Letter to my brother, attempting to process a dream about our estranged dad, who neither of us (or any of his blood relatives) have seen or talked to for maybe 20 years.
I want you to know that I’m sorry for the delay in your request for action items and timelines on the Julie Project. It is, once again, right at the top of my priority list, behind the care of a 2 year old and the insane entanglements of that, even when others are caring for her.
I’ve had a rough couple of days. This morning I had very emotional dream. I was at some kind of roadside restaurant and I needed to travel far but wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. Some kind of road trip.
Dad walked in.
He was happy and he said to me, with a smile: “I’m here with my dad!” I was going to get a lift from him, and I was walking behind him out to the parking lot, wondering aloud to him, saying “I guess I need to get to Indianapolis, to the bus station,” thinking (hoping) he could drop me there.
Then I was overcome with emotion. I hugged him from the side and sobbed “It’s good to see you, Dad. I’ve missed you so much.”
I don’t have them often, but these kinds of dreams take a heavy toll on me, because while I’m not really much more than a “secular humanist,” occasionally I have dreams that seem powerfully symbolic to me of Death. This was one of them. He said: “I’m here with my Dad.” And that really just rocked me.
And also — following him. I woke up and realized the security of following a parent, the reassuring automatic faith that they know where they’re going — and that therefore, you know where YOU’RE going. You don’t have to know; you know that THEY know. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s a feeling for me of deep unshakeable security. Even if it’s imagined, which it is.
You can just follow.
And in the dream, I felt that, walking behind my dad, and I realized that I do miss him — or at least: I feel the loss of him, the absence of him — in a way that … I’ll never really probably ever understand. I miss A dad — my dad — even though Bill has been a great one for me, and for us.
And the prospect, for me, of him dying — or receiving some kind of message (real or imagined) that he has died triggers something deep in me. I guess I still think he’s alive, until I have dreams like this. I had one about maybe 10 years ago, but this one was more rattling.