Patterico's Pontifications


My Dad Returns

Filed under: Real Life — Patterico @ 10:55 am

My dad, who died in December, has been returning to us in our dreams.

Yesterday morning my daughter said she had had a dream about Granddaddy. She wasn’t sure if I’d be happy to hear about it, or sad. (I was happy.)

I asked her what happened in the dream. She said that he was carrying something very heavy. G-ma (my mom) was there too. I asked if he had said anything to her. She said no, but he had looked at her and smiled.

Last night I was called suddenly away from work. Soon I was sitting around the dining room table at home in Fort Worth. My sisters were there, and so were Mom and Dad.

We were just talking. Dad was in his pajamas and looked old and a little tired, but he was talking with us.

For a few seconds it all seemed normal, but then I had a mental image of him lying in his casket, eyes closed, his wrinkled and cold hands folded calmly in front of him. I realized that my mental image was a memory. He was already dead. Except, he wasn’t. He was right there in the room, talking with us.

“Wait a minute,” I said. “Am I dreaming?”

I knew I wasn’t, of course. There were a million tiny details about the scene that told me I was fully awake. I asked the question, not as a real question, but rhetorically — with the wonderment of someone who is experiencing a miracle.

“Don’t worry about it,” Mom said. “We’ll explain it later. Just give your Dad a hug.”

So I did.

It was a long hug. He was so warm! not cold and stiff like he had been in the casket. I squeezed hard, and Dad squeezed back.

And then I woke up.

22 Responses to “My Dad Returns”

  1. My Mother died several years ago. She still visits from time to time, most often in dreams, but also whenever it suits her. My brother and sisters report she visits them too.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  2. Both dreams include your Mom. Could this have anything to do with your concerns for your Mom?

    DRJ (15ed57)

  3. When my brother was 5 years old he rode his skateboard off the edge of our unfenced veranda onto the unpaved yard — about 20 feet down. He got some minor scratches on his face. Nothing more. He told my mother he had seen our recently deceased grandmother in his sleep the night before. My mother said that our grandmother looked out for him and that was the reason he was not hurt.

    nk (5a2f98)

  4. My father died in early January. I haven’t seen him in dreams, but I’ve read the transcripts of some conferences he participated in 30 years ago, and I can hear him speaking.

    Attila (Pillage Idiot) (88e3e3)

  5. My mother died 10 years ago Feb. 26. Soon afterward, I had several dreams about her. I still have them once in a while, but not nearly as often. Just like yours, they are very, very vivid and everything is exactly as it would be. Near the end of each dream, I suddenly look at her and think, “This can’t be real. You’re dead.” She will just smile and that’s when I wake up.

    My sister and I have talked about this phenomenon a lot. I’ve decided that my mother really does come to visit us when we need her the most. Maybe that’s what angels actually do.

    sharon (fecb65)

  6. Your dad wanted to give you a hug, because you gave him what every father wants. His Voice.
    You have caught yourself saying things just like your Dad or you could almost hear him saying ‘what he’d say’ in that situation. That’s his voice. So ingrained are his values and morals that his voice follows you, and you children. Dad was happy that it all works so well and is proud of you. So he gave you a hug. Thats all. Ain’t love grand?

    paul (464e99)

  7. I missed your post in December. So sorry.

    Jal (9f37aa)

  8. Interesting dream. My father died several years ago..WW2 Vet with a Purple heart thanks to a gunner over Germany during a raid on a submarine base..My mother was a true neurotic and picked at him from the day they got married until the day he died. He always tried to get along with her inspite of her nagging but died a very unhappy man. One night I was sitting in a chair half dreaming and he came to me seemingly in a hurry asking if I could forgive my mother for the misery she inflicted on our family. I remembered a promise I made a a small child never to forgive her and so I said “No” Next day my sister called and told me our mother had died.

    Months later I had another dream. This one my mother came to me her face all covered in sores. She asked for forgiveness and remembering the teachings of Jesus, I agreed to forgive her. Instantly her face was changed to one of clear skin and happy smiles.

    You tell me..was this real????

    Charlie (8ea405)

  9. My dad has been gone many years. I dream of him about once a week. Sometimes I see the piper in his kilt playing Amazing Grace at the church (dont let Nancy P know my family goes to church), those are depressing. Other times I am somewhere and he just happens to be there, not always our old home, those are very good. I miss him very much after lo these many years.
    I was so lucky to have a father. A good father. There is no question in my mind that one of the big problems in America the last 45 years is the growth of babies without fathers.

    Jo macDougal (c24ffd)

  10. My dad has been gone many years. I did not dream about him much the first few years but lately I dream about him maybe 3 times a month. Almost all good, happy dreams. Only Once to I recall seeing the piper or hearing Amazing Grace. I think my war experience has hardened my subconscious so the bad things stay out of my dreams. Thank God for that.
    I also think of myself has being lucky to have has a good father. Despite what Hillary says I think fathers are very important. I know my father was very important to my family and to me.

