Return to Sender

I'll never forget after my dad died some years back, I hung onto his answering machine.

In fact, for weeks after he passed away, I'd call up his now suddenly empty house just to hear the message. To hear those innocuous words, "Please leave a message at the beep."

It was hard to let go. It still is. It's why I clung to his forwarded mail and reminders of Air Force reunions he could now never attend.

What's got me remembering all this is a sad little item in today's USA Today on the thousands of pieces of mail that still arrive for the World Trade Center buildings long gone. Thousands of tenants long dead.

Their mail still coming — five years later.

Phone bills, cable bills, junk mail, all sorts of mail. Most of them sent by companies that forgot to update, or forgot to care. Dutifully shuffled and stacked at a post office across the street from where the towers once stood, but stand no more.

The stuff of our everyday life for whom there is no life.

I'm not sure relatives will see this mail. I'm not sure they will want to.

In a weird way it might be reassuring to see their loved ones names attached to the day-to-day routines of life. Until you come to realize they are not.

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