We were at the beach in Panama City. But it was a beach without the normal, colorful, warm aspects of a spring day.
The ocean, the beach, and even the surrounding landscape were painted with different shades of grays lacking any warmth at all. The pandemic, and the death of The Boy, had already made this year almost unbearable.
As we stood at the edge of the water, crashing waves spraying our skin caused a deep cold to settle in, only adding to our already gloomy mood. With our every breath, the moisture-laden air weighed heavily upon us as we turned away, walking back up the beach.
We’d come to this place to clear our minds, but none of our problems were resolved. In the storm that has been our life lately, it’s difficult to see a path forward, much less see which path to take. Hard to keep a positive attitude when there’s not much positive going on. As we walked, the weight of our problems caused our footprints to deepen in the cold gray sand. That’s when he appeared.
My dad has always been there when The Wife and I needed him the most. No matter what had happened, he simply walked up and asked how he could help. He didn’t want anything in return except for us to be happy. Like most parents, he had his faults, but helping us out wasn’t one of them. When the storm of life came crashing down upon us, he was there to help pull us to safety.
In these troubled times, I’ve thought about him a lot lately. But it wasn’t me who dreamt of him last night, and the dream wasn’t all gloomy.
Dad walked up toward us from the edge of the ocean, each of his steps adding splashes of orange, blues, reds, and greens to the dream. When he finally reached us, any signs of the foreboding gray seascape had been washed away – dragged back into the ocean with the outgoing tide and replaced with a sea of vibrant colors and the sugar white beach Panama City is famous for.
Dad saw the worry on our faces and repeated something he had told us often in his life, “If everything you’re worried about today suddenly disappeared, then what would you have to worry about?” With that, he hugged us both, and a calming warmth flowed through us. Slowly, he faded away as the radio played Bob Marley.
“Last night I had a dream,” was the first thing The Wife said as she kissed me good morning. For some reason she was smiling, as she slowly got out of bed. “It was about your Dad.”
She told me of her dream, and when she finished, the troubles that had been weighing us down seemed much lighter, and by the end of the day, we had found a path forward.
Bob Marley had it right, and so did my dad. He’s been gone for two years now, but his advice is as prudent now as it ever was, “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]