(This is 'bout to get a little serious up in hee-yaaa)
We don't always get it. We long for, demand and even plea for it. From our children, the writing community, and our friends and family, to our colleagues, pets and even the stories we tell. Like right now.
I've talked a bit before about the father I didn't know well, but always searched for. When I finally found a connection that could link us, I was too late. He lost his battle to cancer in 2004, but I didn't know until three years later when my heart gnawed its way through my chest. To relieve the burden of not knowing.
I cried for days.
Since then, I've come to know my father more in his death than in his (and my) life. I've acquired a few pictures, dug around the internet and found an old obituary which names me, and stumbled upon a website that promises tributes to loved ones, no matter their location. And there he was.
It's not easy, looking him in the eyes. I feel guilty for something I had no choice over.The feeling only gets worse with time, maybe because I'll never get the chance to tell him I loved him. Through the memorial site, I was able to request a photo of his burial plot. Morbid, maybe, but I had to see for myself where his final resting place lies.
When the email came through, I clicked so fast, my fingers nearly gave out. And then I saw it. An insignificant, metal marker poking through the grass. No headstone. No flowers or footprints. Barely noticeable to the naked eye unless you're searching. But look closer. The man lost his daughter, his self-respect and his life to cancer, and now, even in death, the disrespect remains.
He was born in 1960, not 1906...
So as you're walking down the street today, or emailing your blog buddies, or texting your loved ones, treat them with respect. All seven letters. In order. Because some day, whether in your life, or death, you might want some in return.