Friday, January 4, 2008

So I'm going to tell you a story.....

It's about this dream I had not too long ago. If you're already heard it, be quiet and sit with the other kids criss-cross-applesauce, and listen anyway. I have an emotional need to blog about this today.

Back in March, when my son came into the world, as soon as he got his first breath he promptly screamed his head off and turned a healthy shade of maroon This was after two days of hellacious labor, followed by a stressful moment when we discovered that the cord wrapped twice around his neck. He was loud and wrinkly and looked just like his daddy. Despite this, I still thought he was perfect and fell instantly in love with him.

When the baby blues set in (as they inevitably did) I found myself missing my Dad something fierce. I missed my Mom too, because we lived in the same state when the girls were born and having a baby when you are away from the Mom you are super close too kind of sucks, but my Dad and I weren't anywhere near living in the same state any more - hell we weren't even in the same plane of existance anymore. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day that my Dad died.

This hurt. It really weighed heavily on me that he wasn't here to see my son. When he died it was hard enough to come to terms with the fact that he wouldn't be here to watch my girls grow up, but to completely miss the entire life of one of my children....that's hard. It's unfair. Sometimes I still kind of feel like stomping my foot at the universe and putting it in time out over the whole darn thing. But that's the way it is.

So anyway, one night when the Chunk was a few weeks old, I went to bed and promptly fell into that deep and exhausted yet ready for anything sleep that only a mother can understand. And I had this dream....

I was walking down a hospital corridor. It wasn't the local hospital here where Chunk was born - it was actually the one back in Illinois where Banana was born, where my mom works now and where my Dad had the majority of his treatment. Where we said good-bye. I was alone except for the sleeping baby in my arms.

I turned into a room and there they were - my Mom and my Dad. They were sitting side-by-side in those hospital issued chairs - the ones that are there for visitors in every hospital in the country - they are usually some shade of pink or teal and they inevitably are off balance.

I saw them both clearly. My Dad looked so good. Better yet, he looked healthy. And even after all this time, I can tell you exactly what he was wearing in the dream - his old worn out weekend jeans, a navy blue tshirt, and his grey hoodie sweatshirt - standard Dad weekend wear for working in the yard or doing some project around the house. He had just had a haircut. He had stubble on his face - Dad was just starting to go grey back then and you really noticed it when he didn't shave. My Mom always thought it was handsome. The hoodie was well worn and the jeans had holes in them, just like I remember. The strange part about all of this is that *I* could see my Dad but my Mom couldn't. She knew he was there, but she couldn't see him.

Now naturally, I reached out for my Dad. I mean, I hadn't seen him in ages, let alone a healthy version of him. But my hand passed right through him. I remember in my dream that he looked so sad then. He never said a word, but the sadness on his face was unmistakeable. Then he started to point to the baby.

It took me a bit, but after a minute I realized that he wanted to see the Chunk. So I leaned down and pulled the blanket away and showed my dad his grandson. Although he never spoke to me, he started nodding his head and smiling. He was so happy. In that moment in the dream, I felt amazing. I knew how much he loved me and how much he loved the baby.

I turned to my Mom and smiled. When I turned back to my Dad, he was gone.

That's about the time the baby woke me up. I can remember laying there in bed listening to the quiet house and thinking that never in my life had I experienced a dream like that - so vivid and so easy to remember, down to each little detail - those torn up jeans and that old grey hoodie. I had a little cry then, and went to rock the baby.

So tomorrow will mark another year that I look at the calendar with a feeling of profound sadness. It was July of 2004 when Mom and Dad told us that he had esophageal cancer. It was January of 2005 when we lost him. Six months of sickness and emotional hell and hope and saying goodbye. I need to keep talking about it - it helps me realize everything that I still have from him - aside from his temper and his tendancy to worry about everyone and everything. I didn't want to write another sad story like the one that happened while I was Christmas shopping this year. This isn't to make anyone feel sad, or to make anyone cry. I wanted something more than that - something that I could re-read tomorrow that would remind me that he's still with me - that he sees my beautiful kids and he knows that I'm happy. I hope he's proud of me. I know he loves me.

I miss him. And I love him so much.


Tracey said...

What a beautiful dream. Gave me goose bumps! Of course he's proud of you Amy, how could he not be? Sending you {{hugs}} on the anniversary of his passing.

kat said...


Marcy and Mike said...

Uncle Mike is missing him too Amy. We have tears here too. Just a quick funny to tell you. When Mike and I were back visiting in Oct of 04, we bought like 14 do rags and we all wore them into the hospital together. Your dad laughed so hard as well as all of us too. I didn't get to know him for to long, but sure loved him. Bless you dear. God is always good and he heals our hearts.
Love ya