I had a dream about my dad last night. He’d somehow come back from the dead (because, you know – dream logic), and was asking why I’ve been getting rid of his things.

He wasn’t angry. He was a little jokingly peeved about a few things, but mostly he was curious about what he’d missed over the last year. He wanted me to get his stuff back, and we set about going around the town to try and track down the things I’ve donated and recycled. I started talking about getting the house back in his name, but he didn’t seem too worried about it as a priority. We went for a drive in his truck, stopped for coffee at his favorite coffee shop and kept looking for Something that he wouldn’t tell me we were looking for.

It was such an amazingly light, beautiful and joyous moment, to have my dad back again… but it also wasn’t. It wasn’t my dad, and even in the dream while I was happy to see him and talk with him, I knew that this wasn’t really my dad. It looked like my dad, happy (well maybe that wasn’t so much like my dad) and healthy like he was right before his heart attack. It sounded like my dad, before the strokes slowed him down. But, like my dad towards the end, the spark wasn’t there. The little glint of perpetual mischief that was always not-so-hiding in his eyes was nowhere to be found. The carefully crafted grumptitude was gone. It was almost like talking with a robot that had all of his memories uploaded, but couldn’t process his personality. At the scariest moment, he was like a child, asking a lot of questions but not quite understanding all of the answers.

Dad’s truck.

Despite all of this, I wanted it to be my dad, so we carried on. He asked about his car I was in when I got smacked by a truck, seemingly forgetting it was totaled. I told him I’d put the classic cars and the vehicles we co-owned in his name, but he didn’t care about that. As I kept driving us around in the truck, I worried about handling the legal matters, changing bank accounts, getting him a phone again, telling family members that hey guess who’s back and just like I’d expected, he’d fooled us all and SURPRISE here’s my dad (and I swear to GOD if that really does happen, Dad, I love you but I am kicking your ass to the top of the Vegreville Pysanka) – but again, he didn’t want to engage with any of those thoughts. The weight of everything that now needed doing seemed even heavier than the responsibilities of this past year, despite the joy of hoping against hope that this was really my dad sitting beside me, in his truck, like we’d spent never enough time doing in the past. Whoever this was sitting beside me stared blankly out the windows, looking around, looking for something that I don’t know they found. We talked about some memories, and in those moments it was nice to hear my dad’s voice again.

I kept driving until the dream ended and I woke up. I felt completely exhausted in the dream, and even more so now. I don’t know what to think of all of this. Maybe it was just my brain sorting things out. Maybe Puppytron stepped on my head while I slept and knocked this weirdness into being. Or, maybe I was able to help someone along their path – I really don’t know. As I sit here with my coffee this morning, I feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if it was only in a dream.

I miss you, dad.