the dreams are weird. it's my dad's body, but his character is strangely altered. he's usually mad and angry, but in the dreams, these aren't just temporary mood shifts, the mad and the angry are always there. but somehow, in my dreams, i know he's acting this way because he's sick, and for some reason, his illness has altered his personality.
this is nothing like real life. besides that my dad so rarely got mad or angry, no signs of illness existed until that very morning. we had no idea he was dying--no idea his heart was struggling as it was.
in my dreams, too, i know he's on the very verge of death. i know he could leave us at any moment, so i can't leave his side, no matter the strange alteration of his personality. i want to be around him. i want to cling to him, to get every last possible second with him that i can. i wake up every time. i never witness his death in my dreams, for which i'm thankful. but i'm not sure the constant waiting for it doesn't do more damage. it's like he's back mysteriously in our lives. i can't really figure out, in my dream, what happened, why he was gone in the first place, all i know is that i have a second chance to be with him, and i'm on the figurative edge of my seat in every dream, afraid that he's going to leave any second.
strange as it may sound, i'm grateful for these dreams. even though they're exhausting and sometimes heartbreaking, they're also small images of my dad. small chances to sort of be with him and remember him. i don't mind too much that he's not "himself," because even in my dreams, i can remember what he's really like, who he really was. i remember his smiles and his laughter, and i remember how he looked at me with that very special look that only daughters know. that look that says there's nothing in the world he wouldn't do for me. that look of sweet admiration. that look that says all he sees when he looks at me is the little girl he used to hold in his arms. i still know that look. i still remember those eyes. i remember his smell and the sound of his voice. i remember how he felt, where he was squishy, and where he was only bones. i remember where his tan line started on his arms, and which veins popped out that i liked to squish.
i remember it all. i remember it so well that it both hurts and delights; so well that most of the time i try not to remember it so i don't have to deal with the hurt part.