• Wed, Jan 23 2013

I Lost All My Daughter’s Adorable Voicemails

deleted voicemailsMy friend wants to sue the phone company. There was a mix up with her bill (which she did pay) but they cut off her phone anyway and for some reason all her voice messages she had been saving for years had been lost into the ether. She was extremely upset because she had saved a message from her grandfather (who died.) I suggested to her that we do a class action suit, because I too kind of want to sue the phone company.

People think I’m really popular. Every day, at least one person would send me a text or an e-mail saying, “You’re voicemail is full!” Well, I’m not that popular. The problem was that I had saved messages from my daughter since she was three years old (That’s six years!) These messages included things she said like, “I love you so much mommy!” And, “Happy mother’s day mommy. You are the best mommy in the world.” And, “Guess what? I came in first in my ski race!”

My voice mailbox held 25 messages and about 20 were from my daughter, thus the reason my mailbox was usually full.

I saved all the voice messages from my daughter because they were so sweet and also because when she was three and four she still talked in a baby voice that was super adorable. When she visits with her father, I used to listen to them, just so I could hear her voice.

And then, two weeks ago, I switched to an iPhone from my Blackberry. I’m quite happy with my iPhone. But I was shocked and almost cried when I got home and realized that all my daughter’s messages (along with a couple important work messages that I needed to save) had all been erased. I called the phone store immediately. I’m not the most knowledgeable in technology, but apparently if you switch from a Blackberry to an iPhone, your messages are lost or just disappear.

That’s six years (!) of saving my daughter’s messages. To me it felt to me like someone had died. I was that upset. I cried. I couldn’t sleep that night. I wish I had been warned about this. How am I ever going to get back my daughter’s sweet voice saying, “You are the best mommy in the world?” How am I ever going to get back the excitement in her voice when she left that message about winning a ski race? These things, as the saying goes, are priceless. (But I WOULD pay to get those messages back!)

I’m not sure how many other mothers save messages from their children on their voice mails, but I’m pretty sure a lot do. My friends do, especially the funny ones to share with friends like, “Mom! I stepped in dog shit. What do I do?” That’s why we (or at least I) need voice mailboxes that hold at least 20 messages.

It’s not for my friends, or even for my work people, it’s so my daughter can leave me messages and so that I can listen to them whenever I want. It makes me happy. But there is a silver lining in all this.

When my daughter saw my new iPhone, and because she’s way more tech savvy than I am, she recorded a video of her saying, “I’m leaving you this message in case I’m not around and you want to see my face and hear my voice. You are the best mommy in the world and I love you so much.” She then kissed into the video. So, at least I have that.

But, still, I AM thinking (of course jokingly…sort of) of suing the phone company. The emotional pain of losing all those messages, like my friend losing her grandfather’s message and voice on her voicemail is devastating  I mean, should I not get a free year of service or something? So, here I go again. If you can’t leave a message, it’s because my daughter has left me a number of them. Like I said, I’m not that popular.

(photo: kenny1 / Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • msenesac

    I’m sorry this happened to you but if they were that important, I feel like you should’ve asked before switching phones. I think everyone should assume that technology is going to fail and that you need to save/backup the things you want to keep. I have my iPhone stolen last year and thus now I make sure to use Dropbox to backup all of my videos and pictures of my first child so that it won’t be a big deal if I lose my phone again. Highly recommend backing things up!

    • StephKay

      Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand how impermanent digital recordings/images/files really are. I had a friend (now in fairness this was in high school, so she was only about 16) who lost all her daughters baby pictures when her phone broke. I guess like most teenagers she exclusively used her phone to take pictures, including the photos of the day her child was born, and all of a sudden lost each and every one. I think its one of the main disadvantages to our current technology. I bet there are an awful lot of moms out there that are one hard drive crash away from losing their baby photos too. Youre so right about backing things up, I got a photo printer and an external hard drive after my daughter was born to make sure I didn’t lose anything (and it’s a good thing, since when she was around 18 months old she spilled a bottle of grenadine on our laptop keyboard. Thanks, kid!) but even when things like that aren’t a financial option it’s always doable to get a cheap recording device or send files to a printing shop in your area.

  • Eileen

    Don’t sue the phone company – first, the company did nothing wrong, and second try calling them instead. I’ve definitely heard people who work for phone companies say that this stuff can be recovered.

    • Minerva

      She wasn’t serious if you read the whole thing.

    • Scarlette

      Hard to do with her articles.

  • MichelleA

    Don’t know what to do about the old messages but I suggest getting voicemail-to-email for any future messages.

  • Anon

    If something is that important to you, make several copies and back them up. We have at least 5 copies (stored in different places/services) of every single picture of our deceased daughter.

  • Julie

    That sucks. My home voicemail actually emails me my messages. Very cool feature.

    That being said… am I the only person who doesn’t get voicemails from her children? Like ever? My 7 year old has called me from school like twice and both times I’ve answered. My almost 6 year old has never called me. Weird.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shelly-Lloyd/826469442 Shelly Lloyd

    Such a first world problem.

  • Lee

    My son and I shared a phone plan but his phone was about to quit and he had to go buy another one 2 days ago. Nothing fancy just a basic phone like we’ve always had for 6 years. In 2007 my Mom died and just a day or 2 before, she left a message for him that he saved. After she died he sent it to me and I’ve listened to it dozens and dozens of times and it’s given both of us great comfort as well as to my sisters. Unfortunately they both chose not to have me send it to their voicemail. But when he bought his new phone and we changed to prepaid instead of monthly never once at any time was there a mention that we would lose our voice mails. Nothing. Now I know that this action of switching phones happens 100,000 of thousands of times a week. HOW? HOW? How could this vitally important feature that’s used by virtually everyone, with I’m guessing the majority of people using it and saving all sorts of vital voice mails, not be made of great importance at the time that these transfers happen? Where’s the great big sign in RED letters, the ‘sign on the dotted line verifying that you know that you will lose all voice mails when this action is taken??’ These people KNOW, they KNOW that they are about to delete voice mails that can never(?) be retrieved again. Why in God’s name would they not say something?? I’ve even read of a program/service that will store all your voice mails for a small fee. I would have done that with absolutely no hesitation if I’d known of it in time. Why (in my case), doesn’t Verizon offer this service? They could bring in millions more dollars. WHY? WHY? Did I have to lose the last time my Mom called and left us a message? Why? It’s so wrong and so unnecessary and I can’t stop crying. My heart is broken all over again. I can’t stop knowing that I’ll never hear her voice saying ” Love you” ever again. I can’t believe that those voice mails aren’t part of some huge computer somewhere and can’t be retrieved. I’ll bet if I was with the CIA or FBI I could get them back. This is 2013 for crying out-loud!!! Is there no hope? And by the way, I recognize that this is an issue that seems to be an elitist one, but I’ll remind you that in fact over the entire world even some of THE poorest people have cell phones. If they have voice mail as well they too could find themselves in the exact same position, and should be accorded the same sympathy/empathy as anyone else who has lost this final contact…

    • Terri Corey

      AT&T lost my saved voice mail message from my boyfriend of 17 years. He passed away two and a half weeks ago. I y were gone and they to hear his voice again they were gone. I was given voice prompt to set up my voicemail and I knew that was wrong.I wwas immediately scared I was going to lose them and called AT&T to prevent losing my voice messages messages and it was too late, they said. they said they say they saidand I knew.. I can’t believe they can’t be retr pp. I can’t believe he is gone, either… And all of you self righteous heaters who are full of information of what should have been done, can keep it to yourselves.