When we lose someone we love, there is a period of mourning that takes place as we miss all the little reminders of their presence. The familiar laughter, the constant messages and just knowing they’re there when we need them all become gifts of the past.
Jason Duaine Hahn lost his mother, Toni “Cat” Hahn-Quant, to brain cancer on the morning of Sept. 4. She was 63 and had been fighting Glioblastoma, and he wrote a tribute to her and posted it on his Facebook page.
“There are many things that I could say about how lovely a person my mother, Toni Cathleen Hahn-Quant, was, how endlessly giving and loving she was to everyone around her,” he wrote.
“Those who knew her can attest that this isn’t hyperbole — even in the four years after her Glioblastoma diagnosis, she held on to what mattered most to her and continued to help people in need.
“Shortly after my mom had her first craniotomy to remove her brain tumor in 2015, she and I went for a walk outside on an early morning. It was there that she had me look in her eyes as she told me if she died, she would be okay, because she had a wonderful life. She repeated that again just a few weeks ago when her health began to deteriorate, but we were still holding on to hope she would improve.
“It is the deepest sadness of my life that my mom’s voyage has come to its conclusion, and I’ll miss her to no end. She was the perfect mother for me,” he concluded. “Thank you for this life you gave me, mom.”
It was nothing short of shocking, then, when his mom’s sister Denise Baldwin told him she’d gotten a text from his mother on Thursday, Nov. 7.
“I just got a message from Cathy,” Baldwin said, according to an article Hahn wrote for People. “No, I’m not kidding.”
The text, as shown in a photo in the People article, was “Happy (six heart emojis)valentine’s. Day sis I love (heart emoji) u.”
“It’s a happy Valentine’s day with hearts and I love you,” Baldwin continued. “It came from her phone number and appeared as a new message this morning. Don’t explain it, let’s all just enjoy that it happened. I love you guys.”
Hahn wrote that he wasn’t sure how to process that information. Looking at the text allegedly sent by his mother, though, he recognized tell-tale characteristics that confirmed, in his mind, that the message had been written by his mother.
“I don’t care how it happened, just that it did happen,” Baldwin explained. “I was able to smile and be happy that my sister had another chance to say I love you. It was such a precious gift.”
Soon, though, stories began popping up all over the internet of people getting messages at random times from seemingly random people. It became clear that there had been a glitch that had caused some messages sent on Valentine’s Day this year to have finally been delivered late Nov. 6 or very early Nov. 7.
Messages sent on Valentine’s Day bizarrely arrived eight months later, carrying Wednesday’s [6 Nov.] time stamp. Syniverse, which provides services for major telecommunications companies, placed the blame for the error on an “internal maintenance cycle”. https://t.co/AdxfNZVxLt
— Taz Daughtrey (@SecuringSystems) November 8, 2019
The faux pas has been explained as the result of an “internal maintenance cycle,” “maintenance update” and a “third-party vendor.” In total, 168,149 messages were delivered late, Syniverse (the company that provides services to many SMS companies) told CNN.
“Last evening, a maintenance update occurred to part of the messaging platforms of multiple carriers in the US, including Sprint, which caused some customers to have older text messages sent to their devices,” a spokesperson with Sprint said, according to CNN Business. “The issue was resolved not long after it occurred. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”
“We apologize to anyone who was impacted by this occurrence,” William Hurley, the chief marketing and product officer at Syniverse, added. “While the issue has been resolved, we are in the process of reviewing our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again, and actively working with our customers’ teams to answer any questions they have.”
You can imagine that some of those messages, intended for people on Valentine’s, were quite awkward to receive now, nine months later.
For others, like Baldwin and her family, the messages were unexpected but not unwelcome: Small reminders of a life well-lived and a loved one dearly missed.
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