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Tell us about your loved one.
Aldo, I called him AJ, was so self confident. He was a hard worker and usually excelled at what he chose to do. Being the youngest of 3 boys he was somewhat spoiled... but not in a bad way. The older boys were in school by the time he was born, so I had him all to myself and enjoyed him immensely. We were always very close when he was a young boy. School was a happy time, although homework was always an issue ..haha.. He was in the gifted and talented program, loved to play baseball and developed his passion for skiing starting at the age of 4. We have a large Italian family so much of his time was centered around food... and family! He loved both. Aldo enjoyed cooking, not daily, but he did appreciate the art. As a child, we often took him on vacations centered around a beach... be it on a cruise, Cancun, Ocean City in Maryland or in his later years Florida. He loved the water..swimming, scuba diving and oh, lest I forget, the jet ski...how he and his Dad or brothers would always be on the jet ski! Maybe he loved the thrill of it, or maybe he just loved the serenity, perhaps a little of both. After he passed away I found a certificate from his sky diving experience...I don't remember him telling me about that..I know I would have freaked out! We moved to Florida when he was 14. His brothers were in college in NY... my husband and I hoped they would relocate there also when finished with school..but that did not happen. So with the large extended family still in NY, and our other sons, we chose to move back to NY after 6 years. Aldo decided to finish up college in Florida. He didn't finish college, got a job instead, hung out with his friends and of course had a few girlfriends. After a couple of years he decided to move back to NY, with his girlfriend and they moved in with us. Oh how wonderful it felt to have the whole family together again. He was fun and it was great to have him home.
Tell us about Aldo's struggle with addiction
I knew he smoked pot. AJ was brutally honest..well about most things anyway. He told me about pot, he talked to me about girlfriends, sometimes things I really didn't want to know! I could tell he was high sometimes and I asked him repeatedly if he was using anything stronger and he swore, " no, no...that's not for me." The girlfriend was on prescription drugs for depression so she always seemed spacey...it worried us, she had a "dark side." They returned to Florida within the year because she wasn't happy in NY. It wasn't till a year later, when we got a phone call saying AJ had ben arrested, that we found out about HIS prescription pill problem. Addiction, I should say, He had gotten into a car accident and had found a Dr. that gave him pain medication and he took it for a long time, both he and his girlfriend were addicted. He had a good job as a pharmacy technician and had just gotten his pharmacy technician's license. But it was like a kid in the proverbial candy store. He had gotten caught stealing pills, a lot of them. We bailed him out, I flew down to get him a lawyer and see about bringing him back to NY...to 'save him.' The girlfriend chose not to come. He started a drug program here and was doing really well for a couple of months. Then he dropped that program, he didn't like it for some reason and was trying to get into another. He was on probation, no jail time, mandated drug program so getting into one was imperative. Another girlfriend. Family wedding in Jamaica on 7/20/13, he couldn't go because of probation. Girlfriend's dad bought them a weekend at the Marriott to celebrate their birthdays for the weekend we were away. They went into the city on Friday morning, he overdosed that night. After his death, reading his text messages, we found out he started using heroin about 2 months earlier, supposedly occasionally the girlfriend said. We never knew. I had suspected he was high at times but thought he was getting tested at probation.
What made Aldo smile?
Lots of things made AJ smile. He loved the outdoors. Snow, loved to ski. Sun and water, loved the beach. He adored his niece and nephews...and his dog, MO. He loved to get his back scratched. When he liked something he would smile this great big grin and say, "sweet.' Arangini (rice balls) were one of his favorite foods, along with steak and king crab. He enjoyed salad with chicken and like his Mom, liked to go out to eat and shop. He loved to watch tv and especially loved to watch his beloved YANKEES. Twitter was always afire with his sports commentaries on baseball. In the last few months, his girlfriend Katie made him smile. I hope I made him smile too...I know I did when he was little. He loved his Dad and brothers dearly. He told me when I went to get him in Fl. ," a lot of my friends use drugs to escape, I don't. I have a great family, great parents, a great childhood.. I just liked it." Little did I know how important those words would become to me.
What do you miss most about Aldo?
I miss everything about him, but what I miss the most is his voice. I don't have a recording of it anywhere to be found. I miss my baby. I miss him putting his arm around me, patting my shoulder and leaning down to tell me, don't worry Mom, everything will be ok. I even miss telling him to clean up the bathroom! Every time I look at those shower doors, I wish I could see the water marks he left behind because he did not use the squeegee! What I would give for his messy room again...
I miss seeing him, hugging him, talking to him. I even miss him being upset with me... it never lasted too long, he always came around. I miss him when I have cell phone issues or computer issues...he was the one to help me out there too. I just miss him so much it hurts...and that's not half as bad as when it hits me that he's never coming back...that's killing me. "