When Small Can Be Profound.

Not long ago I was asked to audio record some final words from a young mother who was dying from cancer.  I’ll call her Sonia to protect the family’s privacy. She was in her early thirties and she wanted to leave something for her only child, a five-year-old boy.

The day I met her, I asked what she would like to say to her little boy. It was not easy. The  anguish of her never seeing her son again made it hard for Sonia to say what was in her heart. But with patience and time we were able to record a few minutes  of her tender wishes and hopes for her boy.

I realized that we were not likely to get more. But a thought struck me. “What about bedtime stories?” I asked Sonia if she read to her boy and if he had some favorite stories. She smiled and nodded. “How would you like to select a couple and we could record you reading them?” She agreed and on my next visit, although she was weak, she softly read the stories that her son had enjoyed. That was the last thing we recorded. Not long after Sonia died.

In all we had recorded little more than half an hour. Not much really. But as I thought about her son and the wonderful gift his mother had left, I was deeply moved. It wasn’t a question of the amount we had recorded. It was that Sonia’s little boy would still be able to hear her comforting voice. And one day, as a man, he would be able to listen to those bedside stories and remember his mother,  a mother who died much too soon. Small can indeed be profound.

Photo by Gaël

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5 Responses to When Small Can Be Profound.

  1. I loved this story, Dan. It illustrates so well the power that the simplest of gifts can generate when fuelled with love.
    It also highlights the great importance of the work you do to the generations ahead.

  2. Pingback: Cory shaving his head for childrens cancer research | Cancer Research

  3. Boy, Dan, this sort of story really makes the work of personal historians such as you and I worth every minute doesn’t it? As a mother of a 7 year old it also brings home how important it is for each of us to record such audio and video memories ourselves. We truly have no idea what tomorrow will bring.

    I thoroughly enjoy every blog you write, and as a relatively ‘new’ personal historian (10 yrs of personal interviews; 3 years in my business) I see you as a wonderful mentor as well. Thank you so much for what you so generously provide via your blog to people like me across the other side of the world.

    Keep Smiling

    Louise (Australia)

    • @Louise Bibby Hocking. Thanks for your very generous remarks, Louise. I enjoy putting together my post articles and having positive comments like yours makes it doubly worthwhile. Maybe some day we’ll meet at an APH conference. Take care.

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