My parents were married for more than 50 years and, as my father came to terms with his own mortality, he exacted a promise that I was only too willing to fulfill. “When I’m gone,” he would say on several occasions,” make sure you take care of your mother.” To me that was a no- brainer. Mom would always have a place with me, wherever I was.
I kept my word and a week after we buried Dad, Mom came to live with my daughters and I. Thoughts of dad were never far from mind and he soon became a part of my dreams. The most vivid dream occurred soon after his death. In my dream I found myself driving an odd-looking mini two-door coupe with my mother and daughters sitting almost on top of each other as they crammed into the vehicle. I had no idea of our destination. I only knew that I was looking for dad so I could bring him home. As we drove through the quiet streets I kept wondering why he had left us to fend for ourselves.
The car seemed to have a mind of its own as we weaved our way through the narrow streets of an unfamiliar town. Following my instinct, that only dreams can provide, I turned down a side street and the car was instantly swallowed up, as it were, by literally hundreds of individuals all dressed in white – white suits and dresses, white shoes, white hats and caps. They appeared not to notice our vehicle as they either talked quietly amongst themselves, walked unhurriedly across the street or congregated along the side walk. Each house we passed had its own cluster of people, spilling out the front door, standing on the lawn as well as clogging the driveway.
I crept slowly down the street as I peered in vain at each passerby hoping to find dad. I implored my nervous passengers to do the same. Then, instinctively I stopped in front of a non-descript house, quickly got out the vehicle and urged my family to do the same. My girls held on to me for dear life as mom followed closely on my heels. As we approached the driveway the sea of individuals parted and allowed us to approach the front door, which stood open. As we stepped inside an expansive living room, I saw that dozens of similarly clad men and women occupied every square inch, as far as my eyes could see. Strangely, no one spoke to us, stared at us or tried to stop us as we went from room to room. Then we entered the kitchen, which was extremely large and even more crowded than the other rooms. For the first time I heard a distinctive voice as if someone was giving a lecture. However the throng that stood before me was too thick for me to see who the speaker was.
Suddenly, as if on cue, the multitude parted to reveal the back of a small, wiry man. He turned and to my surprise and joy, I saw that it was dad. Unlike the others who occupied this strange community, and who were all similarly dressed in head-to-toe white, dad sported an expensively tailored black suit, with matching tie and a dazzlingly white shirt. In our excitement we rushed to him and I blurted out, “Dad we’ve come to take you home!”
With a serious countenance he raised his right hand to stop our forward momentum. I stopped in my tracks as fear gripped me. He seemed so serious. There was recognition but no joy in his eyes. Then he said in a grave and solemn tone, “there is nothing I can do for you. Go home and take care of your mother.” Our tears flowed as he turned away and was once again swallowed up by the crowd. Filled with shame and embarrassment I hurriedly gathered my family, retraced my steps and hurriedly drove away.
Later as I awoke from that dream, I tearfully marveled at its content and to the messages that only a dream can bring. Happy Father’s Day Dad!
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