The other night as I was telling my mom about one of my strange dreams, she said to me “I didn’t want to tell you this when you were in New York because I didn’t want to upset you or make you sad, but I think I can tell you now.” She went on to tell me that she saw my real father in her dream on the night of my wedding. For most people, this would be no big deal, but for my mom and I, it’s complicated.
You see, I didn’t know my real father except from hazy images of a statuesque, dark, burly and hairy man that would intermittently pop into my mind throughout my life. These images stemmed from one meeting with him as a child; a day when I said hello to him for the first time and goodbye to him for the last. He walked into my life to buy me some toys and then poof, just like that, he vanished. On that day, I didn’t know he was my father. He was just some scary looking man who looked different, and all I wanted to do was get away from him.
He’s also a man who’s caused a lot of pain. He’s a man who passed away suddenly, too young. He’s a man who died just a few years before I was to finally be reunited with him. So my mom having a dream about this man for the first time in her life on my wedding night, a man that I both hated and longed for was unusual and momentous. In her dream his face looked “bright,” he looked handsome, calm, and peaceful – opposite from her actual final images of him. In her dream, he was sitting down, dressed up in a spiffy navy blue suit. Hearing this story made me overcome with emotion. I shared a good cry with Grant after I got off the phone with her.
It sounds weird to cry over someone you don’t really know but deep inside me there is obviously some connecting force with this man I never knew. I don’t know whether I believe in spirits or not since the skeptical part of me is always present, but for some reason this time, I felt like maybe there’s the possibility that he wanted to convey the message to me through my mom that he was there with me on my wedding day. My mom’s experiences with him and subsequent memories of him were terrible, so it would seem odd for her to have such a positive dream about him. But she did. On my wedding night.
And after she told me about her dream, and I let it soak in, something weird happened. I saw an image in my head of a handsome young man with slicked back dark hair and broad shoulders dressed up in my favorite color for the special occasion, not as the monster that created such suffering and emptiness, but as a man who maybe made mistakes in his life, a man who maybe thought of his abandoned daughter from time to time, and a man who made the trip to New York to see his daughter get married and say “I remember you, I saw you, I was happy.” Well, at least that’s what I’d like to believe. My mom’s dream allowed both of us to let go a bit and feel at peace. One day I will take the journey to seek out the truth and answer some questions, but that night, I said to myself, I said to him “Dad, I forgive you everything now. Rest in peace.” It was a great wedding gift.