Email for the Soul

June 16, 2011

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

I’ve been slightly emotional lately. Not bad emotional, just a little bit nostalgic. I’ve gotten some really amazing, kind words written and spoken to me on this weight loss journey, and I am so grateful about the support I’ve been shown by near-strangers.
Sometimes I get the urge to share my excitement or gratitude for this experience with someone who is no longer here – my mom, who died at the age of 50 of complications from young-onset Parkinson’s Disease.

I don’t really think I talk extremely explicitly about her passing and the progression of her disease on this blog (but you can read it here), so I will tell you something that I’m ashamed to admit:

I can’t remember her voice.

With Parkinson’s Disease, you lose motor function and have tremors, but also develop slurred speech. In the last few years of her life, I could barely understand what she was saying. I’ve been grappling with this issue ever since she passed. Friends of mine can remember her voice because they weren’t around her when her southern drawl was taken over by a lazy tongue and frustration in her eyes over the lack of communication.

Over the weekend, I was trying to clean out my email. I am an email junkie, and have a hard time getting rid of conversations, as noted in my post about how I met my husband. While looking through my Yahoo! Mail account, which I’ve had for over 13 years, I came across something that I forgot existed:

An email from my mom.

Sitting in a mail folder titled “Mom” lie dozens of emails between me and various nursing homes, attorneys, Medicaid people, etc. — all the reminders of how much I had to handle with her illness. Down at the very bottom of the pile, however, were 3 emails from my mom. They were written at a time where she could barely move her hands so I know typing them was tedious. She was being cared for by relatives in Georgia at the time, and since it was difficult to understand her, I liked to email her. In-between mistake-riddled punctuation and short sentences was proof of something that I needed:

A physical reminder of her love, and more importantly, her acknowledgement that she knew I loved her too.

a reminder

So in these few emails I have from her, I have found her voice again. No, I can’t hear it in my head, but I will have these emails FOREVER and no one can take them away from me. In times of doubt about my weight loss progress, life direction, or that my memories of her will continue to fade, I have proof: a tangible reminder that she was my biggest cheerleader and someone I know would be rooting me on in this journey.

My obsession with email continues.

This video below is so cute. Replace “DAD” with “MOM” and that’s what reminds me of her. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is great too, but my mom was the one playing games and frolicking with me as I navigated my childhood. And if she were still alive, she would totally love texting, I just know it :)

 

 

  • http://www.sweatinguntilhappy.com Alan Ali

    I am so glad you found this stuff. I wish do badly I could hear my Dads voice. The most prized possession I have in this world is his college ID. It has his picture and his unique signature, it’s always on me and I pull it out when I need to see his face.

    Your Mom would be proud of you Em, hope you know that :)

  • http://mintjulepsandmagnolias.com Heather

    What a touching post!! Those emails are something to treasure, for certain.

  • BAH

    Beautiful post!!! I too have email from when my yahoo account was started about the same time frame as yours. This post is just a reminder that the smallest of things can have the biggest impact on us. Thanks for sharing and I am so glad you found those messages. I am sure your mom would be so proud of you for all of your accomplishments.

  • http://musingsofmaia.blogspot.com Maia

    Wow, this post made me cry.

    I think I remember her voice. It’s so long ago, but I’m pretty sure I do. It was always filled with such kindness.

    I’m so happy you were able to find this email. It’s serving as a remind to me to save all my emails…

  • http://www.lessbrittmorelife.com Brittany

    Emmie, this is beautiful! I know your mom is so proud of you! I miss my grandpa so much, i wish i could hear his west texas / oklahoma voice :) xoxo

  • http://abostongirlinglasgow.blogspot.com Cindy

    I lost my mum three months ago. I would give anything to find an email from her right now.

    <3

  • http://www.watchsarahshrink.com Sarah

    Please press print and file those emails away somewhere. I’d hate for cyberspace to eat them up somehow.

  • http://dietschmiet.wordpress.com/ Deborah

    Lovely post. The modern day version of saving letters…. It hadn’t really occurred to me that I should treasure my friends’ and parents’ emails. Now I will.

    Deb

  • Lilly

    My dad died 14 years ago. Typing out that number feels so strange….14 years is a long time. It’s long enough that I forget his voice. Dad died in 1997, just as internet and email were becoming more common in households. I was away at college for 2 years and I know that he emailed me on my college account. I harbor such regret that I carelessly let that email account go when I decided not to return to college in the fall of 97 after his death. How I would love to hear his “voice” in emails. I vaguely recall a very funny one about him finding a smelly bag of peas under my bed (I’d been home one weekend and needed ice for my allergy-itchy eyes, but took a bag of peas instead, stashed them under the bed and forgot) which was just so HIM and man….I wish I had that. There’s only a couple of family videos that my one cousin has that have daddy in them….this was back when a home video camera was lugged over your shoulder. Since her girls were toddlers when dad died, and nobody prior owned a video camera, there’s precious little video of him. But I think I need to get it onto my computer somehow, even though he’s just in the background.

  • http://www.definediana.com DefineDiana

    What a beautiful post. It made me tear up reading it. I’m so glad you found something to remind you of your mother. I just recently lost a grandparent and I have nothing to remember them by, it makes me so sad that’ll forget her some day.

  • http://www.mommytozoe.blogspot.com Jen Hendrickson

    Emmie –
    What a wonderful treasure! This post really touched my heart. I know that I take for granted that both of my parents and my husbands parents are still here. Thank you for the gentle reminder to stop taking that for granted. I am certain your mother is so ridiculously proud of you right now.
    Be well!

  • http://www.tealesmeals.blogspot.com Teale

    Aaaand I’m crying! I lost my mom on April 1st. I’ve had this thing since I lost my dad over 10 years ago that whenever I get a voicemail from someone, I always save it, because “what if” that was the last one from them? After she passed, I listened to my voicemails that were saved & I had two. Unfortunately, they only save for 30 days though, and within a month, my mom’s voice wasn’t there to comfort me anymore. But similar to you, I have her written words (some email, but many hand-written from years past), and reading those gives me comfort, even though I can’t hear her speak.

  • http://kclanderson.com KCLAnderson (Karen)

    This post has me crying first because I know the pain you are going through. I am so glad I have emails from my Dad…and a video too!! He died just about six months ago. I’ve noticed that while I still miss him and always will, I am not grieving as intensely as I was.

    Second, I wish my mother was capable of loving me…although she is still alive, I haven’t spoken to her in six months either…it’s as if I lost both parents within two days of each other (although the two events were completely unrelated…my parents were divorced when I was three).

    Hugs all around!!

  • http://Www.eliseAllen.com Elise

    What a beautiful post. I’m sorry for your loss, and so sad that your mom was struck by something so debilitating, so young. I have no doubt she’d be so proud of you in every way.

    Lots of love,

    E

  • wendy

    I have this problem too. Well not a problem….situation. I can not remember my memaw or my grandaddy’s voices. They were both just like parents to me and the days they passed my worl was ripped to pieces each tme.
    I hate that I can not call the sound of them up to save my life. But I hold to the idea that just like the tone of other loved one’s voices who my heart and could pick out in a crowded room, that somewhere in my heart their voice is there as well.
    Silly I know.

  • http://www.journeytomarvelous.com Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous

    What a great post. That little email excerpt from your mom brought a tear to my eye. Just know that she is looking over you and cheering for you every day! Big hugs!

  • http://www.chillinchitown.blogspot.com Ally

    I am cheering you on too!

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