Today we are pleased to have Sarah Pulenski as a guest poster on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural. Sarah is a divorced 42 year old mother of two daughters, ages 12 and 9. Sarah is a commodity broker with a firm in Chicago, IL. Her hobbies consist of writing, scrapbooking, cooking (with two daughters, you have to enjoy cooking), horseback riding on her parent's farm, and tinkering around with old cars (thanks dad). Sarah also is a strong believer in giving to charity (Samaritan's Purse).
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I start my story at a time that was the most tragic and heart wrenching of my entire life. It was also at a time of great promise and the start of a bright future for me personally. The year was 1996, July 4th to be exact. I had just graduated from college with a BS in Finance in May and was looking forward to a great July 4th weekend of enjoying life and good times before I started my first job on July 10, 1996. My boyfriend Dan (who three years later became my husband), his sister, two of my best college buddies and my big brother, Bobby and his wife Karen were boating at a lake not far from my father's farm in the northeastern part of Missouri. I was a country girl growing up. But, I quickly adapted to city life in Chicago. I love the city. In fact, I love all big cities now. Chicago is noted for being the city with broad shoulders for a reason. It's a rough, tough place. It's also a great place most of the time. But, on July 4th of 1996, I had not a care in the world. In fact, the world was my oyster. I felt nothing could ever go wrong.
My older brother (my elder by 4 years) was my hero and closest confidant. I could confide in Bobby about anything. He always gave great advice and I always knew he loved me. He was my protector growing up and got me out of a few predicaments of my own creation. As an example, he basically saved my life when I got bit by a Copperhead snake. The pain was horrific. I was 14 years old at the time of this incident. My 18 year old big brother picked me up and ran with me, in his arms, all the way home. I slowly recovered. But, I never forgot the heroism of my beloved big brother, Bobby. He always told me that he only did what big brothers are supposed to do, protect their little sister. I knew I could always depend on Bobby, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the distance. The latter proved to be especially true later on in life.
As we were pulling into the dock after a long day of boating and skiing, on that July 4th, Bobby pulled into our dad's private dock and threw a rope to someone on the pier to tie us off. The water was choppy that day. We were going to have difficulty getting off the boat. The guy on the pier was trying to get another rope on the boat to try and settle the boat down. The man was simply unable to get the rope tied off on the pier without the rope either coming untied or snapping. We had already broken two ropes. Bobby had my future husband take control of the boat and he attempted to get on the pier to help the man. As Bobby attempted to get on the pier, we were hit with an unusually strong wave that really rocked the boat. My brother lost his footing, slipped and hit the pier with a loud, sickening thud to his head. Bobby fell into the water. The man on the pier then jumped into the water after Bobby. Bobby was bleeding profusely from his eyes, nose and ears. People said I was screaming. I honestly don't remember that. All I remember is the suddenly swollen and bleeding face of my big brother. We managed to get him on the pier thanks to a nearby boater who helped us (and whose name has been forgotten over time).
Once doctors, at the hospital, had time to examine Bobby and run tests, they told us Bobby had a fractured skull, he had brain damage and would be basically a vegetable if he were to recover. I was in a state of shock. I couldn't believe something so tragic could happen so suddenly and without warning. To say I was devastated would not do justice to what I was truly feeling. My dearest friend, my beloved and treasured big brother was no longer the gregarious, extroverted Alpha Male I had always known. He was now on the same level of a vegetable. The most heart breaking thing that I have ever seen is when my sister-in-law, Karen, turned off the machines keeping Bobby alive. He died peacefully within 20 minutes. My parents must have aged 20 years from that moment. Dad didn't last but 14 months after Bobby died. He just didn't want to live anymore even though he loved my mom dearly. Mom herself died slightly over 3 years later and just a couple of months after my marriage. My life would never be the same.
I took Bobby's death extremely hard. I was severely depressed and had to eventually seek counseling. Doctors put me on medication for my grief. After about nine months or so, I was able to cope with my brother's death. The pain lessens with time. But, the heartache of losing a loved one never fully leaves you. As I stated, 3 years after Bobby's death, I married a wonderful man who helped me during this tragic event in my life since he was there the day Bobby was killed at the dock. Again, my mother passed away from a heart attack (I'll always believe she died of a broken heart) two months after my marriage. After coming back from mom's funeral, I told my husband I was going to take a shower and just try to wash away this latest tragedy in the family. I usually take my time in a shower (much to the consternation of my husband). I suppose I had been in the shower about 15 minutes or longer. When I stepped out, I saw the first warning on my bathroom mirror; "Don't Go||." It was just like that. The words "don't go" with two little lines (||) at the end. My husband was noted for having a rare sense of humor. So, I figured it was him. After my mom's funeral? No, he wouldn't do that. But, I was not making any trip anywhere for at least two months. He knew that. However, I had to ask him if he did it.
