Dreams Of My Father

I lost my father eight years ago to prostate cancer. Since then, I’ve tried to keep memories of him alive. I’ve run marathons in honour of him, written a book where his legacy is touched upon, even had his name tattooed on my forearm. But I’ve rarely dreamed of him. Which has always puzzled me, given the impact he had, and continues to have, on my life. Until last night that was.

Last night I dreamt of my father. I was on a train platform with an old man who had missed his train. I was with friends but told them to go on, and I would wait with the old man until the next train arrived. He had with him a bundle of old police files, decades old, detailing past investigations. I began to leaf through them, to pass the time, if nothing else.

You see, my father was a part time police officer when I was a young boy, growing up in the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles.’ Every night he went out to work, and we prayed he would come back to us the following morning. Many men and women didn’t. Thankfully, my father did. I grew up to become a civilian investigator involved in police oversight. I police the police, if that makes sense. So, I had an interest in these files.

As I flicked through them, I realised some of the documents referred to my father. I was excited and enthralled, keen to learn more about his police career, which I was too young to understand at the time. I looked up from the files and saw a group of men standing to my right. One of them had his back to me, but he looked familiar. As he turned slightly and I viewed him in profile, I realised it was my father.

Imagine my excitement. I summoned him over, eager to show him what I had discovered in the files, and quiz him about their contents. He sat beside me but, try as I might, I could not find the file. I rifled through the paperwork time and time again, but the section pertaining to him had vanished. My father sat patiently, not saying anything, as I grew increasingly frantic and impatient.

I was letting him down and concerned he would leave again before I had the opportunity to share with him what I had found. I had so many questions and this was my big chance, but it was slipping through my fingers. I woke up, saddened the dream had ended but glad my father had visited. It was before he fell sick, when he was a healthy, strong man. No job was too big, no task too cumbersome. He could turn his hand to anything.

Gardening, car engines, plumbing, electrical tasks. He could do it all. Whereas I can’t change a plug and don’t know one end of a carburettor from the other. He was a man’s man, whereas I’m the least practical person you could ever meet. His talents certainly didn’t rub off on me, yet in other ways we were so alike. As in my dream, there was so much I wanted to say to him before he died. But never did, for one reason or another.

One day your loved ones are there, the next they are gone. We take their presence for granted, say we will see them next week, promise to phone them, but then the business of life gets in the way. My advice? If you have to, need to say something important to a loved one today, then say it. Today. For tomorrow might be too late. Leaving you clinging to fading memories and fleeting dreams.

Do you dream of loved ones who have passed on?

Do you need to say something important to a loved one today?

51 thoughts on “Dreams Of My Father

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  1. I lost my father many years ago to a sudden heart attack. I was blessed to have talked to him at length two weeks prior and remember telling him how much I loved him and was grateful for the life he and my mother gave me. God gave me that gift so I’ve never had any regrets. Today is his birthday and he was a 25-year veteran of military service for the US Army (we’re also celebrating Veterans Day today). It’s remarkable to see your message on this day when he’s on my mind.

    I rarely dream of him or my mother who passed away a year ago (was buried on this day). Maybe it’s because I was able to let both of them know how much they meant to me before their deaths. The only time I dream of my mother is when she’s trying to tell me something. And she’s rather insistent about it, as she was when she was on this earth😍

    Thank you for sharing your experience with your own father.

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  2. I used to dream about my dog a lot. I would chase him but could never catch him. I was always so happy just to see him for a few seconds. In fact I’ve rarely felt such euphoria.
    Dreams are rad.
    Great read as always dude.

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  3. Beautiful post Stephen. Your fatber sounds to have been a wonderful man. Yes, I dream of my father. He died of a stroke in 2001. Too young. Thankyou for writing thus Srephen

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  4. Some years after my mother-in-law died, and shortly after my mother had passed, I dreamed I was with both of them in a very large gymnasium, so big you couldn’t see the ceiling. We were making flowers, like high school girls making paper flowers for a homecoming float. Only these weren’t paper flowers, they were real ones – mountains and mountains of them. We sat and worked and talked and laughed and told stories and had the best time for what seemed like hours. Then somehow I realized it was time for me to go. I hugged them both long and hard and said, “This has been SO wonderful spending time with you again… I thought you were dead, but you aren’t are you?”
    They looked at each other and burst into giggles, as though I had just said the funniest thing ever. Laughing until the tears rolled down their cheeks, they said, “Oh, honey, of course we’re not dead!”
    (I believe them.)

