because i am not sleeping i have gotten into this habit in the deepest darkness of the night.. to call up a vision of my dad.. i mean to the very last detail.. i can see every line in his face.. i can see him from the side with his head bent in thought.. i can see him smile and the crinkles in the outer corner of his eyes.. i can smell the mix of dust and leather that clung to him all the time..i see his hands..the callouses and strength within them.. i hear his voice.. his laugh.. i am so terrified of forgetting him that i force myself to do this.. all the while feeling daggers in the pit of my stomach... because i can't hug a vision..when i finally do fall asleep i dream of him... lately my dreams involve goodbyes.. like he is visiting me in Michigan and before i take him to the airport i hang onto his neck and won't let go.. i tell him i love and will miss him and whatever will i do without him.. i tell him how important he is to me.. and i cry and he just holds on to me... i think in my dream i am saying all of the things i should have said to him.. he says it will all be okay.. in this recurring dream i fall asleep instead of taking him to the airport and when i wake up he is gone.. and there is that emptiness i feel when i'm actually awake.. this lost emptiness that comes when my mind remembers he is gone... my mom has shared with me that last week was a tough one for her.. she was feeling it all over again.. grief comes in waves.. we know.. but this was like living through it all over again..it's normal... doesn't make it hurt any less does it?
so because i find myself praying every night and day when i am at my lowest, i think about my dad and his prayers... and today i decided to share something with you all.. what i really want to do is talk to him.. call him and remember the story with him.. maybe talk about faith.. and have those beautiful long philosophical conversations that we used to... i wrote about my dad's faith and what we struggled with when my mom first gave her life to God in this post On God And Faith part 1 some of my favorite conversations with him were while my mom was at one of her bible studies..we talked about prayer and whether it was just collective good "vibes" being sent to someone in need.. and could that healing power be dismissed if we didn't call it prayer.. because sometimes that word scares people.. but somehow "vibes" doesn't...and then there is the dinosaur story that i wasn't going to share here.. but like i said.. this is my way of talking to my dad too..it is my favorite.. and encompasses so many sides of my papa..
one night when my mom was at bible study my dad called me, like he normally would.. sometimes to talk about the weather or just to say hello... at the time he (we) were kind of feeling a little left behind in my mom's new journey.. she wasn't home much.. and my dad was catching glimpses and snippets of conversation.. he attended a few bible studies but this night he said he could never be baptized...i don't hide my worry about religion, denominations and such.. so he knew how i felt.. but proceeded to tell me "they don't believe in dinosaurs!" what? haha "dad, how can they not believe in dinosaurs?" he went on to talk about the evolution controversy and the belief that the earth is not old enough to be dated back to when scientists date dinosaur fossils...and that he just couldn't deny hard proof for faith... NOTE: i have yet to ask anyone within my mom and dad's congregation if they believe in dinosaurs.. this was simply his deduction from things he'd heard..anyway.. we talked for an hour about this dinosaur issue admittedly giggling at the thought of denouncing their existence.. i mean.. seriously?
so, about a year and a half later my dad is baptized and i call to talk to him.. to set my own mind at ease i needed to know.. was he tying up lose ends here? was he scared? what brought him to this decision? (at this time he is sick and not doing well).. he says it was just something he felt he wanted/needed to do.. he had been attending church and bible studies for some time before this.. this was not an abrupt decision..then he cupped his hand over the phone and whispered.."but ana marie.. i still believe in dinosaurs!"... ha! i laughed and cried.. but mostly laughed.. cause that is my dad for ya!
God i miss that man... today and every day.. i wish more than anything he was here to help guide me in my struggle with faith.. and my search for a relationship with God.. i think he would understand me.. i know he would..