I felt angrier than I had ever been and lonelier than I had could have believed possible, and my mind showed me blurry disconnected images of things that made my soul sick with wanting and anticipation.

I witnessed images of her imploring me through tear streaked pleas as to why I wasn't there for her first day of school, why I wasn't there to teach her how to ride a bike, why I had missed chasing all of her childhood nightmares go away, why I wasn't there for all of the skinned knees and heartbroken minutes that I could have been so gently kissed away, why I wasn't there to be the first one to tell about a secret crush in school, why I wasn't there like I had promised.

In my mind's eye I saw myself pull her close to me, holding her tightly enough that I wouldn't ever have to let go of her again and become the embrace of love and the strong shoulders in this world that she could rely on every day.

My guts began to ache as I could hear her small voice call out for 'Daddy' in the middle of the night and then another man standing up to answer her instead of me. I wanted to cry into her little arms and tell her how sorry I am to not have been there for so long in her young life.

My hands were shaking wildly now as they hovered over the keyboard. I sat and cried, feeling the pain of all those years come flooding back in one rushing moment and it sucked every ounce of energy from my body.

All the years of worrying, all the years of tears from longing, all the wasted time that could have been so beautiful and full, that were instead empty and cold because of her absence, piled up in front of me like an overwhelming tower of pain and regret, and I said her name out loud for the first time in over four years. The release was overwhelming.

The part of me that makes me whole died inside of me the day she was taken for me, this beautiful little precious thing that God had given me to hold in my arms and my heart forever as I introduced myself to her on her first day in this world.

I vowed to her that day to protect her and keep her safe, and then three years and two months later she was ripped out of my life in one thoughtless motion over adult issues that I pray she never has the misfortune to experience during her sweet life.

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