Today is Father’s Day … and this will be the first year I’ll be without my Dad.
I’ve been having a pretty rough go at it all the days leading up to today. And even now, after I hit “publish” on this post, I’m not quite sure what the rest of the day will bring.
What I do know is that I’m sad. Extremely sad. More sad that I ever thought I’d be. And it sucks because I miss my Dad so much.
And instead of making a trip to the cemetery today, I would rather be making the trip to a steak house where I could treat Dad to the “steak dinner” he always wanted every year. And I wish I could physically put my arms around him and hug him … and thank Dad for all he’s done for me over the years.
This is a difficult one for me to write about. Not that I didn’t know what song I was going to use for this day. It’s more because “Brick” by Ben Folds Five, written and released back in 1997, disturbs me even to this day.
The song itself is haunting; the piano is beautiful yet sad. But it’s the lyrics to the song that get me every time.
Easter is this weekend. So yes, the Infertile in me has been mentally preparing myself for lots of cute kids dressed up in their Easter Sunday Best. And I’ve been bracing myself for all the shrieks and excitement that any kid would have on such a wondrously child-centric, “It’s Spring! And New Life (aka absolutely adorable newborn babes) is all around us!” holiday.
But this year, I have another reason to keep my emotions at bay. This year Easter happens to fall on my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 68 years old this Sunday.
I saw my Dad the other night. Well … actually, I saw him in my dreams anyway.
I guess it was only a matter of time that Dad would show up in my slumber. After all, it’s been 4 months and he’s (obviously) been weighing heavily on my mind since then. Except his presence in this dream took me completely by surprise.
Dad appeared to me in a dream that involved staying at a hotel in Las Vegas for a conference with some co-workers (both past and present). In the dream, a former co-worker confronted me regarding a statement I had made about being excluded from some team activity. She had asked me if this was going to affect our working relationship. And just as I was about to answer her, I looked up from where I was seated and saw my Dad standing right by the hotel room door. Plain as day; wearing a set of khaki trousers and a dark red collared sweater … something I could see him wearing whenever we’d go out to dinner together.
But Dad wasn’t alone. He was with a person, whose face looked so familiar; perhaps a family friend from back in his home town that I had met at one of those Canadian “reunion” picnics we’d go to every year. Whoever it was, I couldn’t place the name.
As soon as I saw Dad, I jumped out of my seat and ran up to him and wrapped my arms around him tightly. “I’ve missed you,” I told him.
“I know,” Dad said to me. “I’ve missed you, too.” And then we started talking as if he’d been on a trip back to the Philippines, rather than being physically gone from the earth. What we had talked about, I can’t really remember; but I do recall feeling sad when he told me that they had to go now.
“Okay,” I told Dad. “I’ll walk you guys to the elevator.” And so we walked down the hall and I watched him and this family friend step into the elevator. As the elevator doors started to close, I started to feel panicked; my heart began to race and I suddenly felt bereft.
So I stuck my hand out to stop the elevator door from closing and jumped in. Except when I got inside, my Dad wasn’t there. I looked about the elevator and saw the family friend that had previously accompanied my Dad. I asked where Dad was, but all I got was a shrug of the shoulders.
Once we got to the hotel lobby, I got off the elevator and decided to wait for another elevator car to arrive; thinking that Dad had jumped onto another car instead. After a couple cars came up empty for Dad, I walked towards the hotel entrance intending to sit on one of the couches in the lobby and cry. After all, I had this sick feeling that I’d never get to see him again … even though in the dream it felt like he was just going to walk around the Vegas Strip.
But as I walked toward the lobby, I felt a tap on my shoulder. And when I turned around, I saw my Dad standing there. He engulfed me in another bear hug and said, “You didn’t think I’d leave you, did you?”
I nodded my head, the tears streaming down my face. “I’ll always be with you,” Dad told me. “Don’t ever forget that.”
And that’s when I woke up.
Strangely, my pillow wasn’t wet with tears, even though my eyes felt as if they had been crying. And the rest of my body just felt extremely tired. And sad … extremely sad. I had remembered waking up briefly in the midst of the dream to tell Hubby that I saw Dad. But by the time I woke up after the dream was over, Hubby had already left for work.
So instead I told a good friend that I had met for lunch later on in the day. This friend had also lost her father earlier last year and had been there to comfort me during the days following Dad’s death. Without giving her any details about the dream, she told me that it was my Dad’s way visiting me; of showing his presence to me. And we left it at that.
Later on that evening, I told Hubby about the dream and what my friend had said to me. In between the sobs I had let out, he held me tightly and wished that he could make the pain go away.
Then over the phone, I relayed the same thing to my Mom. She too, believed that my Dad had come to visit me and in turn asked me whether or not he looked happy. At first I had told her that Dad’s belly appeared fuller, and we both laughed. “Obviously he’s being fed well up there,” my Mom said, both of us knowing how much my Dad loved to eat.
But then Mom asked me again, “Did he look happy?” After all, other than some “random” events that have taken place at the house, Mom had yet to see Dad face-to-face.
I thought about it for a moment; thought about our conversation and the words Dad had said to me in the hotel lobby. And I answered, “Yes. He looked content.”
“That’s good,” Mom had said. “That just means he’s at peace.”
And as strange as that statement sounded, I believed Mom. And it comforted me … especially knowing that my Dad said he’d always be with me.