A woman sits up in bed, looking at the face of an older man appearing in the clouds of the night sky.

Dreaming of Daddy: What It Means

I had a dream about Daddy again a few nights back. He’s always happy when my brain manages to conjure him up. He’s always smiling. He always seems so care-free. It’s always me who is an absolute wreck. Those dreams always catch me off guard. This time was no different.

What happened in my dream

He was right here in front of me in his turquoise polo. It was unbuttoned and the collar was laid flat, as he tended to wear them. He looked like he looked when he was healthy. His silver hair was a little long. His beard was scruffy and in need of a trim. His face was full and beaming. I grabbed onto him and hugged him. I sat up in bed as I was reaching to get my arms tighter around him, and I woke up with tears pouring down my face and my arms outstretched. I fell back and hit the pillow in defeat, knowing I couldn’t quite get a hold of him before he vaporized.

I miss him. A lot. In my head, I know things are ok now. He’s no longer hurting. He isn’t fighting battles with his own brain anymore. No one has to watch him around the clock anymore. He’s at peace. He’s been gone a few years now. I can still see him in vivid detail in my dreams.

What does it all mean?

I don’t know that it’s always Daddy I’m reaching for and can’t quite grasp though. It is and it isn’t. It could be what he symbolizes. Sometimes I’m reaching for love or comfort or routine or normalcy. Even when my world was crumbling or the world at large was turned upside down, he was a constant here.

Taking care of him took care of me. It kept me steady and on course. It kept me in a routine that I couldn’t easily deviate from. I couldn’t slack. I was in “there’s work to be done” mode. Count the pills, fix the coffee, mix the oatmeal, wake him up... Now, my responsibilities are less tangible. My regular routine is non-existent during summer vacation. My job will likely look different when school starts back. We’re in a state of unrest throughout the country, and it doesn’t feel like certainty is something I can find much of at all.

Making sense of my dreams

It’s him I’m trying to materialize for the things I’m lacking right now. So, I guess the only thing that makes sense is to do those things I would do if he were here. Be constant. Be steady. Find routine. Establish new normals. Make plans. Find structure. Have purpose. Be consistent.

While I’m at it, I guess I could do some things he would do for himself, or at least try. Sing happy, goofy songs. Whistle. Wander around outside. Pet the dogs. Tell predictable Dad jokes. Laugh. Rock in a comfy chair. Watch bad reality TV. Tell tall tales. Have long telephone conversations about absolutely nothing. Be unapologetically happy. Eat the cake.

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