Last night I dreamt of my father. First there were dreams of children and babies and houses and in one of these houses, my father sat in an over-stuffed chair. He wore a blue plaid shirt. He was his older self, though not frail; memory intact. He looked up at me; I was leaving (or was it he who needed to leave?) He asked for a kiss. His voice was as clear as if I had been awake, he alive.
Before he died, at the temporary hospice, I sat by his bed. His death bed. The day prior, my brothers, sisters and mother had gathered. My mother said, “This is what he wanted. All of you together.” At times, he thrashed and moaned. Was he in pain? Was he afraid? As a trained massage therapist, my instincts dictated I gently massage his lower legs and feet with the intention of pulling uncomfortable energy downward (and outward.) I offered him calm, perhaps freedom. My mother remarked, “it’s helping.”
A golden soft light surrounded my father. Was it his spirit? My energy mingling with his? Then I realized … get a grip, Eileen. It was light emanating from the TV screen mounted on the wall behind us. (He would have thought this funny; my mother, perhaps not so much.) His illuminated face made me think of him as the Patron Saint of Television, the guy loved his TV and music. When he was 80 he purchased a Bose radio; that same year, my brother gave him an iPod for his birthday stocked with his favorite music. Frank Sinatra, Harry James. Daddy asked Don if he could take the iPod to heaven with him. This made me wonder if older people found it easy to talk about death as if it were nothing at all; unlike most of us who act as if we might go on forever, or that death is something that happens to others.
Dreams come and go, but last night, my dad visited me in a dream. Maybe it was a subconscious part of my mind, or perhaps, a true visitation. But this morning as the mist hung over the farm fields and sunlight filtered through the trees, I cried on my drive to work. The dream stirred memories of the last times few times I saw my father. Once, when I bent to kiss him goodbye at my brother’s house where he lived, he grabbed my hand, squeezed and held on as if he might never let go.
On his last morning, I whispered in his ear. “You were awesome, I love you.” But there was no kiss. That would have been a final blessing, freeing him to go, and I didn’t have the courage. But last night in my dream, I was given another chance.