A couple of months ago a man accidently left me a messsage on my voice mail at home. It was a man calling his sister to tell her that their mother had taken "a turn for the worse". He said that she was "on a lot of oxygen now". He finished off the message sounding unsure, "...I just thought you should know".
That messsage was of such consequence. In just a couple of sentances I gathered that the mother was dying and that the sister may not be closely involved. I was terrified that the mother would die and the sister would never get the message and so she wouldn't get there in time. It occurred to me that the brother would assume she got the message but decided not to come. The whole situation was brimming with disaster. I had to do something.
I found the number on my call display and left the man a very clearly articulated message explaining what happened. It was like their whole world hung on my ability to get the message across. Hanging up, I worried something would happen and he wouldn't get it. Maybe he would erase it by accident or maybe I dialed the wrong number. I contemplated leaving a second message.
Every week now, my machine plays the voice mail back to me and every week I re-save it. I can't bring myself to erase it.