    Rod Stanton (c24ffd)

  11. The dreams are important for the surviving relatives. My dad died in 98 and I still see him in dreams on occasion. He is young and healthy again and driving or walking in a meadow. He loved long drives and hiking. In one of those dreams, I asked him if he was still dead. He rolled his eyes and laughed at me and answered “of course!” I also asked him if he saw his parents who were victims of the Naziis in WW2. He told me he had but he had less in common with them now so he was hanging out with his buddy Mike who had died years earlier from cancer. This surprised me since I hadn’t thought about Mike for years. I know he is happy where he is and hope to see him again someday.

    Roberta (6bd598)

  12. this must be a common phenom…my dad died in 1979 a week before my 8th grade graduation and just before i entered high school, when a young guy really needs his dad to help him avoid becoming a smacktard. my mom took on that role and i am grateful to say she did a good job.

    my pop was 60% father and 40% dad, depending on the situation. when it was time to do chores or stay out of trouble with the neighborhood wankers, he was a father, he bugged the shit out of me. But when it came time for little league or summer vacations in the RV, or going flying with him or sailing or making model rockets or screwing around in the pool and bbq’ing, he was all Dad, and a total renaissance man whose true value i didnt fully appreciate until i became a young adult and started to have my dreams about him.

    he appeared in my dreams exactly as i saw him the morning he died. i was the last member of my family to see him. he would walk up the driveway of our house, and we would briefly hug each other and start talking about everyday things like what the neighborhood looked like and who lived where. sometimes i would ask him for advice about things going on in my life at the time, and he would make some non specific but supportive comment about working through it and that would be it

    after a while we would hug again and i would tell him matter-of-factly that “i really loved you you know.” and he would always say that he knew that and that he loved me too.

    and then the dream ends.

    i have this dream now and again, about once a year. and it is always a pleasant dream that i hate waking up from, coz my dad and i talk about things that a father and his adult son might talk about, something i never got to do. and reading all the comments by folks about their own dreams about their dad (or mom too i suppose) is quite interesting and not a bit heartwarming.

    cali white bear (b8e140)

  13. Sorry to hear about your Dad Patterico. Condolences to the family.

    Specter (466680)

  14. My outdated psychology knowledge notwithstanding, here is how I would interpret your dream. And I don’t normally interpret dreams because, as far as I could determine in college, dream interpretation fell into “arm-chair” psychology or parapsychology rather than regular, more scientific psychology.

    I think it is noteworthy that you woke up right after getting a hug back from your father. Maybe it only means that your subconscious wanted to feel that sensation again, at least one more time. (Please don’t read too much into my thoughts about this anyone, I am certainly not trying to say that Pat’s subconscious was trying to tell him that he should have hugged him more or anything along those lines at all. I believe that dreams like Pat’s would be common after a major loss. )

    I also happen to suspect that there is another important facet of dreams: what were your emotions immediately after having the dream? Were they positive or negative? Happy or sad, etc.

    In general however, our subconscious is also one of our more primitive brain functions; so reading too much into what a dream “really means” is not warranted. (One exception to that might be recurrent dreams.) But they sure can powerfully affect your emotions, can’t they?

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  15. He came to check out the new place … and apparently liked it. You and your daughter now know who your guardian angel is.

    MOG (36fd70)

  16. Just wait till you get the “Welcome Back” promo from Newsweek addressed to your mother who has been dead for more than two years. Then it gets followed up by a promo stating “There know where you are!” If they knew where she was, these twits wouldn’t be sending her mail.

    Neo (cba5df)

  17. My mother still gets alumni stuff. Very weird.

    sharon (fecb65)

  18. Wow. What a fascinating thread, the sort of gem that makes blog reading so worthwhile.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  19. Hope this thread goes on forever. Thanks all.

    Old Coot (2f7b84)

  20. the next time your dad “returns”, get him to tell you what it’s like over there and post his account.

    assistant devil's advocate (79c2ea)

  21. my dreams were quite vivid, so unlike the common dreams. This dream occurred in the past and I hugged my mom and warned her that she would get breast cancer and die, thinking this warning could avoid what was to come. she just replied “I know…that was the best thing that ever happened to me!”
    the lesson? fear not death, it will be the best thing to happen to you!

    Dreamer too (dc68ae)

  22. My dad’s got Parkinsons and is only 63. I’m 33 and my dad’s elected me the “power of attorney” and when that was first introduced to me, it was the first I’ve ever heard of it.

    I googled “there with my father when he died” because Dad’s coming home Wednesday after being both in a hospital for about a month and then in a rehab heath care facility for another month. He’s been gone a total of 2 months, in other words, and now he’s coming back home, which I have mixed emotions about. First, I’m happy, but then I’ve got this sick nervous feeling inside my stomach, fearful of whether or not I will be able to care for my father properly.

    Reading this and the comments that followed brought tears to my eyes. I fear that day I will lose my awesome father. He’s the best and I’m another lucky one that has the “World’s Greatest Dad”. He really is. What fuels me is that I’m basically getting more days with my dad while he’s alive, hopefully a few more years. I get married in May of 2007 and am optimistic that my father will be there.

    Thanks so much for sharing.
    Bea Youngs

    Bea Youngs (f2d8a4)

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