I have two sons that I have not seen in 18 years but live in constant hope of being reconciled with. I have this recurring dream (Bollywood style, of course) of them running into my arms, having been denied all these years.
The reality of course is that combined with silence from my side, they are all too probably brain-washed into believing that I am the deserter (never mind that I had VERY GOOD reasons), did not care, was really really selfish, etc etc. You get the picture. And they are probably not even giving me a passing thought. Sad. Really. As I think of them often. More as I grow older and would probably walk past them and probably not recognise them.
But them nothing in life comes free - least of all freedom and peace of mind. My sons were the price I paid for mine.