You don’t have to be mourning a loss to want to preserve memories of what he or she said. Capture your memories of voices from the past by writing down short descriptions of what your loved ones say or said.
How to Capture your Memories of Voices
Start with the present. Especially with kids, keep a journal handy to write it down. You can also consider preserving “sound bites” with a voice recorder. (See Voices from the Past: 3 Ways to Save Them.)
List them. I love stories, but not all memories are a whole story. A simple list will work if you find it difficult to work your memories into a narrative.
Explain why it resonates: Go beyond preserving quotes. (Of course, quotes are good too, as Justin Halpern has proven.) As you write, explain why your memories of voices from the past still resonate with you.
My Turn: Sounds I want to remember
Here are a couple of my favorites along with one stolen from my sister.
My dad audibly mumbling the Apostles’ Creed:
I stole this one. Our daddy parted ways with organized religion with such vehemence that we were never quite clear on where he stood with God. If there was one thing Daddy was, it was stubborn. (Of course, you could put any family member’s name in that sentence and it would be equally true.) He would not say anything he didn’t believe to appease someone else. So it meant a lot to my sister to hear that mumbled prayer.
My mom saying our names:
Mom pronounced my name Law-ra, with the first syllable accented with a lift in pitch. If anyone else says it that way, I feel like I’m in trouble, but I wish I could hear it again from my mom.
Likewise, she pronounced my father’s name Law ed. (Lloyd). Her (and his parents’) pronunciation had no resemblance whatsoever to “Lloyd’s of London.” Correct or not, Law-ed sounds so much more cheerful than “Lloyd.”
Don’t ‘Nore Me
When they were three and five and saddled in their car seats, my boys loved nothing more than to annoy each other in the car. One day, on the way home from the zoo, my eldest finally took our advice on ignoring his little brother. (His brother was probably trying to provoke him by calling him a poopie-head or something equally profane.) My youngest could not cope with his loss of power over his brother. He yelled, “Don’t ‘nore me….” for the entire drive.
How are you going to capture voices from your past? What did she say? What did he say?