The relationship I had with my father was a complex one, and I always had a feeling of dissatisfaction, as though I was being kept from truly getting to know him as a person, rather than just as an authority figure. When he died in 2004, he began visiting me in my dreams, and I began feeling as though I was getting to know him better after death than I had in life.
One night, I dreamt that I was sleeping in a friend's apartment when I was awakened by the distinctive sound of my dad playing jazz piano. "That's my dad!" I exclaimed as I jumped up and ran to see him. I knew he had died and that this was a rare opportunity.
Dad stood by the piano as I ran into the room, wearing his normal uniform of the white "wife beater" t-shirt, Bermuda shorts, executive knee-high socks and sandals.
"Dad! Dad! It's me! Lori!" I exclaimed.
I could see by the confused look in his nearly 80-year old eyes that he wasn't sure he knew me. Thinking that he had been away for a while in his ethereal abode, I patiently explained who I was -- his daughter -- and telling him about his life here on earth.
As I spoke, his eyes began showing recognition. He began to recall who he had been here, and who I was to him.
Then I noticed that he was getting younger and younger. We began to speak of many things. His eyes became vibrant and excited, and he spoke with passion.
Realizing the uniqueness of this opportunity, I said, "Ok, Dad, tell me how this works. I've been told that we reincarnate after we die. Some people believe in Heaven and Hell. What is the deal? What really happens? How does it really work?"
"You want to know how it really works?" he asked. "Ok, I will tell you."
The next thing I remember was gasping and saying, "You are KIDDING me!!! That's how it works???!!!" I was filled with amazement and a feeling of incredulousness, but had no recollection of what had just occurred.
At this point, Dad now looked as he did at around 15 or 16 years of age, yet he was still completely himself with all of his knowledge and personality. Then, to my surprise, he turned into a completely different 15 year old. Someone else, but still with my father's mind and personality intact.
"I have to go now, " he said with a wistful smile. "but thank you for being my daughter."
"Thank YOU for being my father!" I cried, adding, "I wish I had gotten to know you better."
"No," he said, "Everything was just as it was supposed to be." And with that, I woke up.