Friday, January 20, 2017

Hello, my dear love. And Goodbye...

To my daughter, Kamillah Grace,

I can't speak for your mother, my love, my darling.  And I won't. You had a relationship with her that I can never know, trapped in this finite, incapable & wonderless body of mine.  It seemed as though you were terribly real to her from the moment that you were just form without essence - just a handful of pluripotent cells, eager to divide, change and fulfill their destiny.  To me you were a promise: an island on the horizon, an undiscovered country.  I was eager - I looked forward to the fulfillment of the promise.  I looked to the horizon and anticipated the rise of the sun.  I wanted to explore this new realm and be the best father to you that a man could be.

To me, you were far away.

Is there a point to telling you who I am?  Is there something more to the Universe than what we can see with our eyes and measure with rulers & tools?  Is there a quantifiable foundation to all that there is?  If so, then I'm talking to no one.  I may well be talking to someone that never existed.  That possibility doesn't frighten me.  I know it frightens others, who change the notion in their minds from possibility to certainty.  I know why it frightens them - what possible meaning could lay behind the loss of someone that never existed?

But that is only possibility, nothing more.  It isn't any more or less true than the alternative.  There's a comfort in both, isn't there?  If you never existed, then you were denied both the virtues and vices of life - your first kiss and the reality of living in a world where Donald Trump is commander of the most powerful military force ever assembled by mankind.  Life isn't inherently good or bad, so you never existing couldn't inherently be a blessing or a curse.  Given the chance, you'd have no reason to envy the living.

And if you did exist by any definition I can fathom, was your short stay...pleasant?  Could you feel sensation?  The warmth of your mother's body.  The vibration against your skin.  Is there some way, some mechanism by which my words to you through the cocoon of your mother's tummy touched you?  One nerve cell reaching for another, like hands in the dark looking to grasp onto something, anything.  Leaving a mark, a record inside of your body of the world around you.  Had you already created your first memory?  Had you already made yourself real?

(Gosh, your heart beat was so strong and steady.  I had no doubts that I would hear it one day, not with a doppler, but with my own ears, pressed against your tiny chest.  1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4. Would you wonder why Papa did that, pushed your arms away and put his ear next to your chest?
When would you tire of it?)

My heart breaks to think of the discomfort at the end, the discomfort that we imagine all living beings feel at the end of being.  Where beings dissolves back into things.  We all have a sense of that one moment of going from a person to a body.  Is there one moment when one goes from cells to a person?  What is the moment when a snowflake rolling down hill turns to a snowball?  Or a snowball to a boulder?  My darling, Kamillah Grace, I don't know these answers.  But whatever you were, I love you with all my heart.  I would have given you everything I had.  And when the tears come to my eyes at being cheated of you, I will remind myself that I still can.

Your father feels silly for a moment, thinking that he's writing this to himself.  A letter without a recipient.  And then he thinks how silly his skepticism and doubts must look to his daughter, her existing in some unreachable place, peering at him in some manner or form beyond the unremarkable limit of human understanding.  Curly hair and freckles the wonder and marvel of which I can only imagine - she peers over my shoulder at what I'm writing and smiles at being so embedded in the heart of one she can't touch, one she can only know from a distance and in passing.  Whereas I only hope, she knows. You know there's more to the Universe than what I can know, and you know that we'll meet properly, see each other again.  How much do I envy you.

I kissed your little nose - your red, unfinished skin.  I held you in my hand, what remained of you, as close as I dared.  Now you are close and yet still so far, so frustratingly, unfairly far.  In my mind's eye, I saw what could have been. We were denied from each other by forces beyond our control, my love. But my love for you will not be denied, not by reason, nor passion.  Not by distance.  Not by time.

In the world that I know, to you my darling, I say hello and goodbye.  And in the world you know, hear my whisper...

...Until we meet again.

Your father,

P.S.  I can't promise that I won't write you from time to time.