Thursday, December 4, 2008

The second night after our vacation...

My dad was a really important part of my life. He was my basketball coach most of my life, he took me fishing, we played outside together. He taught me to love life, the outdoors and myself. My dad died when I was 19. It was the most traumatic thing that has happened to me. So traumatic, that 10 years later, I still tear up when I think about not having my dad, my kids never knowing him, my husband never meeting this significant part of my life.

After my dad died, I didn't grieve in life. I grieved in my dreams. I've always dreamed vividly, and these dreams were no exception. Immediately after his death, and for the next probably 3 or 4 months, I'd dream of my dad normally, going fishing, playing basketball, hiking the mountains, being a grandfather to my two nieces who lived close to us in Tennessee. I would wake up after these dreams, and think "I am such a bad daughter, I haven't talked to my dad in two weeks!!!" (or months, later). I would get out of bed, go to the phone, and remember. I would cry. After about 4 months, it sort of set in that my dad was dead, and then I started dreaming that my dad was alive in my dreams, but not alive like he was before. He would be very weird, almost like an autistic person - he'd be doing a single motion repetitively or saying something very odd, or ignoring me altogether. One dream in particular, I remember I came home and my Dad was standing on the sidewalk and he had all these stop watches (Dad also refereed lots of games, so he did have a ton of stopwatches, and this reminded me that I wanted one of his stopwatches). All of these stopwatches were lined up on the sidewalk and he was walking up and down the sidewalk, counting them, fidgeting with them, moving one to the end and another to the middle, just being really weird. I tried to talk to him and it was like he didn't even know I was there. I'd wake up after these dreams feeling confused and sad. I'd lost my dad in life, and then I'd lost him in dreams, too. These dreams lasted a while, maybe 6 months to a year. hen I began to dream that my dad was alive in my dreams but I knew he was dead in life. These were weird, because I didn't know what to do. Finally, I dreamed my dad was dead in my dreams and life. Sometimes I would talk to his ghost, sometimes I'd be at his funeral again. Sometimes I'd just be talking to someone about my dad. All of these dreams lasted probably 2 years after my dad's death. Then I dreamed of him very rarely for a while, and when I did dream of him, he would be alive and he would guide me through tough decisions - I'd always know he was dead in life, so I'd want to stay asleep as long as possible. These dreams became more distanced over the years, and I probably hadn't dreamed specifically of my dad in a year or more.

The second night after our vacation in Florida, I dreamed of my dad. Just like the night before, it was one of the most vivid dreams of my life. I don't remember many of the details, except that in my dream, people kept saying my dad was dead (even though he was just there). Everyone in my dream thought my dad was dead. I had forgotten he really was dead. When I woke up, I thought "that was so strange that everyone thought my dad was dead - I wonder why they would think that? I should probably call him, I haven't talked to him since I don't know when." Then it hit me, just like it used to when I was 19 - I would never get to call or visit my dad again.

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