From Loss To Life

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You ever had those dreams that felt so good that you just did not want to wake up? Well, I had one of them today. I woke up this morning at 4:34am a sniffly, runny-nosed mess. After getting a must-need win last night with my team, I got home late. So after unwinding, I was in bed around 1am. But here I am at 4:34am, fully awake, trying to figure out what just happened to me. Instead of doing a video blog and risking the possibility of sharing something likened to a scene from a soap opera, I’ve decided to write it out. Maybe I’ll find some solace as I delve into the process. Maybe you can help me. 

So as it goes, I was being chased by some sort of “presence”. I ended up in a warehouse basement, which was apparently abandoned given the grey paint that was virtually falling from its cold, concrete walls. Freeze frame. After reading those first couple of lines, you may have the impression that it was a nightmare. I assure you that it was not. I’ve grown accustomed to being chased or approached by this invisible presence from all the times I’ve gotten stuck in my sleep. But that’s another blog in itself. The warehouse basement also isn’t much of a scary thing, considering that my room at my mom’s house for many years was in the basement by choice. Plus, I grew up in Detroit where abandoned buildings and unsanctioned basement parties were welcomed and frequented by me and my friends. Okay. Unfreeze.

Back in the dream, I stared past a huge rusted cage to a wall that was totally covered by a painting. The only light available to the room shone solely on that painting. It was of a folding chair with a towel draped on top of it, and a pair of boxing gloves laid next to it. Suddenly, this sense of urgency to get home came over me so I bolted for the exit.

In a flash, I was in the kitchen of one the many houses I lived in during the mid-to-late 80s. It didn’t look anything like the actual house, but as I settled in I knew exactly where I was. It was the last suburban house that we lived in before we moving to Detroit. It was also the last house that I saw my father in before he passed away. Everyone in the house looked as they did during that time. Everyone except me. Some of my cousins were even there. It was weird. We all talked and carried on as if I wasn’t this 32 year old man who actually should’ve been somewhere between 6 and 8 years old.

One of my cousins looked at me and said, “I think your dad is calling you.” It shocked me for a second, but then I remembered seeing my step-father earlier so I knew she wasn’t talking about my real father. Then I heard his powerful voice, “Kelly!” My heart stopped. I hadn’t heard his voice in my dreams since the day after his funeral. He told me I had to look after the family since he wouldn’t be there. “Kelly!”, he said in his deep voice and Tennesseean accent. I took off towards his voice. I ended up back at the warehouse. There he stood with his 6’5 frame, khaki pants and short sleeve button-up. Looking at the painting on the wall, he said, “This is you.”

I never asked how, why, or what. I just clipped to his side as I did as a youngster. It seemed like days went by that we spent together. The one moment he wasn’t there, I panicked. I ran into another room that was also familiar to my youth and yelled, “Dad!” But my step-father answered from a connected room, “Yeah?” “No!” I thought. My heart started to sink until I looked over to see my dad slowly sitting his late-60 year old body down in a recliner. He had heard my step-father’s reply. He gave only a small chuckle and his patented subtle smile. If he had texted his response, it would’ve simply read: “SMH”.

At some degree, I knew it was a dream, but I didn’t want to believe it. Then he told me “I have to go now, Kelly.” He had pure peace in his eyes as he began to retract from the picture. I chased after him. Wait! Wait! I grabbed for his fast fading image. Wait! He smiled back at me as I fought to extend the moment. Then I began to feel myself wake up. I tried to relax myself in hopes to fall back into the dream, but it was useless. It was over. And all I had to show for it was a snotty nose and burning tears from ducts that hadn’t been open in quite some time.

I don’t know exactly why I had that moment with my dad. So vivid, so real, so painful to see him go again. Those who know me or have read my book know that he’s been gone  since I was 7 years old. But not once in the almost 25 years of his absence have I experienced something like this. And the only thing I can think of that makes sense is that he wants me to know that he’s still watching over me and that he’s with me. It’s done something that I can’t really explain, but I know it’s altered me for the better.

I know some might not have a clue what this means and others might feel everything I’ve said here. Whether it was 20 years ago or 2 years ago, losing someone near and dear can affect us in ways unexplainable. However, we have the choice to be pained by the loss or empowered their life. We can choose to celebrate the life they lived, as well as the fact that they live on in our hearts and minds.

I can try to go back to sleep after I finish writing this and hope to hear my dad calling for me again. And I can make the same attempt night after night. But to know that his impact is still alive and well within me brings a new sense of hope and determination to my journey. I’ll always love you, dad.

Thanks for reading!

Please comment below and let me know if you can relate.

-Kel