I miss my dog. I miss my dad.
This morning I woke up to a dream I was having of my father. I was a passenger in the camper he was driving. I was staring out of the front window, watching him drive and watching the road. It was in the evening. We had both decided, without really saying anything, that we just wanted to get a little bit farther before we stopped for the evening. My mind was trying to come up with details like where would we stay, what if we just stopped for a little while at a rest area to sleep and keep going, etc. but my being present wouldn’t allow it. I just kept pulling myself back to the inside of that camper. Watching my dad drive. He never looked back at me.
I expect people that haven’t been through the loss of a parent can’t really understand how it feels to have dreams like this. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to truly understand the depth of them had I not suffered this great loss.
When a dream like this occurs when someone this close to you dies, it stirs things. It doesn’t matter how zen you’ve become about it. Doesn’t matter how comfortable you are about the loss now or how you can finally talk about that person without getting tears in your eyes. It’s especially rough in the mornings because that’s one of the time’s I feel the most vulnerable and open.
I’m just saying it stirs things up. My family was a “camper family” as someone recently put it. We travelled all the time in our camper. After my father died and we were all going through old photos the photo that affected me the most was one my father took of our campsite when we were in Virginia. Everything looked so perfect and it was such a beautiful site. I knew he was proud of it. The only person in the photo was the one taking it, my dad. (I’ll scan it sometime once I can find it again in all of my scattered things)
My parents bought our first camper when I was around 12. Throughout the year we’d go on weekend trips to nearby state parks and during the summers we travelled to place like Niagara Falls (Canada side), Maine, Prince Edward Island (before they built the bridge and we had to drive our camper onto a ferry to get there), Arizona, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and everywhere in between.
(pic taken on the ferry)
I’d always be the one to help my dad set up the campsite. Come to think of it, where was my sister during those times? Huh. Anyhow, we’d work out the leveling of the camper. My mom and I have a very delicate inner equilibrium so it was always easy for us to tell if the camper was off. Once we’d finally figure that out I’d climb to the top of the camper and open the storage hatch to pull out what we needed. I’d help my dad put down the awning. We’d set up the chairs by the fire and pull the bicycles off the ladder behind the camper. After that we’d decide what we were going to do the rest of the day.
My father and I were the ones that went on most of the nature hikes. My mother and sister would usually stay near the camper. He’d always grab his 35mm and I’d grab my pink Kodak. Sometimes we’d ride our bikes and sometimes we’d walk. I remember always looking for bighorn sheep because that’s what he wanted to take pictures of more than anything. He finally did, p.s.
I’m rambling now.
My point in mentioning the camping stuff is well, my dream. In my dream my dad and I were riding off into the darkness together. A comfortable darkness. What’s it mean? Where was he taking me? Was he taking me somewhere? If so, where? Where were we headed? What was he trying to say?
I have to tell you that the idea of me driving away in a camper isn’t a new idea to me. I’ve actually thought about it a lot lately since I feel a bit like a vagabond lately. I’ve spoken about it to my roommate who calls me hippy and asks me why I am always want to run away. At a birthday party the other night we talked about it with a group of people. Someone decided it sounded like a gypsy thing to do and then we all came up with “gypsy” jobs and names for each other. Apparently the name Carmen already sounds like a good psychic name because that was mine. So we had a psychic, a male dancer that always carried a single stem rose in his mouth, a flamenco dancer, someone that makes beer (in a separate camper) and a mime. Because, in our 20th century minds, that’s what gypsies do.
All I’m saying is I wouldn’t mind driving off into the darkness with my dad sometime. I mean, I’d have to leave some things behind but I’d see them all again eventually. I hope Chewy can come.