After her husband Hank Taylor died suddenly 18 months ago, Debora Taylor would console herself every night by listening to the last voice mail he ever left her in which he said “I love you.”
“It calms me down, just being able to hear his voice again,” the Houston grandmother tells Us Weekly of the voice mail from her firefighter husband as he left work. “He says, ‘I love you, talk to you later.’ And then he couldn’t get his Bluetooth to hang up, so it ends, ‘If I could get off the damn phone!'”
The couple were married for more than 10 years and he helped her through a breast cancer battle that started in 2011. They went on vacation in the summer of 2015 and Hank was more tired than usual during the trip.
But what the 57-year-old thought was a back injury was actually tumors on his spine. Hank was diagnosed with small-cell lung carcinoma on September 17, 2015. He died at home in Debora’s arms a month later.
While the message wasn’t the last voice mail he left her, Debora said it was the one she listened to the most because in it he says he loves her and makes her laugh.
But after the 61-year-old widow changed cellphone carriers late last month she went to lunch and missed the window to salvage the messages from her old phone. “It was gone forever,” she thought.
She posted on Facebook “that I had to eat the damn burger and I lost the voicemail” and cried a lot.
But friends saw the status and got to work, contacting AT&T and a local news channel KPRC News 2 in Houston. Suddenly, Debora found herself on the phone with Pam Andrews from the company’s corporate office, who talked her through several steps to successfully retrieve the voice mail.
“I’m bawling and she’s emotional,” Debora said of the moment she heard her husband’s voice again. “I was crying so hard I could hardly record it on my iPad.”
Now she has the recording in multiple places and, thanks to extensive TV and radio coverage, “so does everyone I know.”
Her late husband would get a kick out of the story, she said.
“He’s up there laughing,” Debora tells Us. “‘Really, now that I’m gone, I’m famous?’”