The other night I had a very sweet dream. I dreamed that I was asleep, and that my Dad was hugging me. I could feel his arm around my shoulder, and hear him breathing in my ear.
My Dad has been gone from us for 11 years, but I still feel him beside me. I can still see his smile, and his uplifted eyebrows and his loving gaze.
I miss him every single day.
So my dream was sweet, and touching, and it gave me enormous comfort.
That arm around me. The gentle breath in my ear. The feeling of being loved.
As I slowly came awake in the light of an early winter dawn, I realized that my feelings of Dad were only a dream. He was no longer here with us. He was gone.
There was definitely an arm around my shoulder, and it wasn’t my husband’s. There was a gentle breathing in my ear, but I could hear Paul snoring and I knew it wasn’t him.
I rolled over.
And found myself face to face with Bentley, our beautiful basset hound-labrador mix.
His front leg was, in fact, over my shoulder. His soft breathing was right at the level of my ear.
And I started to laugh. I laughed so hard, in fact, that I woke up my husband and had to explain what was making me so silly at 6AM.
You see, as I started to think about it, I could totally understand why I had confused my doggie with my Dad.
Both of them were given the special gift of being able to recognize people’s moods as soon as they were felt. Dad would ask me how I was doing when I was a mess of a teenager, seeming to know when I needed to talk even before I did. In the very same way, Bentley has the gift of showing up for a snuggle as soon as my spirits begin to sink.
Dad always gave unquestioning support just when a person would need it. Sometimes he’d just quietly sit beside me; Ben does the very same thing. He knows when my grandkids are sad, or upset, or not feeling at their best. He climbs up, sits beside them, and just gets ready to listen.