Letters to Myself: I can’t Google Map where my Dad went

​About 5 months after my dad died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest, I have my first dream with him in it. In the evening before I sleep, we sit at the kitchen table with my mom and husband, as we do most weekends now, and talk about life and the world. We try not to sit and wallow in our sadness too much by talking of other things, but sometimes we speak of the reality of life after dad. Mom says that even though she’s going to church regularly now — for the first time in our entire 25 years in Canada — she doesn’t know if she even believes in heaven, because she doesn’t feel like she knows ‘where’ dad is. She doesn’t have faith in a concept she’s been told since she was a child, since she can’t really make sense of where he is if he’s not here, with us. I try to console her tears, and say that I’m okay not knowing where he is, I don’t feel the need to believe in a place where our souls go, because for me, that person will always exist in my heart and in my mind, as long as we have memories of them.

I am on a 4-way phone call with my brother, mom, dad, and myself.

The experience of being on the phone is usually a singular one, you can only perceive the world around you on your end of the call, but the visualization in this dream is as if there is a dark void all around me and each person on the phone has a bright little vignetted circle of their face, a phone pressed to the side of their head. We are just floating in the emptiness, facing each other in a circle, the 4 of us together in one space. My sister is oddly absent, making it feel less like an important family conference, and more like a spur of the moment congregation, like we all scrambled to get on the call once we knew we had dad on the line, my sister seemingly unavailable at the time.

There is this very present feeling that dad is gone somewhere, but we don’t know where, and all we can do is talk on the phone.

It feels like what I imagine making a call to someone in prison is like, when you know they cannot come to you and there is nothing you can do to change the situation, but this feels more inexplicable, like I don’t know what the insurmountable obstacle that keeps us apart is, I only know it exists.

So I just stare at a white screen, with the vague semblance of a browser or search features —Google without the results — with no way to find out where my dad is.

Now, a few weeks later, the whole dream feels like a weird metaphor for his passing .

Like a fable you tell a child, his passing as I experienced it through this dream could be summed up into a few abstract ideas — he is somewhere I don’t know and cannot look up to go visit, just a white space that I cannot comprehend, and he knows he can’t come back to us, but its possible for me to go to him, somehow, someday. Perhaps it’s my Christian upbringing that has tinged my non-belief of an afterlife to sound suspiciously like what heaven is said to be. My mom is often one to try and read into dreams and ascertain their meaning, as if every bizarre neural soup our brain concocts while we sleep is some kind of omen or sign. Just today she told me she had a vivid dream with dad in it too, for the first time since he died —I wonder if hers was as bizarrely metaphorical as mine; I’m sure she will find a way to perceive it as such because we all are trying to find meaning in something so meaningless as the absence of life.

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