Sunday, December 23, 2012

Guardian Angels

By Michael O'Brien

If there be Guardian Angels, who exactly are they?

I'm reluctant to relay my story for several reasons but mostly for fear of ostracism. Despite that I do take some comfort in the realization that those involved in the paranormal are typically more open-minded than most. In any event, it is my hope this story will open a new line of discussion within our community.

In this post I'd like to pose the question, "Who, not what, are Guardian Angels?" It's believed by many they are long since passed family members. Some surmise they are friends or acquaintances from a past life. Others postulate they are in reality, earthbound Angels that have yet to take human form. What I would like to suggest is a possibility few that I'm aware have discussed in-depth as of yet.

At almost five years of age my parents took our extraordinarily large family to Long Island Beach for a day of relaxation. Unfortunately the day would be anything but that.

Before I go any further allow me to say that I agree there shouldn't be any excuse for neglectful parenting. However, one can't exactly fault the naivety of parents in the early 70's for their transgressions. Especially those with enormous families who managed to lose only one child once in their history. Nonetheless, that's exactly what occurred on a Autumn day on a New York beach.

As the story goes I wandered off from my parents while at the beach and ended up in the ocean. While I have no recollection of actually entering the choppy tide, I do remember being submerged in the water. I also recollect the undertow seeming to grab hold of my tiny ankles and insist upon dragging me deeper into the oceans depths.

To this day I can clearly recall grasping the sand, rocks and twigs on the oceans floor in panicked desperation. With every firm grip I believed it would pull me forward to shallower waters. Much to my terror, I realized that what I thought was a solid grasp was actually dissipating between my fingers in rapid succession. First the sand, then twigs followed by the slight rocks. Once again I felt myself being pulled deeper into the briny, murky depths of that chilly northeastern ocean.

The last thing I recall wasn't drowning or feeling the peace others speak of but lying beach side on my tummy. What's more, feeling exhausted and overheated and as if my skin and tongue had dried and cracked. I also recollect feeling like I'd just been rattled from a deep slumber. At least the sand, salt and sun in my eyes did their best to offer me that impression.

Next I remember brushing my dark strands of hair off my cheek and away from my eyes. I recall my confusion as I realized they had dried and adhered tightly to my silt covered face. Somewhat shaky I attempted to lift myself with my elbows. As I did I immediately felt a soft hand press gently between my shoulder blades. It was if I was being told to stay still where I was for awhile. I complied without question.

When my eyes finally adjusted I managed to gaze up at the person who had gestured me. This was the first time I saw her. Almost clearly, if not for the blinding sun that hovered steady behind her.

Standing before me was a woman so tall and beautiful I remember being damn near awe struck by the sight of her. Albeit a fleeting thought, I do recall thinking how much I desperately wanted to touch any part of her. The tails of her flowing gown, her long black mane that hung like a pendulum down her chest or her pale ivory skin, even her dark thick brows. I just didn't have the strength. Unfortunately I could only stare as I watched her clearly then fade in and out in broad, wispy strokes. In any event, I felt completely safe with her and on some level, I knew I knew her.

As I lay there motionless for what seemed to be some time, I noticed she made no sound whatsoever. Nor did her smoky, translucent robes that flapped unrestrained in the breeze. She simply stood there above me watching me, waiting for me. Finally she knelt down, smiled and offered me a slight upwards nod over her left shoulder. It was as if to tell me it was time to return to where I came from.

Again, she spoke not a word and neither did I. I recall I rose unsteady to my feet and visually scanned the shoreline before me. As I recognized miniscule flickering police lights far off in the distance, I decided to make my way towards them.

Even though I wanted to spend all day staring at her or maybe even playing with her, I walked on. I turned around only once to see her again. Perhaps I was making certain she was real or maybe I knew that was all the time I was going to be afforded by her. Either way, it was during that last glance that she placed her index finger to her lips as if to say, "This will be our secrete." I didn't quite know why all though I nodded in the affirmative and wobbled away. No, "Thank you," no, "See you again," nothing. I simply walked on.

I've thought about this encounter many times throughout my young and adult life, careful not to distort that memory in any respect. I also kept that secrete I made for as long as I could. It wasn't until I was in my mid twenties that I finally told my best friend about this encounter.

Just prior to disclosing this, my best friend, my partner and myself had a group portrait taken together. Four weeks later our photo was ready. As our portrait was unveiled by our artist my knees instantly weakened and my body swayed. I began to perspire and tremble and my mouth felt as dry as it did that ominous day on Long Island Beach.

There she was, right before me in the center of that painted portrait. Her long raven hair draping off her right shoulder down the middle her chest, her deep dark eyes, her thick brows, her ivory skin. It was her! It was me!

I'm aware of how terribly arrogant this account sounds but I was exactly the woman I saw that day I should have drowned. The woman who saved me that day was me and I was positive of it.

I'm just as confused as most right now. How did I spend my life looking in a mirror performing incidentals such as brushing my teeth or hair and not realize who I was? Yes, I should have recognized who that woman was years ago but I honestly never did. I swear, I just never put it together.

Perhaps it's because I look at my outer shell and seldom, if ever, take a moment to truly gaze upon who I genuinely am? Or perhaps I fail to see myself through the eyes of those who perceive me with absolute precision? After all, had I told my best friend about this experience sooner, I'm certain she would have pieced this mystery together for me.

With that, I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this type of encounter. An encounter where they believe they somehow managed to save themselves from certain death. Or if they've ever heard of this experience through family, friends or their paranormal research.

The only other account I'm familiar with concerns a woman who claims she attempted suicide at fourteen unsuccessfully. Much later in life, she attempted to take her life again. However, this time she reports she was stopped by her fourteen year old self. What's more, she claims her younger self put her to bed and hid the sleeping pills from the older self. She reports that only a empty medication bottle lay on the nightstand beside her the following morning. She also claimed her younger self left her grandmothers ring thought by her to have been long since lost on that same night stand. For what it's worth, her experience was the catalyst for my writing this post.

So, is it possible to be your own Guardian Angel? If we can believe in reincarnation, life after death, alien abductions, shadow people or even Doppelgangers for that matter, why not? Is the possibility of you being your own Guardian Angel that far out of the realm of possibility?

Or was this entire experience nothing more than a hallucination of a five year old child who went an indeterminate amount of time without oxygen? Additionally, was the second account simply an inept woman who believed she saved herself as opposed of accepting her reality? That she botched yet another suicide? Or perhaps she was just to frightened to preform the act itself? In any event, I'd love to hear other accounts or perspectives on this topic. Positive or negative.