A person saving their voicemail on their phone.

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

When we lose someone we love, we look for ways to capture our memories of them. We do so through photos, movies, or holding on to other little keepsakes. But what about voicemail? Hearing a loved one’s voice again is cathartic. It can help us cope and comfort us when we need it most.

 

In an article for Refinery29, Anna Davies shared why she saved her mother’s last voicemail — even though that voicemail was essentially a grocery list that starts off asking her to buy hamburgers. Davies even listens to the recording on her old iPhone 4. She says it’s “a time machine that allows me to step into the past — if only for the 22 seconds of the recorded message.”

 

Listening to Those Last Words Help with Grief

It could be a voicemail wishing you happy birthday, or a call to check in and see how your week is going. Or even a call to remind you what to get at the grocery store. There’s something special about hearing our loved one’s voice again.

 

Amy Scobie-Carroll, a clinical social worker, told the Boston Globe that the power of hearing a loved one’s voice can make a greater impact than photos, clothing, or other mementos of a loved one. She said in the interview that a voicemail can bring you back to what’s good in a relationship. For example, Scobie-Carroll says, “If a daughter loses her father, and she has a recording saying, ‘Hi sweetie, just calling to check in on you,’ she’s going to feel loved and protected, as opposed to the feelings of loss or fear she may have had when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness.”

 

Voicemails are a powerful way to remember a loved one. They help capture everyday memories, the moments we might have taken for granted, and highlight just how special our relationship was with our loved one. During a time of grief, hearing these voicemails can help rekindle those moments, memories, and feelings we shared with the deceased.

 

How to Save a Voicemail

Thanks to technology, there are plenty of ways to preserve a loved one’s voicemail. Here are a few options to consider:

  • The easiest way is to play the voicemail over speakerphone next to a recording device — such as your computer’s microphone or a tape recorder. Simply play the voicemail and record the message using the computer or tape recorder. While this is an easier method, the sound quality isn’t the best.
  • Use an app or computer recording software. Audacity is a free audio recording program for your phone, tablet or PC. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
  • Use a third-party website. Sites like VMSave, Voicemails Forever, and LifeOnRecord all specialize in preserving voicemails and outgoing messages. However, some of these sites do cost a small fee.
  • To save all your voicemails in the future, sign up for a service such as Google Voice or YouMail. These services sync to your phone and email you an mp3 of any future voicemails you receive.