I wrote this years ago. Writing has always been cathartic for me. Lately, I feel it’s okay for me to share some of my sorrow. I know I’m not the only person who has dealt with the loss of a loved one. So, here is a little story I wrote based on a dream I had about my dad. I miss him terribly.

Me and my dad at Rialto Beach, WA 1997.

I felt restless. The moon was full, which had become a predictable warning that I would struggle to find tranquility through sleep. While I was anxious with the horror of being awake forever, darkness soon engulfed my wandering mind.

The cold of winter was like death, hanging on the outer reaches of the night. The bitterness of winter took away what was left of my awareness, numbing every part of me that somehow still resembled life. Just at the blackest moment, right before the sun begins its ascent, I walked through the pristine snow. Although I felt alone, a companion walked with me, making me forget about the deep sorrow I felt in my waking hours.

“Where have you been?” I asked out loud.

You said nothing, only smiled. Reassured by your presence, we continued to walk.

As we walked, I told you the reasons I longed for escape. Why I desired to run away from my trivial daily existence and escape to this world where I was safe. How the monotony of life was not worth my waking anguish. I felt trapped within myself, ensnared by my fears.

“What is it you truly fear?” you asked sincerely.

I knew the answer. My all consuming fear was the certainty of death. As I thought about mortality, a terrible panic rose inside me. Dread brought on doubt.

Instead of admitting I was afraid to die I asked, “Will I ever obtain satisfaction through marriage and children, or achieve success through a fulfilling career?”

“If this is what you desire, it will be,” you replied confidently.

“What causes me the most pain is the knowledge that in the end, none of it matters. Nothing is special… nothing lasts forever,” I said dejectedly.

You had taught me that everything had a purpose, eternity was a possibility, and that time is a concept of man. Life was a lesson and when we finally, truly understand, we will be able to move on to something greater than this.

It’s not easy to admit that sadly, without you, I have lost the enthusiasm to believe in these ideas.

Many times I have come here seeking guidance, only to be abandoned… standing in the cold, alone and desperate. I was not going to find it on this night.

I was wrong in my assumption that I wouldn’t find what I was looking for. Just at the moment all hope had been lost, a brilliant red appeared in my sight. It beckoned me and I drifted calmly towards the enthralling color. It spoke to my emotions, filling my soul with tempestuous energy. Every emotion was intense as waves of passion, anger, courage, and aggression crashed through me. Overwhelmed by such deep feelings, I had a difficult time remembering why I was here.

Regaining focus, I noticed my unexpected fascination was actually a small red velvet bag, tied closed with a gold ribbon. Although there was something vaguely familiar about this object, I had no knowledge about what was in it. Awareness consumed me, and I knew that it was a treasure that had been lost to me for some time. I got closer to the bag and thought twice about picking it up. What harm could it do, when I knew it was mine? I gathered it close to me. Holding the bag delicately, I opened it and reached inside.

A small horned dragon rested in my palm.

“What does this mean?” I heard myself say.

I studied the wooden figure that had been crafted with precision. As I held the dragon, a pleasing melody surrounded me bringing with it warmth. The dragon was painted yellow with emeralds shining for her eyes.

My mind began trying to piece it all together. I stood alone in the bitter cold, with fresh white snow drifting through emptiness of night, holding a… symbol of my soul? I had a glimpse of understanding at that moment.

I am my own adversary.

At times I had been violent and reckless, with a temper that was far too often quickly ignited.  My emotions frequently overwhelmed logic, leaving me in the possession of great passion and infinite ambition.

The constant need to achieve perfection makes me my worst enemy.

As self loathing invaded everything I am, I looked up and found that you were still beside me, smiling. I was okay for now, but anticipation of the unknown was making my heart beat fast. I felt that it was loud enough for the entire waking world to hear. My breath came in shallow gasps and was visible in the cold. You held out you hand for me to grab hold of. No sooner had I placed my hand in yours, I was whisked away to a beach in the sun. Everything seemed bright and yellow filling all my senses. We walked a while and I asked, “Can I stay here with you?”

The answer was most painful. An unfamiliar voice echoed in my mind, “You cannot continue to exist in parallel worlds. You have to go.”

I do not enjoy recalling the moment I was torn away from you. A bullet entered my head, and I choked on the blood escaping my body. Red filled my vision as my eyelids fluttered. I struggled to stay alert. Failing at my attempt to maintain consciousness, blackness drifted through me. I woke startled from all that had happened. Painfully I returned to my world, tears streaming down my face. I knew at that moment that I would never be able to return to your world again.

Reality sunk in as dawn approached. I wasn’t with you. Many times we have come together in my dreams. This time though, when I woke, emptiness suffocated me. I knew it was the last time we would ever meet. I understood clearly for the first time that a mortal cannot follow one who has left this realm, even in dreams.

Alone, I am without you for the rest of my life. My loss of you is such a tragedy. My deepest regret from that dark night in the snow is that we never got to say good-bye.