Connecting with Silent Voices
Recently we were interviewed on a radio show called VoiceAmerica Good Grief. Cheryl Jones, the host, focuses on how grief can transform and present opportunities for new growth.
Preparing for the show and for blogs on this website, I came across some notes written by my mother, Mathilda Gruber Conan, that I don’t remember ever seeing. She was in the hospital in New York, dying of leukemia. I don’t know if she knew she was dying. I was a small child – six when she entered the hospital, eight when she died – and in those days, children were not permitted to visit.
On Cheryl’s Good Grief show, I read this note:
“Dearest darling Pussycat – I do miss miss you. I miss the sound of your voice and the good night kisses. But I’ll be home soon. I hope the Chanukah play is nice. I wish I could be there. Next Time. I hope. Please listen to Auntie and cooperate with her. Don’t mind about Daddy coming to see me for a little while. I want to see him too. One of these days, we’ll all be together – for always. Love Mommy.
She died in February, 1953. She was 47. In our novel Stumbling Stone, Jewish reporter Sarah Stern’s mother is alive and talks with her about her memories of Germany. Those conversations were based on my mother’s letters.
On the radio show, we talked about how notes like this – and Rudi’s father’s diary and his Uncle Gerhard’s postcards – make it possible to connect with people who have passed away long ago and to hear their long-silenced voices.
Share your thoughts about this with us.