“After my dad died in March of 2016, I would beg him every single night before I fell asleep to come and visit me in my dreams. I knew this was the only way I could ‘see’ him from that day forward and I yearned desperately to see his face, hear his voice, be hugged by his warm embrace, and just be in his presence again. Every morning for 6 months I would wake up disappointed that he didn’t make the journey to see me. But I chalked it up to him just getting settled into Heaven and that eventually, maybe, our souls would collide in my dreams and I’d get what I desperately wanted.
Almost 6 months to the day after his passing, he finally delivered in a major way.
In this dream I was standing at the back of the church my father’s funeral was held in. I was wearing a white wedding dress and I held a beautiful bouquet of flowers, mostly blue ones which were my dad’s favorite color. I heard soft footprints around the corner, and then my father appeared.
He was full faced, full bellied, and was grinning from ear to ear. He looked exactly like he did when I was growing up. I studied his face, trying to take in every single wrinkle, mole, and dimple I could. He looked just like I always wanted to remember him looking. He was healthy. He was beaming with happiness and pride which I hadn’t seen in him for more than a year.
When he died just 6 months prior from pancreatic cancer, his 50-year-old body looked like an 80-year-old man with bones protruding out of his frail skin. He was so skinny and sick when he died that up until this moment, it’s how I was remembering him. I couldn’t get that image of him dying out of my thoughts. Whenever I thought about him, his very skinny body was the first that came to mind. I couldn’t pull any old memories out of my brain where he was healthy and happy. But in this moment, he looked nothing like that man I said goodbye to months before. He looked like my dad. He looked exactly like he did when I was 18 in high school, when he was coaching my lacrosse team. He looked like the man I was desperate to remember.
He came around the corner to greet me. He gave me a huge hug and said, ‘are you ready for this?’ I smiled and nodded my head while I whispered, ‘you have no idea.’
I grabbed tightly onto his arm and we walked down the aisle of the church. There were no other people in the church with us. It was as if this moment was made just for us two. As we walked, we talked about Heaven and how he was doing. He told me how his mom was there waiting for him when he crossed over, as she died 3 years prior. He joked around with me about my kids, using his great sense of humor to make me feel at ease. I felt so comfortable in his presence. I felt so much peace that I had been missing for months. I tried so hard to smell him in, to smell the aroma that surrounded the both of us.
Once we made it to the front of the church, he squeezed me hard and gave me a kiss on my cheek. He told me how proud he was of me and that my life would be a beautiful one. We exchanged many ‘I love you’s’ as well as smiles before the dream ended.
I woke up that morning and felt more peace in my life than I ever have before. I knew this experience was a dream even when I was walking down the aisle with him. I knew it wasn’t a ‘real-life’ experience, although the memory is so real for me.
This dream was so significant for me because he never got to walk me down the aisle. My husband and I chose to elope to Hawaii because we had family all over the U.S. We didn’t know where the most ‘fair’ place would be to hold a wedding, so we chose to do what was best for us and do our own little ceremony. So I never was able to experience my father walking me down the aisle, which is something most little girls dream of. This dream gave me a new memory of having that experience and it was something I never knew I needed.
The next dream of him came many months, if not a year, later. In this dream I was walking through Home Depot’s paint aisle. As I was walking towards the paint samples, there was my dad. His back was towards me and he was getting help from an associate. As I walked I just kept whispering, ‘show me your face. Just show me your face. Please Dad, I just want to see your face.’
He turned towards me to give me a smirk and then he was right back to talking with the associate. He looked exactly the same as the dream I had in the church with him, as his face was full and he looked healthy. This dream was much shorter and I woke up feeling really robbed of being able to be in his presence more. I felt like it wasn’t enough and that I needed more time with him.
It wasn’t until 6 weeks later that I understood the magnitude of that Home Depot dream. On a whim I decided that I wanted to make my kids a fun picnic table that we could have throughout the years that they could grow up with. I had never built or painted anything in my life, so I spent many days in Home Depot trying to get everything I needed. Then as I stood in the paint aisle, it dawned on me that this must have been his way of showing support for this project of mine. It brought about a lot of peace and comfort that he’s a lot closer than I give him credit for.
Grief dreams, or dreams about those loved ones you’ve lost, are part of a topic that I don’t think we talk about a lot. Maybe some of us see them as just dreams. But I see them as true visits that really do happen. I think it’s so comforting and beautiful that we can still see our loved ones, even if they happen for only a minute. The amount of love that exudes from these experiences can last for quite a while.
My father has only visited me twice. Two years ago before he passed I would have thought he’d visit much more than that. I don’t have an answer for why it’s been so little, but I do know those two dreams have meant the world to me. I’m thankful for both of them for how much comfort they have brought me. As much as I miss him, I feel like these dreams have given me a very comforting understanding that he really is safe and in a great place. I look forward to his visits in the future, but in the meantime I will still ask him to visit every night before I go to bed.”
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