Thursday, June 10, 2010

Respect is a seven letter word. Use it.

Let's talk about respect.
(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.

Candyland. Out.


Avo said...

No disrespect intended, but I have to get up and start singing Aretha Franklin now. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

On a more serious note, I suppose that acting so that the maxim of one's actions are applicable to all, works well enough. At least you have discovered the wound and you have begun healing it.

Some thing can't be undone, but you can lighten the burden, or even change its nature til it becomes something you treasure. The diamonds buried in one's heart, once coal, but compressed over time and pressure into something else.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I'm sorry you never got to know your dad. That's really crappy. But I think your words about respect are so true and worth living by.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry you were never able to know your dad and learn more about him. I guess things just happen in life for a reason.

I think you are correct in posting all of this though, respect is lacking in the world and I think people should work harder to improve their respect!

I repsect you! :)

Jessica Bell said...

I'm sorry you never knew you dad very well. I didn't know my dad very well until my early twenties, luckily he is still alive and kicking and we've developed a really nice relationship.

Yep, respect. I think sometimes that seven letter word is even more important than love.


JE said...

I'm sorry you didn't get to know your father well.

Your words ring true. Thanks for reminding us the importance of respect. You've given me an idea for another tattoo ;-)


Hannah said...

I empathize. Respect is something you should give if it's something you want to receive. And honesty.

Beautiful post.

Kelly Breakey said...

It's like everything else, we should treat people the way we would like to be treated.

A smile here, a thank you there. Not too much really except to the person you bestow these things too.

Sorry for your loss, if nothing else this is a great reminder that life really is too short and we shouldn't wait for tomorrow for what we can say or do today.

Slamdunk said...

Powerful post--thank you for sharing.

It is reads like this that make me glad that I invest my reading time in blogs.

Unknown said...

Things like this are always hard. I had friends who didn't know their fathers and they felt angry, sad and confused... but at the same time I knew my father and still felt angry, sad and confused. Sometimes I think we become better people when we are forced to bend to God's will.No matter how tough that may be. Thanks for posting such an intimate subject. You rock as always.

Matthew MacNish said...

Respect is a very important issue. It is key to treat everyone with respect even if they don't deserve it. That way you can respect yourself.

Also it's complicated because you can treat someone with respect, even if you don't actually have respect for them.

Anyway sorry about your loss Candace, but thanks for sharing so openly of yourself.

Jaydee Morgan said...

People are funny when it comes to respect - most want it before they give it. But seriously, how hard is it to treat people with simple decency and consideration. The world would be a much better place if we did.

Sorry you never got to know your father but I think it's great that you are learning more about him now. Hold on to that :)

Christina Lee said...

You will NOT make me cry this morning--wonderful post!

Renae said...

What a great post. Your words are so true. I know some people that demand respest even when they don't show it to others. Very disheartening.
So sorry for your loss.

The Urban Cowboy said...

Sorry you weren't able to get to know your father on a more personal level. I too didn't know my 'biological' father until well into adulthood. When I had the means I found him through one of those Internet database searches, called him, and flew out to meet him and other relatives on his side. I haven't heard from or seen him since, but I have remained in contact with one of his brothers. Disappointed as I am with my outcome, respect is something I still try to live by (towards him).

I think I just TMI'd you! Sorry.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Powerful post, as always, Candace. Respect is one of those things that can be difficult to come by. So sad. We think people need to earn it, when in fact, it should simply be given - because it's the right thing to do.

Elana Johnson said...

Great post. As a teacher, sometimes it's hard to love and respect every child -- especially the ones that bug you. But I learned a long time ago, and it's something I do with every person I meet now, that EVERYONE has a mother that loves them. And if not a mom, then a dad, or a grandma or a spouse or a puppy. And so I should try to see in them what that loved one does.


Lenny Lee said...

hi miss candace. what you said is real sad and gave me tears. im real happy you could share cause it helps talking about stuff that hurts our heart. now im sending you an extra special big hug.
...hugs from lenny

Carolyn V. said...

Oh Candace, that made me sad. I'm glad you found him though. It's funny how we learn more about some people after they are gone.

Jo Schaffer said...

Sooo true, sister girl.
One aspect of respect is recognizing the value of each person. And we all have value.
I am sorry about your father. The hole that leaves is not an easy one to fill.
I respect you for your honesty and resiliance.

Dawn Ius said...

Awesome post. Thank you.

Joanna St. James said...

and now I just have to give you extra hugs and kisses, this is a lot to deal with.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Candace~I'm sorry that you didn't get to spend the time you yearned for with your Dad. You have grown into a compassionate loving woman, one any father would be proud of. I know seeing his grave marker must have been very difficult, but you made that effort for him. You showed him respect. You are a wonderful woman!