Lifestyle & Human Interest

Dad Starts Sobbing When He Hears Late Mother's Voice After Opening Gift from His Daughters


A North Carolina man was left sobbing after hearing his late mother’s voice tucked inside a present on Christmas Day.

Dexter Tinnin’s mother, Jerlene Tinnin, died suddenly in 2009, leaving a void that seems ever-present.

Since her passing, Tinnin has clung to the only remaining voicemail he has from his mother on his phone — a small way to keep her close.

He thinks of his mom every day, and Christmas morning was no exception.

Tinnin gathered around the Christmas tree with his wife and two teenage daughters, Melia and Caroline. He had no idea he was about to unwrap a sentimental gift that would leave him sobbing.

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Inside a box was a stuffed bear from Build-A-Bear. His daughters had managed to place a recording of Jarlene Tinnin’s voicemail inside the bear.

When Tinnin heard his late mother’s voice, he clutched the bear tightly and began to cry.

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“In a word she was my foundation,” Tinnin told WXII-TV. “You always felt like everything was okay if she was there.”

“I think about her every day,” Tinnin said. “The holidays are no different but the holidays seem to be a little difficult. She was already on my mind that morning.”

Melia Tinnin posted the sweet video on Twitter, and it quickly spread around the internet.

“I think it’s important for her to live on and even for us to hear her voice,” Melia said.

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“I certainly could feel her presence so to speak,” Tinnin said.

Tinnin was moved by the sweet thoughtfulness of his daughters, who carefully planned and executed the sentimental gift.

“I see my mom in them which helps fill the void,” he said.

Now, Tinnin can ditch his dinosaur cell phone if and when he pleases, knowing that his mother’s voice is secure inside the stuffed bear.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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