I had a dream about my aunt Sharon last night. I am not sure what she said, or why she was in my dream. But since she’s passed away it’s far from the first time I have thought of her.
We had a complicated relationship, I suppose. When I was young I was aunt Sharon’s golden girl, the only niece she had. She lavished me with countless gifts and I spent a large part of my childhood summers in Lomas Santa Fe, California, at her house. I always remember her bubbling laughter “So you finally made it.” when me and my family would come in the door, bedraggled from our 2500 mile car trip from Ohio. Her house was a place of peace and solitude in those days, a place where I could listen to music and bask in the California sun and dream of things far away from Ohio and try to figure out how I could make them a reality.
As I grew older I remained her golden girl, graduating college and going to graduate school, and then it all melted down. I needed to take a break from school. I was burnt out. I didn’t know what I wanted in life but I was sure it involved California. She offered me a place to stay with her until I got off my feet. I proceeded to melt down further.
Then I met Joe, my golden guy. Aunt Sharon was very happy about this. And then that all melted down.
It’s sad to think of most of my last interactions with my aunt. She did talk to me, I suppose I can say that. But her questions always had an accusatory tone. Her comments were very critical. I couldn’t seem to swim against the current. I was reduced to a little girl, forever trying harder to explain. There was a lot of dialogue and none of it went anywhere.
But now I remember the music again. I’m listening to “When the Lights Go Down in The City” by Journey, a song I am sure I remembered for the first time at her house in Lomas Sante Fe. I can remember the way the fog rolled in from the ocean that morning, so different from Ohio and so welcome. Like a breadth of something I didn’t know I how much I needed.
I am a 10,000 miles away. Yet I still expect to walk into her house in Oceanside and have her say “So you finally made it” with her bubbling laughter. I suppose one day I will hear her say that again. For now it can remain in my dreams alone.
Death cannot be the end, as long as we are living….and thinking about someone we love.