Posts Tagged ‘Death’

Dylan’s Ghost- Songs of a Lifetime- Track 2- We Miss You

February 18, 2016 Leave a comment


We Miss You- Robert Garcia, Copyright 2015


Well, one thing is for damn sure. The longer you live the more times you say goodbye. There must be a list of at least a dozen people who I think about regularly who are no longer with us. Like every, single damned day, I think of them. Though years and years in the past in some cases, their passing seems like just yesterday- and I still can’t believe- I am astounded- that they’re no longer here.

Where are they? Where did they go? Wherever they are, do they think of us? Will we see them again? And if it’s true that you die twice, once physically and then again when the last person dies who had memories of you- then, my goodness, how important is it for us to remember them and miss them and keep them in our hearts?

And that’s the meaning of the song titled, We Miss You.

I wrote it a little over 20 years ago after I lost my father, Alvaro. This scratched up old photo is probably the best shot ever taken of the two of us.

And the photo below is a scan of the two-decades-old, water-stained piece of paper where I first put down the words, about a week after Alvaro had passed, about two years after the shot above.

The lyrics spilled out all at once. I remember the process as an emotionally intense experience. It’s amazing actually, how many of those words are in this final version. But they don’t quite add up to a complete song, so urged on by my Producer, Jeff Severson, I doubled the break in the song and wrote an entirely new final verse.  There’s a thread about new life at the very bottom of the water-stained page that I never followed up on. Which is good, because it kinda sucked.





We Miss You
By Robert Garcia

These are the times that shake us all
These are the times in the fading light of the fall
When we recall
The spirits of our mothers and fathers
Sons and daughters and sisters and brothers

Sleds and trains and dolls and horses
Ride off in the night like invisible forces

And we miss you- yeah we miss you

These are the times when we breathe deep
These are the times when we’d really rather be asleep
When we keep
The memories of our mothers and fathers
Sons and daughters and sisters and brothers

Christmas trees and candy canes and laughter
Do you think of us in the great hereafter

Yeah we miss you

Shimmering sparkles they play in the ether
Dancing together the light is their keeper
The stars in the sky point the way for the dreamers
And heaven it seems is not only for believers

These are the times that pull us under
These are the times when we hear God’s roaring thunder
And let no man put asunder
The undying love of our mothers and fathers
Sons and daughters and sisters and brothers

Where you’ve gone we cannot follow
Sometimes our prayers they just seem hollow

Because we miss you
Yeah, we miss you


Robert Garcia Copyright 2015


Musically- this is Jeff’s baby. My unplugged version of this song is slower and sadder and played on one lonely acoustic guitar.

Jeff’s version is crazy good. I can’t even get into the layers and layers of guitar work, key boards, and harmonies that went into this. The guitar lines in this tune are incredibly strong- they make the tune, musically. The build-up to the bridge (Shimmering sparkles)- those electric guitar hammer-ons, I guess you call them, are just perfect. And, yes, those are Beatle-like harmonies in the break. Thank you Ben Mason for your Beatleness! And for your portion of the We Miss You voices.

Easily, the best and most extensively produced song on the album. Jeff once said he wanted the music to do justice to the lyrics. I appreciated the compliment, and, uh, yeah. I’m not used to functioning without “thumbs up” emoticons. Hundreds of ‘em. Thank you, buddy- nice work.


Dylan’s Ghost- Songs of a Lifetime is available for digital download at I-Tunes, CD Baby, and Amazon Music. Purists who would like a hard copy of the CD can contact me directly at and we’ll make arrangements to ship it out to you.

Immigration- It’s not Easy Sometimes- Even for the Legal Ones

November 21, 2014 1 comment


I was born in New York City in 1956 and that made me an American. My parents, from Colombia, South America, never actually achieved full citizenship status though they always had the appropriate documentation to work and live in the United States for many decades.

They ended up divorcing and both would return to Colombia but toward the end of my mother’s life, she moved back to the states and lived with me and my family in Atlanta. It was the Pablo Escobar era in Colombia and a huge bomb in downtown Bogota had killed 200 people and taken out a major high-rise office building and broke the windows in the nearby building where my mother worked and I brought her up to the states to get her away from the bloodshed and violence.

It was then that she began the process of seeking American citizenship.

It was a tough go. In her 60’s but not in the best of health, there were hours and hours of bureaucratic engagement and hassles. Stella was a classy, elegant woman; always very well-dressed and proper in every way. From a middle to upper-middle-class background, she stood in stark socio-economic contrast to the hard-working, wonderful, salt-of-the-earth, but much less well-off Mexican and Salvadoran day laborers with whom she shared many hours of waiting time in the Atlanta immigration offices.

After a typical 3 or 4-hour visit to immigration, waiting in long lines, filling out forms, doing interviews and writing out $700 processing checks (money you never get back whether you achieve citizenship or not), she’d end up exhausted by the experience. On a couple of occasions I would take her directly from the chaos and frustration of the immigration offices to the Ritz-Carlton- Buckhead where I could treat her to tea and a nice breakfast and make her feel human again.

Enforcement Beyond the Grave

Stella did not survive the immigration process. She passed away several months after her initial application and before anyone could rule on her status. About two months after her death, I received a letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, informing me that a court date had been set for her. I called the appropriate authorities and sent a copy of her death certificate. The court date came and went and now the letters started coming in fast and furious, each one increasingly menacing. Stella Garcia-Pena has missed her court date, the letters said, and the deportation process is now underway.

I forgot who I called, but it was not a friendly conversation on my part. “If it makes you feel better to deport a dead woman, by all means, go right ahead. But understand that, really, this is not a living individual you are talking about here.” But if you’d like, I threatened, next court hearing you schedule for my dead mother’s deportation, I can call one of our local Atlanta TV stations, or perhaps CNN (where I worked) and maybe we can have a camera crew document this tough federal action you’re taking against someone who no longer walks the earth.

I think the camera crew thing saved the day. I did receive one more clueless bureaucratic letter threatening more deportation and, as I recall, possible imprisonment. But one final letter of explanation from me and a follow-up phone call did the trick. The Immigration and Naturalization Service had deemed it would, finally, let my dear mother rest in peace.

I am certain she is now a citizen-in-good-standing in Heaven and I understand the entrance process to get past the pearly gates is considerably easier and more efficient than what she had to go through here on earth. Basically, she just had to prove she was a good person.

And that, she was.