Thursday, December 24, 2009

i've been dreaming about my dad again. when he first died, i dreamed about him several times in a night, every night. but that lulled for quite a while. i hadn't been dreaming about him for at least a year until recently, and now it seems to be every night again.
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.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I feel strangely free tonight. Free from worry, free from grief, free from the constant weight that is life and the future. I don't know how. I don't know what's different tonight than any other night, but this is a precious sensation. No matter how long or short it may last, I must (and do) treasure it.
The most prominent freedom I'm feeling is from my constant worries about love. I want to be in it desperately, and on a normal evening, my heart hurts because no one I know is him. But tonight, i feel strangely free. He is there, or he is not, and either way I'm going to be okay.
This feels glorious.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

two years.

TWO YEARS. the fact is glaring, and obvious, and brightly lit in front of me. i knew over Thanksgiving that then was the two-year mark of my last time seeing and speaking with my dad. hugging him. sitting next to him. joking with him. being lectured for not checking my oil in my car.
TWO YEARS. the fact screams at me, like it's trying to force me to acknowledge my dad is never coming back. he's not going to show up at church one day. he's not going to come home for lunch tomorrow. in five more years, he still won't be here. in 18 more years, i will have not seen my dad in 20 years...and someday, that reality will be in front of me.
TWO YEARS. and i wonder if my brother will call this time. he must care..? is he hurting, too? should i be calling him? but i'm here. with my mom. he should call. he should call more often than he does anyway. he should visit our home more often than twice a year, too. for all intents and purposes, he should need us as much as we need him. we're family and we lost someone dear two years ago, and we need each other.
two years. i can't believe it. multiples of years. an S on the end of year. i still think to myself, "how did we get here?" partially because i don't really see how we've made it this long without my dad, but also because i just don't know how we got here. how we're here and he's not. it doesn't make sense in my confused head. it doesn't make sense at all.
24 years. that's how long i knew my dad. i'm so grateful for those 24 years, and i wouldn't trade those years in for anything. but two years is not a long enough time to be only grateful, and not sad. no, i will be a combination of grateful and sad on this day, and 364 others for the rest of my life.
i miss you, dad.