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  5. Stephen, thank you for sharing your relationship with your father. As an author, I recently published One Month to LIVE ~ A Fathers Last Words, the first book I wrote twenty-two years ago. He was diagnosed with cancer with a prognosis of no more than a month. At his bedside for three weeks, I expereinced the Lord’s peace and assurance of His grace. It was a time in which He taught me how to live in the shadow of His wings, to love as I never knew how before. We are blessed to have fathers who have given us treasured legacies. Blessings in a blessed faith that is ours through our Lord.

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  6. The heart attack came swiftly and she was gone before the emergence people could save her. I did not cry at her funeral. I knew she was out of pain at peace at last in the arms of angels walking beside Jesus. Two weeks after her funeral I had a dream. The room was poorly lit, and smelled musty like old unwashed rugs. She was in her favorite wooded rocking chair of dark walnut finish. She hummed a lullaby while rocking the chair back and forth while padding my back trying to put me to sleep. I was a toddler in her arms, back at the first farm of my childhood. I cried in the dream and in my sleep. The comfort found there released what I had been unable to since her death. I knew her love again, there was no need of words. The connection was never any clearer than that night in that dream between her and I.
    It is wonderful to have those after death connections. I am happy you saw your dad, even if you did not speak to him. Maybe he will visit again.

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  7. My dad passed away when I was too young to know him. I dream of him and on some level hope this is his way of staying with me.

    Love the post!

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  8. I lost my father (stepfather who was more than my biological father to me) to prostate cancer as well. He was just as you described yours. He was strong and capable of anything, until he wasn’t, then he was gone. Being a nurse, and knowing his prognosis (because it had already spread to the bones when he was diagnosed), I grieved his death for 8 months before he died. I feel extreme guilt about it, because I asked God why he’d allow my biological father to get away with all the things he had, and chose to take this precious man instead.
    Another token in the jar to have something to feel guilty about now that my father died a horrible, suffering before he succumbed to death..

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  9. My mom died 8 years ago. I always dream of her. My dad died in 1989 when I was 11. I found some records of him at the historical society when I was in my 20s. It was helpful in knowing who he was because I was so young when he died. Unlike your dad, my dad had a prison record, but I learned why he struggled so much. Instead of being a big bad guy, I realized he was a human one.

    Life is short. It goes by so quickly and before you know it, it’s over. I hope when I leave this earth, I left it better than when I came in. I think I’ve completed that. I’ll keep aiming to make it better.

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  10. I love it when I dream of my father – he died of cancer over 20 years ago – The dreams are never profound, I can rarely remember details, but I am happy to have seen my father’s face once more. It’s always a Good Thing.

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  11. Very sweet post. I very rarely dream of my mother who passed three years ago. I saw her in my dreams Twice since then. But in my waking life, I see signs that she is around. It’s always great to remember our passed loved ones.

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  12. Dreams where loved ones from beyond show up always both freak me out and comfort me at the same time. And there is ALWAYS that exact feeling of trying to tell/ask them something and not being able to fully do that.

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  13. My father passed on February 16, 2007. I dreamed of dreaming about him, wanting so much to visit. It’s happened only once since he left for heaven, as I’m sure that is where he went. It was a good visit. Thanks for reminding me.

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  14. I lost my parents long before the died. I came back from war, worn down not only by the war, but the years of police work. And I suddenly began to realize I’d returned to a place just familer enough to be called home, and just alien enough to be another planet. Someplace, somewhere, we’d grown in totally opposite directions. I’d be sitting in the same room with them, yet we might as well have been on opposite ends of the Universe. i’d become something they couldn’t understand, and I couldn’t understand why they’d never bothered to try to take a stand on anything I’d fought so hard against. They died strangers to me.

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  15. Thank you for this poignant post. I do have something to say to loved ones today. With tears in my eyes. We lost a dear cousin, Nabil to cancer yesterday. I already miss his sweet soul and piercing deep blue eyes.

    We also lost my sister last year to deep vein thrombosis. It’s a shame to think ahe could have been saved. She was only 56. I miss her deeply, especially with the holidays upon us.

    Loss makes one know and understand worship of who each of is are every day is the only way to live with each other.

    Blessings to you and yours!❤️

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  16. Nice post. Made me think of my Mother. We weren’t close, but I always longed for closeness with her. Since she’s passed, I feel like I’ve learned so much – oh, if I could have learned it before she was gone. I’m in a public place as I write this – holding back tears to avoid odd stares. Thanks for you post- tears are not always a bad thing. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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