Dreams From My Father

My dad came to me several times in the days following his death. Two of those visitations were in dreams.

In the first dream two hummingbirds flew into the enclosed porch where I was sitting with him, the room he spent most of his last 11 months in, recovering from chemo and radiation treatments, and when I put up my hand for them to land on, they instead hovered above it, boring their long, narrow beaks into the space between my first and second knuckles. I writhed with pain, inside, but didn’t flinch, holding still while they…sucked out nectar? Pollinated me?

As they flew off, I turned and thrust my wounded hand in his direction, imploring my dad to “help me, fix me, I’m hurt,” like I often did in real life. As a doctor, a veterinarian, he was who I turned to when sick or hurt, knowing his gift for healing. Especially of those who couldn’t explain what was the matter.

I looked at the sizeable hole the hummingbirds made – a small marble could have fit, yet there was no bleeding, and it was deep black, the darkest color I ever saw. The closer I peered, the more I realized I was looking into the abyss. Endless, boundless universe.

In the second dream, I was alone at my sister’s house and opened the door to let her cat out. Shortly afterwards, I saw a fox leaping gracefully across the yard, playful, yet intent. Entranced for a moment, I then suddenly remembered the cat was outside, nearby, and I rushed out the door, but couldn’t reach her fast enough. I helplessly watched as the fox grabbed her, sank its claws, and rendered her defenseless. She immediately relaxed, her body slumped and stopped struggling. It happened so fast. Alive one moment, surrendered the next.

That was 3 months ago. I haven’t dreamt since.

Until last night.

In this dream, my friends Tammy and Geof were showing me their grandfather’s house and the rural hamlet he lived in. I was looking to move and wanted to be someone’s roommate, and they thought we’d be a perfect match.

On our way there, I walked ahead of them into town, searching for something. Everything was intensely magnified. The green was greener than where I live now, the surrounding mountains were higher and more thickly forested. The few houses were old, and made of stone, just like the ones I coveted as a child and still hope to someday live in. No one was one the street at all, the townspeople all tucked inside. The scene was clean, orderly, pristine, natural, beautiful.

I walked into one of only two establishments and it was filled with kids – an ice cream shop. The brightness of overhead lights was strong and the hubbub overstimulating, so I left. I didn’t go into the other place – a serious, upscale restaurant, but I knew I would eventually – the twinkling lights on the windows highlighted the warm festivities inside. When I get settled in…

Then, feeling guilty I had rushed ahead without my friends, I walked briskly back down to the park, and found them relaxing with their grandfather and their son. We reunited.


After the first 2 dreams, I looked up Hummingbird and Fox in Ted Andrews’ book of animal totems, “Animal Speak, The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small.”

Hummingbirds represent tireless joy and the nectar of life. The most skilled flyer, they can change direction on a dime, fly thousands of miles – a seemingly impossible journey for a bird who needs to eat constantly, and are fiercely independent and revel in their freedom.

Foxes are a symbol of shapeshifting and camouflage, a sign of a new world growing and opening up, a beneficial creation in the works. They’re charming, and will distract you with jumping and leaping antics, until they pounce and capture their prize.

Now, a little back story about the small town and my friends’ role in it. Three years ago while visiting Tammy and Geof, who live in a small New England town, I listen while Geof shares some crazy thought he has that I might be happier moving out of NYC and to someplace like Vermont or Maine. I mostly ignore this idea at the time.

Months later, I’m invited to Maine, and suddenly remember Geof’s words. I rediscover Camden, where I once wanted to move, two decades earlier. It feels right this time. I pack up my life in the city, and here I am today, loving it.

Sooo…are T & G arbiters of my geography, and if so – is this about my inner landscape or the outer one? Is everything about to become more orderly and amped up?

How is my life shapeshifting? Am I about to capture my prize? Surrender to something?

Was one of my dad’s last gifts to empower me to live joyfully, on purpose, and suck from the nectar of life?

I figure my subconscious has been at work these months integrating the wisdom of my father and of the animals he tended, with my own beliefs, gut feelings from friends, and divine guidance. The unfolding ways of how I’ll live the rest of my life.

Leave a comment


  1. Hi Kellie, you are in to some deep thinking these days, but that doesn’t surprise me. I’m glad you are growing and feeling content. That is always a good place to be. Take good care.

  2. Craig McNulty

     /  17 February 2013

    Hey hey hey Kellie

    First I just wanted to express my condolences over the loss of your dad and I hope as we get toward spring that there is light & love in your life.

    It was a really beautiful post this week in Off-Peak…  you were able to express very beautifully and clearly the shitty-ness that is depression & suicidal thoughts…  read Off-Peak whenever I can {sometimes not being connected to net upstate of just very casually dicking around The Facebook  on The Special K’s smartphone but sometimes that leads to just skimming peoples entries as opposed to being able to read stuff actually written in sentences & paragraphs}

    And when you have another one of your parties I wanna fucking Go!  Reading your entry about the parties you use to give was a real insight into you in how you look at the world– you are extremely generous in spirit and are able to take people for who they are and a genuine appreaciation of people, of all people— and not is some vague leftist way of appreciating people but not having time for anyone other than a very select & narrow definition of “cool’ or intellectual or whatever but having time & seeing the uniqueness & specialness in people… 

    I like to think I do but I know I don’t– growing up in a household where we didn’t entertain much I know that is a pattern I have as an adult— in addition to social anxiety has ead me to going to very few parties especially during periods when I’m not sure what my relatonship to alcohol is (some jerkoff behavior lead to me being on wagon for a year, then not so much, then back on, now I’m not sure… not sure AA is the answer for me– maybe it is/or not… looking into the Harm Reduction model which kinda is what it sounds like– it allows you the possibility of social drinking and acknowleges that there might be some health group between Never drinking ever ever ever again & being a vomiting in the gutter drunk.

    I would love to see you sometime soon regardless of my drinking, not drinking, pills, no pills, exercising, not exercising, writing, not writing— don’t know which version of me you’ll get, but whatever that version is I know he miss you

    XOXO    “I was trying to write a play that would get me killed” -Martin McDonagh


  3. Jonathan Paris

     /  20 January 2015

    My dad turned 91 last month- sorry about yours Kellie. What questions would you ask of a 91 year old who still has all his faculties besides the usual stuff of childhood and war and jobs and wisdom? Jonathan Paris

    • Jonathan… you would know better than I how to engage your father. What if you were to sit with him and allow your intuition to guide you? Or… maybe there’s nothing to be said, unless there is. In which case, do you have anything that would feel incomplete if it were to be unexpressed?

  4. How’s things?, sometimes I see a 500 server message when I browse this webpage. Just a heads up, regards


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