Many of us find comfort in reading old texts and messages from those we have lost as a form of coping mechanism
Image: Martin Dimitrov)
We are living in rather a strange time when after someone passes away a digital footprint is left.
With social media accounts and voice notes preserving aspects of our personalities, the dead can leave an even bigger impact behind.
In a series of YouTube videos by Jubilee, clocking up between eight million and nine million views, people are asked if they have any texts on their phone from people who have since passed away.
Some participants simply read out the last texts they sent or received to a loved one, while others can be seen physically playing the voicemails left on their answering machine that they’ve saved.
One participant even texts her friend after her death as a form of grieving and also feeling like she could be reaching out to the deceased love one in some way. It makes for rather emotive and touching watching.
People may feel tethered to someone who has passed away via their social media channels or phone number – seeming as if they are still there, the only difference being that they have not been online lately.
It seems to be the 21st century answer to dealing with grief, where there were once old photographs and letters that could be treasured, now there are digital versions of this, packaged in neat little text bubble as if still part of an ongoing conversation.
One man began his story, talking about a his friend who has died suddenly after having a heart attack in her sleep. Talking of their last exchanged messages before her death, he said that he text: “You know I’m here for you any time that you need me” and she replied: “Right back at you!”
Another participant told the story of how he found himself in an 8am writing class and saw something outside of the window that he wanted to take a photograph of yet was too embarrassed as he was surrounded my fellow class members.
He text his ‘advanced placement’ photography teacher about his situation and she responded with: “It doesn’t matter how other people feel. Just take the shot!”
He commented how that was one of the last messages that his teacher sent and how much it resonated with him.
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One woman shared that she used to call her grandma every day to hear her voice but after her death, she resorted to texting her grandma’s old number.
One heartfelt example she gave was a text saying: “I wrote a speech about how amazing you are and how you made me who I am today. When I’m home alone I sit and cry and think about all the things that I could’ve done with you and should’ve done but I was way too selfish to spend more time with you.
“I want you here but I know that you can’t be, so just know I love you so so much, more than words can describe.”
Another man’s final text from his mother simply said “we need to talk”, a message that he opened and read but didn’t respond to until the next day but not before it was too late.
Having been raised by his grandparents due to his mum’s drug and alcohol abuse, he didn’t often see her but treasures a voicemail in which explains that she will be finishing with school in twelve months, saying “one more year that’s it just hold on. I love you son” and that’s the was the last time that he heard her voice.
A young woman described how she text her best friend inviting her to move in with her, the last message from the friend reading: “I would love that, why the sudden ask”. She passed away 20 days later from suicide.
One further example of just how powerful texting can be; a woman’s father eventually lost his ability to speak after two years of struggling with cancer.
Their family moved him back home to live out his final days, as his daughter was leaving, she popped into his room to say goodbye and as she was walking away, he text her: “Hi Taylor thank you for being there for me, it means a lot to me. Love you.”