I’ve had a reoccurring dream since my dad died three months ago.
I see him driving a car with the windows down. He smiles and waves but then disappears around a corner. I chase after him, jumping over bushes and cutting through side yards until I’m out of breath, and he is out of sight.
The last year of his life, I was able to spend nearly every day with my dad. During long treatments, we passed the time talking for hour upon hour. There were some words of sadness, but mostly there was laughter and love and appreciation for all that living brings.
But my dad’s final two weeks weren’t peaceful. It was a horrific ending to a happy life. Over and over I feebly whispered, “I’m sorry, Dad. You don’t deserve this.”
By the time he took his final breath, I was numb, traumatized by the inhumanity of his passing. A heaviness settled in my heart and my own breath has since become increasingly labored and shallow.
After each restless night’s sleep, I lay in the semi-consciousness of the dusky dawn searching my dreams for a message from my father.
I watch my dream-self struggle to walk down a long road while carrying several heavy boxes. I pitifully attempt to rearrange and rebalance the load but literally collapse under the weight of it all. At a bend in the road, I see my dad behind the wheel of a convertible. As he drives by, he flashes a knowing smile and shakes his head, as he often did when he needn’t say a word to get his point across.
In the growing light of morning, it becomes clear why my dad has been joy-riding through my dreams, and I understand what he’s been trying to tell me.
I’m not just struggling with the weight of those boxes in my dream life. I’ve been lugging them around night and day, everywhere I go. They aren’t loaded with physical items. They are filled with much heavier things and labeled with a thick, dark Sharpie:
GUILT ANGER HURT SORROW DOUBT FEAR
Baggage filled with such things is too much for any of us to bear. Dragging it around is futile, if not impossible. Clinging to it only wears us out and prevents us from being able to grab hold of all the loveliness in life.
My father has mercifully given me permission to let it go. To let him go.
It’s good to know he’s moving on in his journey. I can hear his voice call to me from the window of a fast moving car, “Enjoy the ride, kid!”
Happy birthday, Dad. I’ll see you in my dreams.
Think on These Things~ Alicia
With tears in my eyes, I read and re-read your words and know exactly how you feel. At different moments in my everyday life..like last night, I have a sinking hollowness in my heart. Where are you; what are you thinking of my every decision; why can’t you be with me???? Nothing will ever be the same without you! Happy Birthday, honey!
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I know you understand, Mom. He wants us to be happy! Love You.