Parentless (2)

Following previous post (‘Parentless‘) about grief, and about the absence of grief where it might be expected, I had this dream about my late father.   I was on a walking trip with him in Andorra (I did go on a couple of such trips with him in my late teens, though not there.)  At some point we were sitting round a table with a number of other people.  There were two young women sitting near me.   They were there in some kind of professional capacity: they could have been publicists for a publishing company or something like that.  My father was on the opposite side of the table, looking fit and youthful, talking to the people he was sitting with.

‘Not bad for someone who was completely incapacited with dementia not long ago,’ I observed to the two young women.   And then a thought occurred to me.  It wasn’t just dementia he’d had.  I’d been at his funeral!

‘Oh I see,’ I said.  ‘This must be a dream.’

I was at that particular level of consciousness where you know you are dreaming but are still not entirely clear about the implications of that.  I hadn’t fully grasped that the fact I was dreaming meant that the table and the two young women were figments of my imagination.  The women shrugged, completely unimpressed, but in my dream I wept.

*  *  *

Oddly, now I’m thinking about it, I’m reminded of a dream I had a very long time ago -perhaps as far back as my teens- when he was still alive.  In my dream I was attending a funeral service for him being held at St Mary’s Church in Oxford.  The church was full.   The procession had passed down the aisle.  And then my father himself arrived, unnoticed by anyone, and slipped into the pew where I was sitting, as if he was just another member of the congregation who’d been held up.

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