It was my father all right – in a dream. Standing five feet away, approximately, in a well-lit, local convenience store with which I am extremely familiar. This was no case of mistaken identity. Besides, he was wearing those blue, terrycloth shorts of his that my mother always hated. So yes, I called out to him, surprised as I was to see him, locally as it were.
It’s been nearly six years since my father died. But this was the first time (of the half-dozen or so dreams I’ve had in which my father was present) where he did not respond to me, either verbally or physically (we’ve actually touched in a couple of dreams). Mostly, we’ve exchanged pleasantries, looks, awareness and/or acknowledgment of one another. This dream, however, offered no such comfort. It was him. It was me. But it wasn’t us.
Disconcerting, unsettling, disappointing; depressing if you want to know the truth. I woke up thinking that whatever connection we had maintained since the his death in early December, 2006 had been severed somehow. Not that we spoke regularly since his passing, or that I ever had a sense of his spiritual hand guiding me, but I did feel he was sort of aware of who I was/what I was doing. Oh sure, I visit his grave site and update him – and my mother of course, on what’s happening in my life, but never had I heard back, so to speak, except in the occasional dream where although nothing of substance was ever discussed or any references/inquiries made acknowledging my graveside utterances, I always felt looked after, you know what I mean?
But now, since this last dream, maybe I don’t feel so “looked after.” And so what? So who knows? Maybe six years is the median length of time after a loved one dies when the spiritual connection fades? Maybe six years is a world record for such relationships and maybe the next dream which includes my father will be different and my father will be cracking some of the same Henny Youngman jokes back to me that I regularly – and repeatedly, said to him after his second stroke left him semi unresponsive? He could never remember the jokes or remember hearing them, so every visit (every other day; my brother and I alternated days), I would start our visit by saying: “Hey Beez, I just came back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.” Smile, laughter. “Hey Beez, do you know I’ve been in love with the same woman for 30 years? If my wife finds out, she’ll kill me.” Bigger smile. More laughter. “Hey Beez, I just came back from the doctor; he gave me six months to live. I told him I couldn’t pay his bill. He gave me another six months.” “Yeah, I know that one,” he’d mumble. And on and on I’d go for as long as he laughed.
We had multiple connections: sports, humor, both salesmen, words (he loved crossword puzzles); and we all got along and enjoyed spending time together. However, in this last dream, although we were together, it felt like we were apart. A part of me has accepted it and moved on; and a part of me, as reflected in this column, hasn’t.
Kenny Lourie is an Advertising Representative for The Potomac Almanac & The Connection Newspapers