I put on some shorts, a blouse, along with my housecoat and went into the living room. My husband was asleep on the couch. I woke him up. "Dan, did you put that message on the bathroom mirror, 'Don't go'?" I asked my sleepy husband. "Sarah, I have been right here on the coach since you went into the shower. What are you talking about?" Dan asked me. He swore, up and down, sideways, you name it, that he did not put any message on the mirror. After the heat from the shower dissipated, the message disappeared off the mirror. I was still unnerved about it. Dan and I were the only people at home. I decided to let it go. But, the messages continued to appear. The next time I saw it was just two weeks after the first message. It was a Saturday morning and I decided to do my morning jog before Dan and I went into town for breakfast (I don't cook on weekends). I went down the sidewalk from our front door and onto the driveway. It was scrawled on the driveway in black letters, "Don't Go||" It was exactly like the first time. Those two little lines at the end were a complete puzzle to me. I decided to go in and wake up Dan. I was pissed now if this was his idea of a joke. Dan was exiting the bathroom when I lit into him. He was completely baffled by what I was talking about or so he claimed. I grabbed him by the arm to take him to the driveway. The message was gone!
The warning messages continued. Sometimes the warning would be on the windshield of my car from the morning dew. Other times, when I got back from lunch, the warning of "Don't Go||" was on my appointment pad at my desk. One of the most mind numbing warnings was when I was typing up a presentation I was to make to some clients the next day. I was on my desktop computer, with the huge 17 inch computer monitor, typing away. I paused for just a minute to collect my thoughts. While I was engrossed in thought..."Don't Go||" appeared on my computer screen. I screamed! Co-workers came running into my office to find out what was wrong. I quickly told them I thought I had seen a mouse. My secretary immediately called the pest control people who were responsible for our building. I was still trying to collect my wits about me when, for the first time, I heard the warning verbally. "Don't Go, Sarah!" "Who is this?" I cried. "What are you warning me about?" I asked the voice. The voice was just mildly familiar. It couldn't possibly be who I was thinking it could be. "Bobby? Is this you? Are you warning me about something? PLEASE tell me it is you, Bobby!" I demanded a bit too loudly. This again brought the co-workers. I just told them to please leave me alone.
I started going to a psychiatrist for this latest bizarre event in my life. I gave him all the details of Bobby dying and the messages and, finally, a voice I believed could have been Bobby reaching out to me from the grave. Of course, he felt I was still reacting to the trauma of losing my brother so suddenly. He prescribed a sedative and that was that. A waste of my time. I was so conflicted about this I actually went to a medium to consult her. Again, that was a total waste of time. At the end of that appointment, I was totally embarrassed with myself. I didn't know what I was going to do. The messages were continuing. Before I went to the medium, I had to get my car keys out of my purse. Tucked with my car keys was a note. "Don't Go||" My first thought was that Bobby thought I was nuts going to a medium. My next thought was that this is not going to end until it runs its course. I had no idea what I was supposed to avoid, what place was I supposed to avoid. I had no idea what unforeseen tragedy could be awaiting me if I did "go." I was absolutely clueless of what was going on! I would go to my bathroom at night, when my husband was downstairs watching something on TV, and try to "speak" to Bobby. I would cry like I did when I was a little girl when I needed his help with something. He never turned me down when I did that. But, it wasn't working now. I only heard the voice twice. Once in my office and one more time later on.
These messages continued from August of 1999 (the day of my mom's funeral) until December of 2000, about a week before Christmas. The final message during this period was when I was at my mother-in-law's house for Christmas. There were so many people there, so many happy people. I was not one of them. My husband, Dan, was beginning to become irritated with me. He thought I was losing my mind. I was starting to believe it also. I remember it was snowing that day. I looked out over my MIL bay window in the hall bathroom watching the snowflakes fall. For the first time, and the last time (during this time period), the words "Don't Go||" were slowly inscribed on the frosted window in the bathroom. I didn't scream this time. I was accustomed to this by now. I felt my brother had something to do with this. But, I had no idea what it could possibly be. What is he warning me about? What? What? What?!?!?
