When Jared Buhanan-Decker’s wife and soulmate, Sharry Buhanan-Decker, died this past June, his world was turned upside down.
The only thing that got the St. George, Utah, man through it was their baby JJ. Sharry died during childbirth after an emergency cesarean section.
“It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life,” Buhanan-Decker told ABC News.
When he finally brought JJ home from the hospital, he began looking through his wife’s computer and other belongings to remember her.
In her computer, he found songs recorded years ago. But there were technological barriers. “I saw these songs that were in a file that I didn’t have the program or the skills to convert and so I turned to Reddit,” said Buhanan-Decker.
So he decided to post a message on the online forum: “Odd request for help. My wife recently died during childbirth and I need help with some of her recordings…I just want to be able to hear her voice again. Thank you.”
Soon after, Internet Samaritans came to the rescue. “I was looking for one or two people to help but dozens responded very quickly and hundreds sent me messages on the post or through inbox,” he said.
Many of the replies expressed empathy for the tragedy and a willingness to help.
Buhanan-Decker said he was moved by the goodness of these anonymous strangers.
“One of my favorites was somebody that really cleaned up the tracks and made them really shine, removed some of the reverb,” he said.
Thanks to the Reddit community, he and his son now listen to her songs every chance they get. “They’re like lullabies to me and JJ,” he said.
His favorite song is “Baby Don’t Worry,” which Sharry wrote herself. Although it was recorded years ago, Buhanan-Decker said it resonates strongly with him now more than ever. “It’s like she’s telling me and JJ right now, to not worry and that it’ll be alright and we need to have that faith and hope,” he said.
Music was a big part of the couple’s lives. They enjoyed going to concerts and singing together. When Sharry became pregnant, she often spoke and sang to her baby, he said. “JJ knows her voice because that’s the voice he heard during those nine months,” he explained.
Sharry worked at a non-profit organization that was involved with animal therapy. He said his wife taught him to be compassionate toward others. “She was somebody that sincerely, all the time, wanted to make the world a better place through her music, activism, work and service,” he said.
He hopes little JJ will follow in his late mother’s footsteps. “I hope to see more and more of Sharry from him as he gets older. I’m definitely going to raise him to make a difference and care about those things like his mom,” he said.