I have been terrified of forgetting your voice. We have pictures so I will never forget you visually, but I have nothing to remember your adult voice. The possibility of forgetting has tormented me for days so I keep forcing myself to imagine the common things you would say to me. All your life, you started conversations with, “Hey Mom…” I can hear this clearly but have struggled to remember how your normal conversation sounds. I have no adult recordings of you and you never left voicemails. I agonized over this. I prayed for a way to remember and suddenly I recalled the day you arrived in Afghanistan. I woke up and turned on my phone, missing your call by 3 minutes but getting a voicemail. Of course I couldn’t call you back because you were using a USO phone. I was livid after waiting for three days to hear your voice and know you were okay, but that message had been long deleted. I did the math realizing that the message would have been left on January 29th from an unrecognizable number. I checked my deleted messages from that day and after listening to three, I heard your voice! I cried so hard. After listening to it several times, I realized that that message was meant for now and not then. If I change the word “Afghanistan” to “Heaven” it’s exactly what you would tell me. You message says something like, ‘Hey mom it’s me. I made it to Afghanistan (Heaven). You won’t be able to get a hold of me but I’ll try to contact you when I can. The time is so different here, but I’m okay and everything is good. I’ll see if I can call later. I love you, mom.’ I was able to resave it and hear it whenever I need a vocal reminder. What a miracle! You are okay and everything is good, and yes Jake, I do know you love me. You have never given me reason to doubt it. I know that we share an unconditional love that not everyone is blessed to experience. If you had anything to do with it, thank you for choosing me to be your mom. If I had a choice, there isn’t another son I would choose to be mine. Nobody could bless my life as you have, my precious, precious boy.

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