Dreams of my father

June 24th, 2012

I dreamed about my father last night, which is unusual. I rarely dream about him; I cannot remember the last time I did. I think about him, off and on, irregularly but more often than I would have expected after half of a lifetime; he comes to mind more in the winter, in those hockey rinks that bring him so sharply into focus. Sometimes, the sound of a whistle at SB’s training will make me turn my head sharply as if he might be there on the bench. But he doesn’t come to me in dreams; he rarely did. Even in the months immediately following his death, I rarely dreamed of him.

Last night, I dreamed he had a heart attack, which is odd – of all the things that plagued him as his cancer progressed I do not recall a heart attack ever being one of them; he did have a series of small strokes, but not, that I can recall, a heart attack – and I ran into the room where he was. It was not a hospital room, and he was in a regular bed and nobody was treating him and there was no sense of medical urgency, although in the dream it was quite clear that he was having a heart attack even though he was clearly not having a heart attack. You know how dream are like that. He was lying down, and when I came rushing into the room he turned to me – his face was so clearly my father’s face, and sometimes I think I have forgotten what he looked like, but no, I have not forgotten – and said “I miss you.” I stroked his forehead and said “I’m here.”

And that’s all I remember.

When I think about my father these days, I think about all the things that he has missed. I myself have grown used to being a woman whose father died a long time ago. I used to think it was so unfair to me that my father died when I was still so young (and the older I get the more I realize how young twenty-one still is to lose a parent), but the unfairness that sticks with me now is how unfair to my father, what he missed and misses.

I dreamed about my father last night. He came to say that he misses me. It’s been a long time for both of us, I guess.