My dad came to visit me last night. But it’s probably not what you think.
I live in Burbank, California — almost thirty years now. My dad lives 3000 miles away in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He’s been there for almost all of his eighty-eight years. He’s a great guy. Loving. Caring. Good sense of humor, and always leaves people with a smile. But he’s also the kind of dad that will seldom call, much less come for a visit.
So, I was quite surprised last night when he did.
It was a normal night. In bed by ten. Read for almost an hour. Then lights out, turned on my side with a pillow between my knees, and fell asleep — soundly.
Long after midnight and deep into REM sleep I felt someone sit on the edge of my bed, a hand resting on my shoulder. My heavy eyes squinted open to find my dad calmly sitting by my side.
“Dad? W-what’s going on?”
A tender smile crossed his face and he spoke softly. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m okay.”
I tried to force my consciousness back to the present as the fog of sleep clouded my thoughts. Is this real? Am I awake? Is he here? What’s he talking about?
Sensing my confusion he patted my shoulder and said, “Don’t worry. Everything’s fine.”
He looked at me with his loving eyes and assured me, “I love you. Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be alright.” He squeezed my shoulder, and then he was gone.
He didn’t fade away. He didn’t just pop out of existence. He was just no longer there. I drifted back to sleep, still feeling his comforting hand on my shoulder.
I woke with the sun peeking through the blinds, and Silver, my Silver Lab, licking my hand, telling me it’s time for her morning walk.
Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I crawled out of bed, got dressed, and took Silver out. While we were walking my dad started coming to the forefront of my mind, and I remembered him visiting me in the night.
Was it just a dream? A premonition? Was he really there? Was he reaching out to me? Is he okay? Was he saying goodbye? Did he pass away during the night?