My dad passed away at age 92 on September 16, 2013.
On September 28, 2016, I wrote this in my dream journal:
The other night, I dreamt I ran into Dad. In the dream, I had just gotten out of class or something — I was exiting a building with a lot of people. I almost walked right past him, but glanced back to see him standing against the doorway, waiting for me.
“Dad! When did you get here?!” I asked.
He looked professorial in his gray suit and tie. His crewcut reminded me how he looked in his forties. I asked if he was hungry. He said yes.
The dream continued someplace else…maybe my place. I was making a BLT. He was no longer in my purview. I ate my sandwich and forgot, or neglected, to make something for him.
Then he reappeared. I felt terribly guilty for not making him some food and only thinking of myself. I asked if he was still hungry. His answer was unclear, and then the dream ended.
Earlier that day, I’d been thinking about Dad. I had thought about how his love and affection had dissipated around the time I reached puberty. His pulling away felt sudden. I was 13.
I’d always thought it had something to do with me, with my age, that he was uncomfortable with it. But this day–before the dream–I had realized that his emotional waning happened to coincide with his planning a divorce from my mom. It had nothing to do with my age or the changes I was experiencing. Separation and divorce were likely first and foremost on his mind.
As in the dream, I had only thought of myself and my needs. I hadn’t considered what was going on for him at the time.