Wish You Were Here

Sometimes I miss you. It happens when I am watching kids that would be your age. It also happens when I hear the word abortion. My heart seems to fill up with sadness and mope around in my belly. It is like loosing a best friend. I know the hard truth, which is that you would be sitting besides me if I was ready for you when you decided to come. Instead, I was too immature and poor. I slept with my girlfriend without condoms, willingly came inside of her and planted the seed for your existence, which I knew could not make it out the front door. Women often tell me that they can see me with a daughter- but little do they know about you. You see, I know your spirit was feminine and fragrant- because long ago on the day of the abortion I had a vision and it was wearing a flowered dress that smelled like lime. There was long locks of hair and a dark smile that caused me to smile in the waiting room even though you were being sucked away from life through a medical tube. Now that I teach high school I am hunted by your image in the face of the students I teach. You would have been their age by now and for all I know- you may of been one of them.

I went through three abortions. There was not just you but two others. Two brothers or sisters that I was not ready to keep. I drank too much beer, read too much Edgar Allen Poe and suffered too much by my own hand for reasons that should have been easily overcome. Now I am a lonely man who could have been a family man, but when I am eating dinner by my self I occasionally hear the laughter and frivolity of the family that will never be. My wife is not aware of my duress- because my deep sadness is too strong to find a place inside her. She does not make the connection between my fear of sex ( which is not a personal offense towards her beauty) and my fear of loosing one more. I suppose I am old and ready enough now to reincarnate the image of you in a new born- but the fear of retribution keeps me trying to knock on heavens door. I’d rather try and talk with you than start a new. Deal with what I have done rather give birth to another one. Make peace with and mourn my three children that never lived- rather than go out and buy a brand new crib.

My students get a good majority of my soul, when I know all they deserve is my mind. In you are they, and in them I know you are. There are students whom I call my favorite and when I take them out to lunch or for a walk- it is you that I am talking to. The love that a father holds for his daughter goes into each and every gesture I make. My students often say that they feel loved by me but little do they know that it is you that I love in them. When I am walking alone I often think about you and find disobedient tears wondering down my face. My shoulders slump and my body becomes heavy when I consider your hand, legs and tummy that I will never hold in mind or body. I wonder who you would have been and what your face would of reminded me of. I no longer talk to the mother you could have had because the sharp edge of time has severed our bond. She once told me, when we were contemplating giving you the name “Ada”- that you would be a girl who would look just like me. Not soon after your departure- her guilt was so severe that she began wearing make up to hide the lines that began to form on her twenty one year old face.

Tonight, while eating at a burrito shop- I found myself staring at a man with his younger daughter. He talked to her with a proud smile in his eyes that reminded me of what love must look like in the heart. In these moments you sneak up on me and fill me with such grief that my appetite disappears and all I can do is walk away with my head down, eyes staring at the ground. I know that this is a sad letter to send and I am sorry to fill your mind with my grief but it really is important to me that you know that fifteen years after your passing I really do wish you where here.


  1. randall that is very moving. it made me remember how sometimes the only thing you can do is say goodbye and try to say it when you need to or the lost goodbyes haunt you forever

  2. I saw your plea for readers on Gingatao … so I thought I would visit 🙂

    I have to say this post brought tears to my eyes. Emotionally wrenching … but beautifully written.

  3. hey randall-
    this is brenda…just wanted to tell you made me cry, it was beautiful. your story made me think of the difficult times my husband is having with our daughter…
    you are an amazing, patient and giving teacher
    thank you for sharing

  4. I see the failure of my marriage in my students. It gives me compassion and patience and a practical head. I see possibility and strength everywhere I look in the classroom and I shake with a passion to protect these beautiful, untouched, vibrant people.

    This is honest writing that will touch all the broken people. There are so very many of us. Your wife would want to read this.

    Kind regards.

  5. Randall how beautiful.

    One day you will be a brilliant father and you will have the luckiest children there can be.

    And if that turns out not to be the case. The young people you teach will be the luckiest children there can be.

    Love Renee xoxo

  6. Wow, This brought me to tears.
    Your students probably have no idea.
    This would bring them to tears as well, They would be shocked and mourn with you, as I am now.
    Us students, don’t know this side of you, but they would probably respect you better if you showed this side.
    But then again, I’ve gone through an abortion,and It isn’t lovely, and i wouldn’t share t with even my closest friends.
    But you have to have balls to even write it.
    And for that, Kudos.

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