Writer Rax King lost her father some time ago. When she missed him, she would email his old work email address — the only email address he had — to ask him for advice or tell him how much she missed him. She didn't think anyone was on the receiving end of these emails, but they kept going through, so she kept sending them.
Then, she got the surprise of a lifetime. Someone was there, watching those emails come in the whole time. If I was Rax, I'd feel a little weird that someone else was seeing those emails, but once I received the response she did, I'd feel so very relieved.
Rax shared the email she got in response to the ones she's been sending her dad. Imagine getting an email back from an address you know belongs to a dead person. That would stop you in your tracks, wouldn't it? But the response Rax received was special, and she shared a screenshot from it on Twitter.
Well, that's just about the nicest, most touching message I have ever read in my entire life. Rax didn't share who it is from, but one can assume it's a coworker and friend of her father's who knew both of them well.
Rax's tweet, including the screenshot from the email, went totally viral, garnering 4,000 retweets, 59,000 likes, and thousands of comments from people who were moved by this story. The overwhelming response was that it made people cry ugly tears. Rax followed up her original tweet with two others: "Anyway I'm currently sobbing in the office bathroom about this response," and "Wow this blew up. Check out my SoundCloud. Just joshin' I'm still crying."
Among the many responses like, "I'm NOT CRYING! I just have lots of things in my eyes" and, "IT'S FINE I AM RUINING MY MAKEUP ITS FINE," were people who had similar stories of sending their dead parents messages when they miss them most.
It is totally strange to lose someone today, when most people have such a large digital footprint. Reminders of those people probably pop up in the most unexpected places. For some, it can be painful. For others, it is a comfort to be able to "communicate" with that person and tell them all the things you'd tell them if they were still around.
Those who haven't lost a parent can't imagine what it's like not to be able to call them up when you need them or to share significant moments in your life with them. For many who have lost someone that close to them, that phone number or that email address allows them to retain that lifeline, and that's pretty special.
Even if this sort of ritual isn't a part of your life, there are other ways that people connect with the memory of their loved ones. And it can mean so much when people you know or people who knew the person you lost reach out with a message of love and to share the memories they have of that person.
Rax never thought she would get a response when she started emailing her dad's old address. But to know that someone was there on the other end, not reading her private messages but simply acknowledging the special bond she and her dad shared, put her mind at ease. You can't beat a story like that.