Dear Dad | Photos and a Dream

by Elouise


Castle Fraser — Front drive leading to formal entrance under the arch.

Dear Dad,

The 102nd anniversary of your birth came and went last week. For the first time since you died in 2010, it didn’t trigger a downward spiral in me. In fact, I didn’t think about it until a couple of days later.

I did, however, see you in a dream last week. Here it is:

I’m walking around inside a construction area. I think it’s going to be someone’s home. It’s still in the early stages, though the floor and beams are already in place.

I’m looking it over because I’m helping design and build it. It isn’t huge or tiny. It’s a “Mama Bear” in-between size. Whose house will this be? I don’t know.

I walk from one area into the next and there’s Dad. He looks healthy. He’s neatly dressed in working clothes–a clean, earth-tone uniform with the waist tucked in–and wearing a hat. I’m surprised by how young he looks. Maybe in his late 40s. He has a tape measure in one hand and is standing there looking at what will be the end of a wall next to an open entrance to the next room. He seems to be measuring and studying it so he’ll know what to do next.

I’m standing off to his left side, slightly behind his line of vision. I realize his body proportions are correct, yet his height and overall size make him shorter and smaller than I am. I wonder what he thinks about this, and about my being part of the design team. I decide not to interrupt him. Instead I just stand there looking at him, wondering how this could have happened.

When I wake up, my first thought is that I’ve never had a dream in which I was larger than you, or in which you were working like this–as a builder.

I remember how hard you worked to rebuild the house you and Mom lived in for many of your last years. You were determined to get things right so everything would pass inspection.

Everything didn’t always go as planned. One morning, when you went over to work on the house, you discovered your first ceiling was lying all over the floor! You just cleaned up the mess and started over.

The dream suggests the relationship between us is changing, and that I’m at peace about our relationship. In your 80s and 90s you told me several times about a recurring dream, often with tears. In the dream you and your father get angry with each other and you wrestle him to the ground. When you wake up you feel guilty because in your dream you don’t seem to respect or honor him. In fact, you believe you’ve sinned against him by having this dream. I don’t agree, but that’s another discussion.

I’m happy about my dream. It suggests I’m bringing some of your cool-headed determination into the work of my life. I don’t feel dominated or diminished by you. I’m glad to have you working on this project. Is this a new house, or a reclamation project? I’m not sure. Whatever it is, I’m a better person because of you. For that, I’m grateful.

In September we traveled to Scotland to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. One of the most impressive castles we visited was Castle Fraser.

Here’s a photo of D, about to ring the front doorbell and request entrance!


Now we’re at the side of the castle. The towers could look menacing. Or, if your mind is in the right frame, humorous.


Here’s the informal back entrance. The arch on the right-hand side leads into the courtyard.


Finally, a peek inside the formal walled gardens, looking toward the entrance. Peaceful and calming.

Is there a lovely garden where you are right now? I hope so!


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 November 2015
Photo credit: Elouise (photo of D), and DAFraser, September 2015