I had a great aunt that I really loved.
Her name was Carmela. My childhood memories of her are more about the sounds, the smell of her perfume, the feel of her hug, than actual days and even now, years after her death, I still hold fast to the tenderness of her.
One night, I had a dream of a day spend with her on the swings outside my apartment building, perhaps I was three or four years old.
As always, I felt the anticipation of the first push. I could sense her behind me getting ready and then she shoved me propelling the swing into the air.
I threw my head back and the wind moved through my hair swirling it about. My dress lifted. I kicked my feet.
The laughter erupted from deep inside my belly.
I turned to look at her cherubic face and she smiled.
And then I woke up wanting very much to see her again.
At that time she was in her eighties and I had not seen her in almost 20 years.
She lived for the most part in Boston and Italy.
The phone rang and I scurried to the kitchen. It was my mother.
How wonderful I thought now I can tell her about my dream.
"Aunt Carmela died last night," she said.
I hesitated, "Do you remember when she used to visit us and take me out to the play on the swings?"
"Yes," she answered, "Why?"
"I saw her in my dreams last night. She came to say goodbye!"