mentioned that every Thursday we are presented with a hurdle which always seems much bigger than any other time of the week. I ended the post by saying that I couldn’t think of anything else that could possibly be put before us; that we must have faced everything by now.

I was wrong.

Yesterday was just another day – in my new normal, that is. Sorrow and saddness waiting on the edge, waiting for an opening to come crashing in and take hold of me. For most of the day, I did quite well. However, in the late afternoon, at work, the edges started to fall away and I began to lose control of my fascade. Tears welled, numerous times. A lump formed in my throat. But I wasn’t as weak as I have been and I managed to beat the blues away.

At home, in the early evening, I came to the computer and words rolled around in my mind. Words for a post for this blog, telling of how we got through a Thursday without a huge hurdle. I didn’t write the post though, and I suppose it was just as well, because this week the hurdle was put before us late in the day. And it was quite unexpected.

There was a chain of events. Just small things, but when you group them together, it becomes a lead up to heartbreak.

Daniel said something, I can’t even remember the words, but I found myself leaving my chair and walking towards the answering machine. Without thinking, I leaned forward and pressed a button – Greeting. I heard the recorded message that usually plays when the answering machine switches on. I pressed “Greeting” again. An instant later, I heard Barry’s voice. He sang a message as clear as if it was yesterday:

Hey, how ya going?
Sorry you couldn’t get through.
Leave…ya name…and ya number,
and we’ll get back to you.

This time it was his voice. I know that without a doubt. I sobbed. I sobbed for my son. I sobbed for opportunities lost. I sobbed for the laughter of that day, which I’ll never hear again. I sobbed for the happiness that has been ripped away from us. I sobbed because I needed to hear his voice so much, yet hearing it broke my heart. I sobbed because I miss him so much. Then, I had to listen to it again so that I could reprogram the machine to play the other message (the safe message)…so I sobbed some more, and this time Gary joined me.

What’s in a message? In this case, everything. The memories of the day we recorded that message came flooding back. Barry sang the message a number of times, trying to get it just right. He even sang it with Gary playing the guitar in the background, but that didn’t work out well because they weren’t in time with each other. Finally, I remember Barry shooing us from the room so that he could sing the words in privacy. That’s the message I heard on the machine tonight. That’s the voice I miss. That’s the boy I love.


2 thoughts on “What’s in a Message?

  1. Karen,
    The other night when you played the answering machine message with Barry singing, my heart sank. I didn’t know what else to do but hug you. to see you crying, breaks my heart. It was hard for me to hear that message, as i thought i was getting better with my grieving. But to hear that brought back so many memories and when i left the room and went up the back i broke down. To hear his voice made it feel like he was in the room with us and when i realised he wasn’t i was terribly disappointed. I have my days where i’m ok bust most days i put on a brave face at work and then come home and cry myself to sleep. I hide these feelings from you and daniel so i don’t upset you guys because i don’t want to see you hurting. the hardest part about all this, for me, is that to me Barry was like a brother and i never got to say that as i thought i had all the time in the world. so now i think it’s important to let people know how you feel. so i want you to know this, Karen even though we aren’t technically family yet, you are family to me and i love you , Angie

  2. Thank you, Angie. It hurts to think that it took this terrible thing to build bridges between me and Daniel again. But in doing so, I have Daniel and you in my life and we are much closer than ever before.

    And you are right, we should never assume that we have “all the time in the world” to say what’s on our mind because we might not. We have to say what needs to be said today.


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