About a week ago I had one of those really powerful dreams. The kind that you wake up from feeling all the emotions like the events were real and even after you calm down it stays on your mind.
I was on a huge cruise ship, which was just like the movies since I have no real life experience to draw from, although I didn't get to look like Kate Winslet. We knew the ship was going to sink even though it seemed fine, the trouble was way down below but it was only a matter of time. We all had to move to the life boats and put on life jackets but we were going to be fine. There was no panic. Thankfully there was not a shortage of boats. I went into the room where I knew my dad was. He was not sick and thin as he had been the last months of his life, but healthy and he knew me. I told him we had to go get into the life boats and grabbed his hand to pull him with me, but he pulled back. He said he wasn't allowed to go and he had to stay on the ship. I tried a few times to convince him because, as our relationship had been for the last several years, I obviously knew better than him. He must be confused and he couldn't know what he was talking about. Now things were starting to get panicky, let's not forget we are on a sinking ship! After a while the ship's captain came to tell me to get to the life boats. Finally help had arrived! I asked him to please help with my dad, but he calmly told me that my dad was not allowed to leave the ship and I had to go to the life boat by myself. By this time the ship was leaning to the side and it was obvious that it was on it's way down. I was crying and hugging my daddy because I didn't want to leave him. He told me that he was going to be fine and not to worry about him, but I really did have to leave now. I knew I wasn't going to see him again. I asked him if he would try to remember me sometimes and he said he would try. Then I let go of him and it was over.
This dream is so obvious with symbolism that it blows my mind. There is no trying to figure out what any of it means. The sinking ship was dad's dementia slowly taking him away from me. Dad knew he was dying and wanted me to go on with my life. The Captain was God's confirmation that I didn't have a choice about what had to happen.
It was incredibly sad for me, but also weirdly comforting. In a way it was like giving us a chance to have the proper two-way goodbye that we didn't get.