Visit from My Recently Deceased Aunt (Astral Plane)AC 228: August 26, 2003 (Boston)
I don’t know when this “dream” occurred in last night’s mix. I only recalled it much later, after having written down several other dreams.
I saw my Auntie Skip, who passed away a few weeks ago, in her mid-eighties. She looked at me silently, with big eyes.
She was dressed in a way that I recognize from a family photograph that must have been taken when she was in her teens--late high school or early college. She was wearing glasses in the dream, which made her eyes look even bigger. They seemed to be pleading with me.
The photograph is in black and white, but Auntie Skip appeared to me in color. She was dressed in brown, and her skin had a darker than normal cast. Her clothing was the same shade as the penitential robes of monks.
Auntie Skip created a lot of ill will in the family by refusing to speak to people who crossed her in some way. At the time of her death, she was estranged from her son and his family.
Earlier in her life, she’d been responsible for another rift in the family over one of her two daughters, who was schizophrenic, and of lower than average intelligence.
Auntie Skip and her husband had this daughter committed to an institution.
In my dream vision, Auntie Skip seemed to plead with me for understanding and forgiveness. She’d chosen to show herself to me at an age before all of the difficult things in her life had happened, as if to remind me that at one time, long before I was born, she was innocent and carefree--the basic spiritual heritage, one might say, of all human beings.
Who am I to judge her for what came later? I don’t know what chains of events and inner reactions led to the rifts mentioned above.
Auntie Skip claimed that I was her favorite nephew. I think she came to me last night because this is how she would like me to remember her--as a soul, basically good, full of love and fear, worthy of compassion, contrite over the mistakes she may have made in life, and undeserving of condemnation for the decisions she and her husband made, for reasons that seemed necessary to them, no matter how others may have viewed them.
One of my good friends has helped me understand what a strain it can be on a family to live with someone who is mentally ill. No one in Auntie Skip’s large family of origin may have had any idea of what it was like to bring up a mentally ill and intellectually handicapped child.
How often life puts us in situations that we simply don’t know how to deal with. There’s always at least one perspective from which whatever we do seems to have been the wrong thing.
I don’t know whether my forgiveness will give Auntie Skip any peace while she settles into the Afterlife, but I certainly hope so.