(Dad with Mia---two weeks, to the day, before he passed away)
Life is a fragile, tender thing---
life coming into the world,
life going out of the world,
and trying to navigate the time in between.
Tonight, for whatever reason, as I was standing at the kitchen counter making dinner, I found myself thinking of a tender scene in the movie Stepmom.
The mother, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, is snuggling with her son on Christmas morning, having just given him a cape with so many memories sewn on it---pictures and experiences that they've shared together. This is all the more tender because you know it is their last Christmas before she'll be gone.
At one point, I think they start to talk about how they are going to miss each other.
And it gets really tugging when he asks something to the effect of, "But Mom, what will I do when you're not here and I need to talk to you?"
And, as you know from earlier in the movie, they share a little phrase with each other where they talk about meeting in their dreams.
And so, she responds by saying something like, "Well, we always have our dreams. We can always meet each other there."
He says, "But that isn't good enough."
They agree on this.
And then, if I remember right, she tells him (or maybe it's in the later tender discussion she has with her daughter) that she'll always be in his heart.
I stood there at the counter, making dinner, thinking about that phrase---"in my dreams."
After my father died, and for several months, I had some very personal, more-than-dream exchanges in my dreams with my dad.
I knew he was being allowed to communicate with me in very direct and meaningful ways.
I will treasure those experiences always.
Lately, he has been frequenting my dreams a lot---but in a normal, comforting way, not with any message to convey or something of a serious nature, but almost like how we interacted when he was here, in the flesh.
I awoke from a dream a few weeks back that made me feel warm inside because it was so familiar. In the dream, I had a zucchini and collard greens and I was so excited about hanging out with him to do something with them. I remember telling him, excitedly, that we should slice the zucchini up and fry it, and that we needed to come up with something to do with those collards.
(Insert: thumbs up emoji)
Why was it so warm?
Because that's precisely the kind of conversation he and I would have. We both loved food. We would look at beautiful pictures of food, we would exchange recipes, we would call each other when something was amazingly delicious. Sometimes we'd make a run to the other's house, just to taste what was going down in the kitchen. That exchange while I was sleeping could just as easily have happened yesterday.
And yeah, I wish I could have that conversation, for real.
But having it in my dreams is pretty great in the meantime.
A week or so ago, I woke up and remembered that I'd been talking to him about something that has made me really sad lately, a friendship of mine.
And that seemed natural, too, because if he were here, he would have heard all about it.
I was telling him the details and talking it through.
He didn't say anything; he was just listening, the way that he always did.
I ended up telling my kids about it at the dinner table, and couldn't help myself---I cried as I talked about these things.
Life is a precious thing, and tender.
As time goes on, I feel more and more aware of the strength of the footings I was given.
I feel more and more grateful for what I believe, for what I know, for what the Holy Ghost whispers in my heart (and for how I know that the things that really matter, all the precious things that are engraved there, never leave you).
(Dad with Claire, 12 days before he was gone)
I know this:
Love is real.
Relationships are lasting.
God gives us gifts, and lately I've been really grateful for the gifts that have come...in my dreams.
I love you, Dad.