Today is the third anniversary of my father’s death.
He didn’t appear in in my dreams that night, as I noted at the time.
But he did make one of his rare appearances early this morning. We were at the small restaurant supply business he founded in 1959 and ran for the next 38 years. He was wearing his usual business garb, a white, short-sleeve shirt, tucked in at the waist, a white undershirt, open collar, brown slacks, leather shoes. He ushered me into the store, and we picked our way through aisles of dusty merchandise and displays of a mishmash things, glasses and plates, tableware, table cloths, pots and pans, varieties of chef’s knives, and equipment, commercial ranges, soda dispensers, ice machines, mixers, and on and on. It felt very familiar.
Unfortunately,this dream then drifted off course. Even in my dream state, I knew he was dead. And once, when he turned to glance back at me, he looked it. Then he looked away and we kept moving towards an alcove along a far wall.
The dream degenerated from there and I had to wake myself up to end it.
I wrote a lot about my dad’s life as I sorted through his papers and photographs, learning details of his long life that I would then try and talk to him about when visiting the nursing home, but there’s a lot of his story that I couldn’t share, not while he and my mom were alive. Their lives were complicated, much more so than I have acknowledged here, and very much a reflection of their times and personal histories. Those weren’t all the best of times, I have come to know.
Of course, they’re both gone now. The writer in me says there’s much to be added to their story as I sort out in my own mind the message of their lives. But the son in me hesitates. It will take more time to sort it out.