Last time we spoke it was in a dream.
I found him living in the corner house on the childhood street where I grew up in Englewood, New Jersey.
Our conversation was short and to the point – why did you go away? Why did you pretend to be dead?
Since the thirty-seven plus years he’s been gone, I have had this same type of dream about ten times in my lifetime. In each dream, he is alive and well – simply living away from us. And, while I have never obtained an answer to my question, it has been a way to stay in touch with him through all of these years of absence.
I’m sure some medical professional would say that I was justifying his death at such a young age or making up for his being gone, but I have spoken
to my father since he left us when I was nine years old, throughout my teen years and into adulthood. The conversations, while not in this plane of consciousness, have been through slumber, but they have been had.
It’s interesting how I use the word ‘left’ as if leaving was an option for him. My father died of heart disease and I doubt that anyone would want to die in his late thirties and leave his family behind. Yet I still use the word left.
Left is an easier word to manage than death. Death is permanent and final. Left, a derivative of leave, means that there is room for return. And, while I do not believe that my father will return In lthis lifetime, he will forever have an entranceway into my life via my dreams.
And that doorway will remain open because I still remember his voice and my biggest fear is that I will forget. But sure enough, just when he’s been gone for too long, he invades a dream and we speak. In those few moments, I experience a joy that us indescribable, but genuinely palpable. I remind myself that I am dreaming and I know this is temporary, but the twinge of happiness left in me sustains me until the next time.
Today is my Dad’s birthday and even though he would have been in his seventies, in my mind he is still young and he is still here…
…even if it’s only in my dreams.