In the late 80’s, about a week after my grandmother died, I was pretty much on the way to a nervous breakdown, so I went on a drug binge (I was young, forgive my stupidity), determined to make it all go away. Why am I telling all of you this? Well, I was talking to Eddy the other night about these dreams that she’s been having about her dad (that’s my Uncle who just passed), and something that Eddy said made me flashback to that week. I couldn't recall all the details, however, (no big surprise, considering the condition I was in), so I asked my sister if she remembered anything. Thankfully, her memory is much better than mine, and she helped me piece things together. In order for this story to make any sense, though, I need to back up even further into my past, so here goes…
When I was a child, an Aunt of mine who was very dear to me passed away. She’d been ill for quite some time and there was nothing more the doctors could do for her. Saying goodbye to her broke my heart, but we had to let her go. Not long after death, I started seeing her all the time in the middle of the night. (No, I was not on drugs at the time.) She would appear seated at the end of my bed & she’d talk to me, only I could never hear what she was saying. I just saw her lips moving, and somehow I could read them. She would tell me to be good, to stay close to my sister, and that she would be there for me if ever I lost my way.
OK, fast forward a good ten years to the week after my grandmother died. Basically, I had this death wish. Nothing made sense. No one could reach me or reason with me. I was in total darkness & wanted out of the world, literally. So, on a cold (and I mean super cold) winter's night, I ingested two full hits of acid, then took off to get super trashed with my sister at one of the nightclubs we used to go to. While I was there trippin' the light fantastic, I happened to glance up at this very long staircase that led to the second floor and had myself one heck of a vision. Floating down the stairs in my direction was my Aunt surrounded by the most amazing white glow. I knew I was high & all, but holy sh*t!!!! I started squeezing my sister’s hand and screaming…
Me: She’s coming!! She’s coming!!!!!
Me: Zia (which means Aunt in Italian) is coming!!!
Me: Look, now she’s right beside me!!
Sister: OMG, JB, snap out of it. You’re just high. Stop hallucinating.
Me: No! Look, she is right here! Can’t you see her?
Of course, all my sister could see was me pointing at nothing & acting like a crazy person, which means she definitely didn't see my Aunt reach out & grab my hand.
Sister: JB, it’s the f**king drugs. No one’s there.
It might have looked like I was staring wide eyed into thin air to her, but what she didn't know was that my Aunt had not only grabbed my hand, but she had also begun speaking to me.
Aunt: Please, JB, you need to stop doing this. You are going to kill yourself. This is not your time. You have to stop now. Come.
Clearly, it had to be the drugs messing with my mind, but, at the same time, I honestly felt her hand holding mine & pulling me through the maze of people partying the night away. Meanwhile, I totally forgot that I was still hanging onto my sister with my other hand, which meant I was dragging her right along with me.
Sister: JB! Where the h*ll you going?
Where I went was outside into the freezing cold, and the frosty air hit me like a slap in the face.
Sister: Holy sh*t, stop! Are you crazy?
I finally let go of my sister, which was a good thing because my next step sent me slippin' & slidin' on some ice and flying head first into the bumper of a car. In the 80’s, cars had steel bumpers, not plastic, so believe you me it freakin' hurt. I looked up expecting to see my Aunt, but there was only my sister reaching down to pick me up. I don’t know how she managed to get me to my feet without falling on the ice herself, but she did. She then hauled my a** into one of the taxi’s that was parked outside the club, and that was the end of our evening.
The next morning, I woke up with a wicked bump on my head, the most intense hangover a human could possibly endure, and my Aunt staring at me. No, not another vision, I mean her picture, which still sits on my bedside table even now. I know I can’t prove that she saved my life all those years ago, but I truly believe that I wouldn't be here telling this story today if my Aunt hadn't guided me out of the club that night. If I would have stayed and got super drunk like I’d planned, there’s no doubt in my mind that the mix of drugs (which I never touched again after that night, by the way) & alcohol would have stopped my heart. I know that’s what I thought I wanted at the time, but I’m so glad that it didn't happened.