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  • Rebecca Feinglos

One of the best gifts my dad ever gave me wasn't supposed to be a gift at all

One of the best gifts my dad ever gave me wasn't supposed to be a gift at all. And I didn't get it until after he died.

I had 34 unheard voicemails from my father on my iPhone when he died in March 2020. Thirty four voicemails from my dad over my five years of being an AT&T customer. I'd never listened to any of them. If it's not obvious enough by that number, alone, I'm pretty Type B when it comes to listening to my voicemails— I'm a millennial, what can I say? I'd read the convenient iPhone transcription, or I'd just call him back without checking at all.

But when my father died so suddenly, all I wanted was to hear his voice again, to have a conversation with him. When I remembered my stockpile of Dad voicemails, I was so happy and tearful to sit there and listen to them, finally. They were such a gift.

I downloaded all of them to a folder on my Dropbox, so I can listen to them anytime I want. Sometimes when I really miss him, I'll open the folder up, close my eyes, and choose random voicemails to listen to. I love getting the chance to step back in time to when my Dad and I could talk about mundane things and play phone tag.

"Hey, sorry didn't see that you called. I was at the gym. I'll try you again a little later. Buh bye."

"Hey, nothing pressing. Just went to a new Italian place downtown! It was a very nice experience. Talk to you later. Buh bye."

This Father's Day, my third without my father, I want to share my favorite voicemail from him— the one I come back to when I miss him the most. This voicemail is from 2016, and I think he was calling me in case I wanted to chat more after I'd had a tough day and we'd already spoken earlier. It's just 15 seconds long, but it shows exactly how great of a father he was.

"Hey it's Dad. We're home. If you want to call me to talk some more, please feel free. Any time, any moment. Always glad to talk to you. Love you. Buh bye."

In 15 seconds in 2016, my dad made me feel loved. And today, even though my dad is gone, those 15 seconds remind me of his love— which will last forever.

Grieve on.

---If you like learning about grieving alongside me, scroll down to the bottom of this page to sign up for my mailing list---


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