Friday, March 31, 2006

From the Edge of Eternity

The rescue tapes of 9/11 victims last phone calls are being released. Most are editing out the callers for privacy, but the Hanley family decided to release the full recording. I heard Christopher Hanley’s voice on a newscast this morning. As I wiped away my tears, I wondered at the strength his family needs to listen to the recording of his last words.

The power of voice is an amazing force. It brings a lost loved one into the moment with stunning vibrancy. I know this to be true, because I keep resaving my husband’s last few voice messages in my cell phone. When I find myself swallowed by a lonesome moment and long to hear his voice, I open my phone and retrieve those recordings. It helps to be able to reach back through time and connect with the sound of his voice.

The marvels of modern technology have given us this ability to eavesdrop at the edge of eternity. The 9/11 phone recordings will not be routine tapes, such as mine are. I’m not sure how comforted I would be to hear my loved one calling for help minutes before his death in the inferno that was September 11. But, given the opportunity to hear a beloved voice one more time, to be with him in spirit as he stood on the cusp of death, I’m sure would take that chance.