Phone Company Steals Dad's Precious Memories of His Dead Daughter

phoneEver noticed that the older your kid gets, the less time you spend recording what they're doing? Ironic, considering how much more interesting they get as they age, but there it is. Most of the parents I know who have hours of videotape of their baby rolling over have next to nothing of their teenager. But this may send you scrambling for your camera.

Faron Butler lost his teenage daughter Rhema to desmoplastic cancer in 2011. He would cling to old voicemails from Rhema to keep her close until he says T-Mobile up and deleted the sweet messages without warning him. Say what?


The company says they are sorry for not giving ample warning about re-saving old messages, but there is nothing then can do. They're looking into "compensating" the family, but I don't know how they can really fix this.

Sorry, we lost your own connection to your dead child, here's a check? Really? Butler surely deserves something, but you can't make up for the way listening to the voice of someone you love makes you feel. People's voices are so distinctive, they've even been deemed to have legitimate medicinal value.

Then add in the parent/child connection, and there's no comparison. I know I've sat in a room full of hundreds of people talking and laughing, with dozens of kids, and been able to pick out which one is my daughter. We can just tell when that cry is our kid hurting or that laugh is our kid having fun.

I can't imagine losing a child, but I can put myself in Faron's shoes. While he used recordings of his little girl telling him that she loved him as a touchstone, I've done the same thing with the last message my grandmother left on my machine, left the day she died. I remember coming home once to find my answering machine completely dark, and the first thought that went through my head was, "Oh God, no, Grandma ... " Fortunately it had been accidentally unplugged (dang cat).

If my heart plunged like that over the loss of a voicemail from an 82-year-old woman, I don't think I can actually imagine the depths of despair this poor man is in. But I do know that I'll be doing a lot more voice recordings of my child from here on out -- and recordings of me for her. These memories are so precious, and this time is so fleeting.

How many voice recordings do you have of your kids? How old were they the last time you did it?


Image via Zitona/Flickr

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