Lori was raised without the comforting knowledge that her father loved her. He didn’t know how to tell her or show her he cared. She never said she loved him, she also didn’t know how to say the word love to him. Lori’s father, Frank, was a stern man and raised Lori as if she was a stranger.
Lori never felt she belonged anywhere. Lori’s mother, Nadine, was always busy and Lori considered her more a friend than a mother. The sadness Lori felt was kept deep inside her. Lori longed for the day she would be loved. But, would such a day really come? Lori could only hope. What would love be like?
When Lori tried to open the door to a better relationship with her father, he slammed it shut. Lori had to choose a course to take. Should she keep trying to get closer to her father, or should she run away from the broken relationship.
Lori left home while in her late teens. She left with little regret and no idea what the future might hold. She believed it would be better than her childhood and relationship with her father. Lori didn’t know how to find someone that would love her. What if she there was no such person. What if everyone was like her father, and every family like hers.
Lori and Neal met at a downtown book store. She was shy and he was nervous when with her. The relationship between the two of them gradually became something more than casual. Lori realized she had strong and never before experienced feelings for Neal. Could this be love?
A few months passed and Neal asked Lori to be his wife. Lori, although nervous and afraid, accepted Neal’s proposal. Lori and Neal’s time together was amazing. They cared for each other so much. They shared their feelings and their dreams for the future. Lori also shared with Neal the painful feelings she harbored regarding the lack of love shown to her by her father.
Lori told Neal she grew up feeling as though her father was no more than an acquaintance. She told Neal she never felt he loved her and had no fond memories of her childhood. Lori thanked Neal for his love and for teaching her how to express her love to him, and to others.
Lori rarely spoke to her father. When she did it was obvious to Neal that it was an uncomfortable moment for Lori. Neal saw that Lori was always unusually quiet after those conversations so he tried to make sure she knew how much he loved her at those moments. Neal never fully understood the feelings Lori had towards her father. He never allowed problems to linger and always thought of himself as a problem solver. So many issues between Lori and her father remained unresolved.
Neal awoke late one cold December night and realized that Lori was not beside him in bed. He searched for her finally finding her lying on the floor beside a desk. Lori died suddenly that night after suffering a heart attack. Neal found the beginning of a letter on the desk near Lori’s body. It seemed that Lori was writing to her father but died before finishing it. Neal called Frank the day after her death and gave the news of Lori’s death. Neal gave him the date and time of the upcoming service. Frank told Neal he would attempt to be there. He didn’t attend the service.
Neal saw Frank a few months after Lori’s death. Frank said he was sorry he wasn’t able to attend her service. Frank told Neal he regretted a great many things he had done, and not done, throughout his life. He said he had been a poor husband, and an even worse father. Neal could think that it was a lifetime to speak some words that were too late in saying.
A short time after the encounter with Frank, Neal learned he had passed away. Neal was told he died alone and there was no service following his death. In some way Neal felt that was appropriate as he had created such feelings of loneliness and sadness within Lori. But Neal also felt a sense of sadness because two lives had been lived with so much regret. So many things were left unfinished and unresolved. It was as if an unseen force had kept the two apart.
Neal saved Lori’s partial letter to her father and occasionally read it. In the letter Lori wrote, “Dear father, I have found such happiness and love during my time with Neal. I regret keeping my feelings about you hidden. I’m older now but I still need a father. If you care about me, please…” Neal never told Frank about the unfinished letter.