Since my father’s death I’ve not been sleeping well.
I’ve been replaying his last moments over and over again in the half sleep I’ve been having for the last couple months. His pain and confusion burned forever into my memory, fueling my anger and sadness.
His last words: “You have to make the money.” Spoken to my brother and I after he asked a confused question.
My nightmares have been of those last moments, the actual details I don’t wish to relate here, but they play out in my head either in my dreams or like a eroded echo in the small hours of the night. I don’t try to decipher what he means but the words reverberate.
Yesterday yet another payout from yet another overlooked policy came in.
When his father died and it came time to clean out his 4 car garage, Dad and his siblings found well over 14 lawnmowers in various states of dismantlement. The garage sale was epic and while I was living in England at the time, I got to see tons of photos of all the things leaving the property. Grandfather was a trendsetting hoarder.
At what point would Grandfather say “Fuck it, I need another.” and gleefully bring another home? And what did Grandmother think of this? Or had she ignored his obsession with her own hoarding?
Dad was his father’s son, but not by hoarding mechanical things. It seems more like financial, which was what Grandfather drilled into his head at an early age. “You have to make the money.”
Now, don’t think I can retire and live in Mississauga or anything, no. But the last “find” (sent completely out of the blue from the insurance company from a policy we had not discovered in his piles of papers) was a kiss on the lips and a punch in the gut, simultaneously.
I dreamed this morning that my father and I were at the cottage and we were bringing in groceries out of his silver LTD. The summer sun was bright and I can vividly remember the green on blue of the trees against the sky in the dream. I knew it was a dream, but there was my father and I was excited to see him. I tried to ask him questions, ask him if he was ok but he kept a neutral face and refused to make eye contact. He would hand me paper bags (this dream firmly seated in the 70s – the cottage, the LTD and the Steinberg grocery bags were all temporal markers for me) and I would defer them to the pick nick table just outside the cottage door and running back to the car, eager to get him to respond to my questions. No answers. I was getting frustrated but I still knew it was a dream.
I changed tactics. I said thank you, putting a lot of weight behind it, obviously not meaning helping with the groceries. He turned and with no expression he held out another bag. But his face had changed to how I remembered him at the cottage: he looked young, in hi s late 40s, goofy porn star mustache, his father’s eyes. He hands me the last bag and looks right at me. We turn and head towards the cottage and I wake up.
I woke up happy. First time in a long time. Thanks Dad.