My post is both a true story and a tribute to a woman who left this world too soon, but not without leaving a lasting and loving impression on me, her niece, and on countless others who adored her.
Those who have been following my blog since at least July, may remember from my post, “Dreams Do Come True,” that I have an interesting and active sleeping dream life. Sometimes my dreams unfold in real life, in unbelievable detail. The tone of my premonition dreams vary in nature; sometimes they are playful and fun, and other times my dreams are serious. I do my best to write down dream details in a journal, just after waking up, before my dreams vanish between my feet hitting the floor and my cup of coffee. While this does happen, I have had plenty of dreams that never leave my memory.
In my first post about my quirky dream life, I described a dream about a girls’ night that played out, scene by scene, in my waking life, months after having the dream. Today’s post is about another interesting dream-meets-life moment and like my first dream story, this one also asks readers to believe in the mystery of dreams.
Several months ago, I had a dream about my Aunt Lee, who sadly passed just nine days after her 50th birthday on December 9th in 2003. I will share my Aunt Lee dream details, but the most memorable part of the dream is what happened just after her dreamy visit.
Standing in a dirt lot, I noticed an evening scene that looked like a small-town festival or a carnival that had limited outdoor lighting. In the darkness, the people moving about were not clearly defined. The dirt beneath my feet, stretched from me to my Aunt Lee, who was standing behind a long table, facing my direction. She greeted people as they approached her table, then she handed each of them a cake or pie. At one point while watching her, my Aunt Lee looked up at me and smiled. I left the area where I had been standing and then walked for a short distance before noticing a man driving a tractor. As I approached the man, I realized he was my late father, her older brother. My dad was involved in his tractor driving and did not look up or across, toward where I was standing. I woke from the dream, smiling and amused by it all. (from dream journal notes)
Waking to Disbelief
Within the hour, after waking from my dreamy Aunt Lee visit, I received a text message from my uncle, Lee’s husband at the time of her passing. He messaged to tell me he had been going through the remainder of Lee’s belongings in his attic and had items to give me. I read and re-read the text in disbelief. How was it possible that he messaged me that message just after I dreamed of Lee? Dreaming about my Aunt Lee was a rare occurrence in my life and receiving a text from my uncle was even more unusual. Considering the history of my dream life, I should not have been too surprised, but when these dream moments happen, they always leave me in awe and full of the wonder toward the mystery of life, and of course, of dreams.
A few weeks after dreaming of my Aunt Lee and hearing from my uncle, we drove an hour to pick up the items that had been stored in my uncle’s attic for seventeen years. More than anything I wished that I was driving to visit my aunt, instead of collecting dusty relics from her well-lived and loved life. I had no idea what I might find in old boxes and with the passing of so much time, I was surprised any of her belongings remained.
Next to my uncle’s dining room table sat two boxes; both large, but one was taller than the other. I opened the tall box and could not believe my eyes. How were these not distributed to my uncle’s sisters or nieces? The box contained Lee’s purse collection, mostly Dooney and Bourke, now vintage, as well as other leather purses that she had collected through the years. Looking at and feeling the soft leather of each purse, brought back memories of being a young girl and admiring the careful stitching and various colors of her purses. I imagined owning a similar purse, but I never imagined that I would own her purses, and because I now do, they are more valuable having been carried and used by her.
The second box contained three items that perfectly represented who she was and what mattered most to her. From the box I lifted a cream-colored rumpled dress made of a sheer material (ooh la la Lee). I did not recognize the dress with long billowy sleeves and lace around the collar. My uncle explained. It was the dress she wore on their wedding day, a small intimate affair held along the water’s edge at Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona. I did not attend the ceremony, but I do I remember seeing rose petals on nearby rocks and along the water in their wedding photos. Being her second marriage, the dress was simple, as was the ceremony, but from the looks of the dress and memories of the photos, no less romantic than a large affair, maybe even more so. Lee’s dress now hangs in my closet and while I want so much to put it on, I cannot bring myself to do it. I am not sure why. Maybe to do so would feel like an intrusion on her special day. Maybe I do not want the image of me in the dress to replace that I hold of her, so instead, I simply enjoy feeling the fabric and looking at the simple, but special wedding dress.
The gift of her wedding dress is even more meaningful to me because my Aunt Lee made my wedding dress that is now stored in a box in our attic. She also created the floral arrangements for our wedding – a use of her talents that almost did not happen, because we learned a few days before our wedding that the tulips I had originally selected would not be available, causing us to scramble for a floral substitute that would stand up on the already purchased flower frogs.
From the same box, I lifted two bulky overly decorated holiday sweaters that would now be considered “ugly holiday sweaters.” These final items complement the first items in representing who and what Lee most loved. Possessing extraordinary sewing, decorating, gift-giving, and baking skills, the holidays provided a season for my Aunt Lee to shine and to shower each of us with her gifts, delivered through her loving and talented hands.
a Poem for Linda Lee
In the state of a dream
or so it seems
at a festive gathering
to speak to me
to reveal to me
catch my eye
offering a comforting smile
like she did when I was a child
Her hands drove into a storm ensuring our welfare
Her hands crowned others with styled hair
Her hands satisfied with scrumptious fare
Her hands stitched my gown for our matrimonial affair
Her hands arranged flowers with delicate care
Her hands pole-less, skiing down a hill with flare
Her hands published a cookbook with recipes she loved to share
Her hands tending to her family, were always aware
This photo, taken just before I said, “I do,” is both sweet and hilarious. Sweet, because my Aunt Lee is behind me trying to fasten my wedding gown – the lovely gown that she made. Hilarious, because while doing so, she poked herself and then bled on the back of my dress, moments before I was to walk down the aisle. Dressing room stress! A photo moment made funnier by my hairstyle – the result of letting my just graduated from beauty school ex-stepmom cut, color, and style my hair. Hilarious, but the look in my eyes tops all of those funny captures! Oh, my puffed-shoulders are funny too, but according to Vogue, they are back in style. 🤣 🤣
Be well. 😀 Michele
“Good night – may you fall asleep in the arms of a dream, so beautiful, you’ll cry when you awake.”~ Michael Faudet
First Photo: My daughter, Sammi Lee, floating in an Oregon forest, with the help of photoshop magic 😉
Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.