I had the dream again last night. It's been recurring at least on a monthly basis, taking place primarily in the small town of Weldon, IL, at the former home of my great-uncle and great-aunt Robert and Betty. The plot of the dreams are always loosely the same: I am there at the house. Robert and Betty are not. Sometimes, I have invited folks from Champaign to come visit the abode in Weldon (roughly 40 minutes away), and am hosting a party there.
The house is almost always bigger in the dreams than in reality. In the real world, it's a fairly standard structure. There's a living room, main bedroom on the ground floor, kitchen, bathrooms, front porch, upstairs area with more bedrooms, and then.... an addition was built on (with help from my dad), and it consisted of a huge family room and attached garage. A wooden porch runs along the back of the house. I remember it was home to a plethora of stray kitties, as Betty would always gladly put out food for them. Behind the house were railroad tracks, and behind those the rest of Weldon.
In the dreams, the layout of the house changes. Sometimes, there's an extra bathroom. Other times, the garage has become the size of a warehouse, and it houses a fleet of automotive vehicles, with Robert the overseer. My job -- in that particular variant of the dream -- is to monitor production and make sure it's on schedule by the time Robert comes to inspect it. Other dreams feature some sort of doomsday oil field behind the house, instead of the normal railroad tracks and rest of the town. The sky is an ominous violaceous color, with plumes of black oil spewing upward from the wells.
In still other versions of the dream, the house is empty and for sale, and I am on-hand to show around prospective buyers. In the dreams with the people from C-U coming to party, the festivities almost always get out of hand, and I end up having to shut things down before uncle Robert gets back. In this subconscious world, Robert is a hard-as-nails bad ass. Someone not to be trifled with. Oddly, aunt Betty never featured in these dreams, even though the house is most obviously the one shared by her and Robert for so many years.
Last night's dream was.... different. It was the first time the dream has recurred since Betty passed away earlier this month. It was also the first of the dreams to feature her in it. There was a fear, throughout the dream, that someone had been trying to get into the house. I kept finding doors half-open, closing them and feeling unease. I was "on guard" at the abode, watching until Robert got back. I had a shift. The person who came to relieve me was Clarissa, who is my colleague on the city council. She has absolutely no connection to Robert, Betty, or Weldon that I am aware of, so who knows what that's about?
Clarissa arrived to relieve me of my shift, and while we were discussing my sense of foreboding regarding someone trying to break-in, Robert and Betty suddenly showed-up, along with some of their kids and grandchildren. At first, I didn't bat an eyelid at Betty being there. Her and Robert were always together in real life, so seeing them together in the dream was not unusual. She was very vocal, attempting to calm Robert down once I'd told him that strange things were happening at the house. It was then when I looked at my great-aunt and thought, "You should be dead, Betty?" I turned and mentioned the curious presence to one of my cousins, who simply nodded and said, "I know."
The dream was soon over. Nothing else of importance lingers in the memory.
I don't know why these dreams suddenly began a few months ago. Robert and Betty haven't lived in that house in over seventeen years. It belongs mostly to my childhood. I don't know why the house and its surroundings morph so much in the dreams. I don't know why Betty has never figured into them until after she died. All I do know is, it was nice to see her again.