I’m in my bed, reading, about 10:30 at night, when my twenty-three year old daughter pops her head in. She’s so beautiful, in her glasses, smiling to see me still awake.
“Has it been a long day, Dad?”
“Yes. What about you?”
She grows a little more animated as she starts to tell me about how the work day went. Her image and her voice grow blurry within my dream, as I desperately try to hold on to what she is saying, what she looks like. But I can’t – she’s fading.
Her name was Grace. She died six months into term more than twenty-three years ago. But she still visits me in my dreams, some nights.
I always know it’s her.
My ex-wife and I had a son after that; the doctor figured out why it happened and we got a baby to term. We then split up about three and a half years later. I remarried a couple of years later, to a woman who had three daughters, ages 10 to 16. That was eighteen years ago.
But still she makes these visits. Because every child we have, and every child we don’t have, aren’t just part of us, they are us.
The best part of us.
The eternal part of us.
I wish I could have held her once, and told her that her Daddy loved her.
So I tell her in dreams, and in whispered prayers before I go to bed at night. Even after all these years.
Her name was Grace, you know, and she was my beautiful daughter.
And she always will be.