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Jon Jay Read, back in my life for a few moments

A beautiful little thing happened to me yesterday.

I was sitting by the fire, sorting through a pile of children’s books, listening to The Moth’s podcast, when I heard my old friend Jon Jay Read’s voice begin to tell a story.

Jon passed away a few years back, quite suddenly from heart failure, at an all-too-young age. I spent many a night at The Moth with Jon, listening to his stories, chatting about life, and sharing time and space together. Jon lived in an apartment above Housing Works, where The Moth hosts StorySLAMs, so even when he wasn’t telling a story, he was often in the audience, supporting others.

Jon and I competed against each other many times, but Jon was far less interested in winning than he was in simply sharing meaningful moments of his life with others and connecting with people in meaningful ways.

When his voice appeared in my headphones, it was like he had returned for a moment. Almost as if he had never left.

The story featured on the podcast was told in a Moth GrandSLAM in which I also competed. I remember Jon’s performance so well. Listening to his words brought the image of Jon standing onstage at The Music Hall of Williamsburg right back to the front of my mind.

It’s a beautiful thing… to hear a person speak so clearly and authentically even though they have passed on. Bittersweet, too, but so, so beautiful. By simply pressing play, Jon had returned to my life for a little bit, and I was so happy he did.

How lucky we are to live in a time when audio and video recording is so easy. A time when our voices and images are so easily captured and preserved for others.

Be sure to record yourself often. Speak into a phone or computer and share your stories and thoughts. Leave enough behind for your future generations so they can bring you back for a few moments like Jon came back to me.

Before that, listen to his story if you haven’t heard it already. You’ll love Frenchie. I promise.