The night was dark and my body was chilled by the abrasive wind that flew through the air. I stepped through the door threshold, into the house. Surrounding me was warm, gold lighting as my nose was met with the scent of holly and pine mixed with the delicious food that was being prepared in the kitchen. The big picture was a blur, people, objects, everything. Nothing seemed to come into focus. Not until I walked to the kitchen and noticed a prominent figure sitting at the head of the table.

Looking at me from across the room was the most unexpected person. It was Nonna. The woman who encompassed the meaning of faith, forgiveness, and family. I was so frozen in shock, all I could do was drop to the floor in tears. But my crying was not in sadness, it was simply out of shock, awe, but mostly joy. I was overwhelmed by the sight of the woman standing before me.

She knelt down, took my hand, stood me up and gave me the biggest hug she has ever given me in my entire life. She embraced me with every bit of love she had. She was wearing the same dress she had worn the most, therefore making it ‘Nonna’s dress’, being in her most humble form. And then she looked at me. She looked at me with her eyes bright and big, and her smile so warm you could get lost in it. She gave me a kiss on the cheek as if it was the first time she had done that in years, her cheek was as soft as I remember.

Then she spoke to me. She looked me in the eye and told me, in her Broken English, Italian, Nonna voice, “Maria, you are so beautiful and I am so proud of the young woman you are turning into. I know you’ve been struggling but just know it will get better. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. You are strong. You can overcome anything God gives you because you are my granddaughter and you are strong. I am so happy to see the family back together, I know you can all get through anything together because that is how I raised this family. I did not raise this family to be weak, I raised you all to be strong. Everyone is doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and right where you all need to be. Anything that happens from here on out you will get through it because you all have each other, and that is how it is supposed to be”.

She then gave me another hug and lead me to the dining room table where Nonno was sitting. I greeted him. He then looked at me, looked at Nonna, then looked back at me and said, “Isn’t it great to have her back? She’s been away for too long, it’s so good to see her again after all this time”. And then my dream ended.

It’s funny how even in the afterlife we are greeted by the people our spirit needs the most.

Nonna came at a time when I needed guidance the most in my young adult life. She came when I was in probably the darkest place I have ever been in my entire life. It was the most unexpected visitor I could have gotten face time with and I will remember her message to me forever. Her poise and wisdom graced my soul with the compassion I needed but determination I need more. I know she is watching over me and my family every single day. She is finally in the perfect position to make sure we are all safe and being cared for and also taking care of each other. That’s all she ever wanted for her family – for us to be safe, loved and so confident in ourselves that we are able to conquer whatever it is life throws at us. That’s why when I pray I give it up to her. She is the driving force for my faith and the reason I believe in a higher being, and heaven. Since her passing, she has probably instilled more in me to never turn on my faith because it is so important to have.

So, Nonna, I give this up to you. Everything that I am and everything that I am becoming I give up to you. Thank you for continuously keeping watch over myself and our family. I can only hope we are still making you proud and I am so excited for the day we meet again and I am able to feel your embrace once more. Thank you for always protecting me, it never goes unnoticed.


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