Thank you to everyone who has offered condolences on the death of my father. There have been so many comments and emails and cards and I appreciate them all. It means a great deal to me that I can express myself safely in this space the way I need to, and feel supported as I do it. Thank you.
We've had my niece staying with us, and the days have been filled with summertime fun: trampoline, kites, archery, biking, concerts in the park, ice cream, books, crafts, movies, games.... In the morning my kids start school and a whole new (intensely packed) routine gets underway. The daytime brings many distractions.
But at night I've been dreaming about my dad. In the dreams he's as he was several years ago, before the need for a cane. There was one where my mom and my brothers and I were with him in the library at home, talking and laughing. We were having such a nice time, and I kept thinking, "Oh, I hope no one remembers he's supposed to be dead so this doesn't have to end." In another, my dad came along with me to a place where I was having a rehearsal, and I decided before we started to play to go out in the hall where he was waiting with my husband to see if he'd like to come in and listen to us practice. He was sitting happily with Ian and laughing when I found him, and again I thought, "As long as no one reminds us he's supposed to be dead this will be okay."
The thing that has really struck me about these dreams, however, is experiencing hearing my dad's voice again, and seeing his gestures and expressions. In the dream in the library, my dad gave Arno this very dad-like look when my brother showed
him something he was flipping through--a look that was sort of a nod
with eyebrows raised in a way that was both knowing and amused. In the rehearsal dream I enjoyed hearing dad laugh. My dad always lit up when he saw me. Every time. When I squeezed his hand he always squeezed it back.
Those are the the things that are gone. Those experiences are now only in my dreams. I'm just now starting to come to grips with the idea that they will never happen in real life again. I wonder how long before his voice is hard to remember, before the expressions I knew so well will fade. There is so much we reacquaint ourselves with about the people we love after we've been away from them for any amount of time, but I won't have that opportunity with my dad again. So I find myself grasping at the dreams when I have them, enjoying that my dad still feels familiar, and wishing things could be different when I know I have to wake.