I dreamed about my father the other night. And it was so incredibly, unbelievably real that I felt he was right there with me and I could have cried for my happiness.
It was one of those dreams that took place in a house that wasn’t mine, but I knew it was mine. Yet I was amazed to come upon a room I’d never found before. And when I flung the door open, I found my father’s desk, stacked with his papers and books, notes and phone numbers, and even a pharmacy bag with an unopened box of Colgate toothpaste, the kind he liked best.
His coat was on the rack, his woolen Irish cap tossed on a chair. Like he’d just left the room for a moment, and would be right back to see me.
Later, as I awoke, I felt bliss. I was safe and secure. And the impossibility didn’t occur to me, seeing as he died in 1996. But then consciousness claimed me, in the succeeding few seconds, and I was punched into wakefulness. I tried desperately to fall back to sleep again. I would rather be there.
Thinking about it later, I wasn’t sure what to make of my dream. I have really needed my dad lately as life bogged me down in situations that would certainly have been a lot easier if he’d been around.
So, do people come to visit us in our time of need to let us know we aren’t alone? Or was my dream simply triggered by a passing thought the other day about a father/daughter dance I was writing about? At that moment, my thoughts turned to when my dad accompanied me to such special events, whether with Girl Scouts, my grammar school, or even the father-daughter breakfast at my high school.
I like to think he’s letting me know he’s here for me. But I really don’t know. I’ve honestly felt a little abandoned being the adult with no one to lean on after losing first him, and then my mom. But this is life. And while we don’t want to get past the deaths of our parents, we must.
There is a beautiful photograph of my father hanging on my office wall taken for one of his campaign posters long ago. It’s next to an oil portrait of my mother painted when I was 18. I’m older now than both of them in those images, yet when I look at their beautiful, smiling faces, frozen in time — and remember how much they meant to me and I to them — I am transcended, forever their little girl.