Weeks and months went by without the warning message appearing anywhere. No ghostly voice warning either. Whatever the warning was about, I felt confident I had overcome the potential problem. Was it my brother Bobby? I felt, deep in my heart, it was Bobby. He was always very protective of his little sister. Now, five years after his death, I felt his loving comfort at times wherever I was in the world. You know that feeling you have sometimes when you feel someone is in the room with you and you are by yourself? That's when I felt Bobby was nearby. I really, really believed this. My job was frequently taking me to various cities in the U.S. and to London as well. I never felt in any danger in any place. I had just returned to New York City from London after a meeting with a potential investment group there. We were all going to meet in New York City in six weeks. So, I decided I would scope out the meeting room we had rented two months prior in a building not far from my hotel. I had to make sure it was big enough, and had all the amenities we needed for an international investment type meeting. This was a very important meeting.
As I left my hotel at 7AM (I am an early bird and wanted to catch the 12:45PM flight home that day), I saw one of the more popular coffee shops in New York and thought I would have a couple of cups before going to the meeting room. It was only four blocks away and I am an avid jogger. Four blocks would be nothing for me. So, I sat down and watched the many New Yorkers busily on the way to work or whatever New Yorkers do this time of the morning. I decided, in addition to my coffee, I might as well have a bit of breakfast. I was in no hurry and wanted to finish reading over some material I had brought with me from London. Over an hour had passed before I knew it. It was now 8:10AM. I asked the waitress for my check. She brought it and I checked it over as I am prone to doing. I could see there was something on the back. Thinking the waitress had left her name....but I was wrong. "Don't Go." I practically forced my fist down my throat to keep from screaming. It had been about 8 or 9 months since I had seen a message of warning. But, it was different this time. The 2 little lines (||) were not at the end as they had always been. My hands trembling, I managed to leave the money on the table without dropping over from fainting. I had to get out of there. I stepped outside, checked my cell phone for time. It was 8:16AM. I started walking toward the building. "DON'T GO SARAH!!! The voice literally screamed at me this time and I stopped dead in my tracks.
I was totally shook up. A man stopped and asked if I was alright. I assured him I was and thanked him for his kindness. I couldn't move forward. It was as if I was being held in place, frozen in time and space. I just stood there on the sidewalk paralyzed with fear. I looked up at the building where I wanted to go check out the meeting room we had rented. I stood and looked at it as if I were in a trance. I'm not sure how long I stood there. I had lost touch with reality for some reason. Something...something about the building was making me have goosebumps all over my body. It suddenly dawned on me what the two little lines were meant for at the end of "Don't Go||" It was the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Bobby did not want me to go there! But why? As soon as that question entered my mind, I got my answer from the screaming engines of American Airlines Flight 11 as it hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
It was 4 days before I was able to get home to Dan. He went for two days thinking I was among the victims of 9/11. Dan knew we had rented meeting room space at the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He also knew I was going to inspect it that morning of infamy. The verbal warning, after I left the coffee shop, saved my life. There is no doubt in my mind it was Bobby, although the voice was only faintly similar to his. From that point on, I have never received another message, written or verbal. I have no doubt it was Bobby, once again, protecting me. How could this be, you ask? I wish I could answer that one for you. I've always been pretty much secular in my approach to life. Bobby was that way also. He was that way until the last few months of his life when inexplicably he started going to a Catholic church near his home. Bobby never explained why he started going to church.
I've repeated this entire story to a number of people in my life since 9/11. Some believe me, and some don't. I honestly don't care if anyone believes me or not. But, it is all true, every bit of it. My, now, ex-husband Dan (sometimes, people just fall out of love....but Dan and I are still friends and we had two beautiful daughters together) will testify to at least two written warnings that he couldn't explain logically. But, why all the warnings in the first place, you may ask? I have no idea since it was the one verbal warning on 9/11 that saved my life. My only regret, of the absence of the warnings now, is that I have lost my last remaining contact with my brother. I no longer even have those moments when I feel he is near me in a room to offer comfort when I am sad and lonely.
I'll always miss and love my big brother. He was a special person and always will be to me. But, I knew, after 9/11, I just had to let go of him completely (as odd as that may sound to you). Bobby would have wanted me to move on with my life. Maybe now, after having done what he had to do, my brother Bobby can truly rest in peace.
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