Sunday, March 13, 2011

No coincidence

Friday was the anniversary of my father's death.  I didn't realize it until yesterday, thinking erroneously that he died on March 12.  For some reason I didn't sleep well Friday night.  I tossed and turned. Coincidence? Probably not.  Thinking about his death today reminded me of how restless I was on the right before he died.  Even though it has been a number of years since he died, my memory of those events are still so strong. 

I had been out of town at a meeting for the weekend.  On Sunday evening, I was tired from the drive back and the time spent at the meeting.  I knew that he had been operated on for prostate cancer.  But that seemed to be in remission following the operation.  I thought that he seemed in relatively good health, although he did suffer from COPD after years of smoking a pipe.

As I was lying in bed, I had a restlessness that persisted. I was thinking of my father and had this urge to go to see him.  My wife said that it wasn’t necessary and tried to discourage me from going, saying that I could see him tomorrow.  But I couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to go see him right then. So  I put on my clothes and called my parents and went over to see them. 

I talked with my father that evening,  and he told me that he wasn’t feeling too bad, a bit nauseous and aching some.  He talked about his mother whose picture was up on the wall.  She had died in her sleep, and he said that he would like to go like that as well--quickly and without any illness. He seemed okay, but there was still this feeling of dread that I had.  I couldn't understand why he was talking about the death of his mother.  As he sat in the old rocking chair, talking to me, he seemed sad.

Eventually, he told me to go home and get some sleep.  He also told me to be good to my wife and treat her well.  Those were his parting words. That was the last time that I saw him alive. I received a call at work the next morning from my mother saying that he had taken a nap after breakfast and died in his sleep. It was a devastating time for me.  And the feeling kept coming back that I was somehow meant to be there the night before--that it was not a coincidence. I also had a feeling that he perhaps knew that death was imminent.

I have heard that a coincidence is God remaining anonymous.  I believe that with the death of my father I was guided to be there with him the night before he died.  For me, it brought a sense of relief that I was there and had a good conversation with him.  It brought a type of closure that I came to understand many years later. It didn't lessen my grief, but it did make me realize that there is such a strong bond that connects us with those we love. And there is much that is unexplainable in the process of how we pass out of this life. 


  1. Wow...

    just wow.

    How lucky you are that you were given that last opportunity.

    I hope this day is a bright one for you. :)

  2. Blessings Syd. And thank you.

  3. Good thing you listened to your gut feeling and went to see your dad that night.

  4. Syd, so sorry for your loss. There is no time limit on grief. Breathe.

  5. Amazing post, Syd.
    March 5th marked 10 years since my dad's death. After that I lost a husband and then, last August, a younger brother. All three had cancer. I understand your feelings.

    Isn't it odd - and wonderful - how we often receive blessings around the death of a loved one?

  6. I believe it was devine too Syd! My grandpa's death was like that. My dad got a feeling that morning, we all gathered and spoke to him one by one just "catching up and chatting and sharing love" then he sat down for supper that afternoon, strangely the pastor of his church stopped by unexpected and as they sat after supper and a good gab grandpa dozed in his chair and never woke up.

    Peaceful way to go I'd say. A gift!

  7. How fortunate that he passed in his sleep and not in pain or fear. I know that it is still very hard, nonetheless, and I dread going through it with my own parents one day.

    Love you, Syd. I'm glad you saw him before he died.


  8. i am glad you got those closing moments...and i agree you were probably guided there..i am glad his closing words were filled with wisdom as makes for a good memory....

  9. Hi Syd - It's been a while since I said hello. I've been reading most of your posts. This one definitely spoke to me because my mother is dying from cancer.

    You're's no coincidence!

    Peace & Love...Sherry

  10. such an amazing story. I believe there are no coincidences. What a beautiful way to pass on to the next stage of life. My grandmother and my aunt passed on in their sleep as well. That is the way I wish it would be for everyone. It's wonderful that you listened to your intuition, that is a great gift to have.

  11. I lost my Dad inAug1984 and Mom Sept 2003. The last Father's day Dad and I spent together was great.I did finally manange to blast a holw in the invisible wall that seperated him and I.That day brought me closer to him than any other time. The last weekend he was alive he had Mom call me to come to take him to the hospital,it was the last thing that I did for him when he was alive.I miss him to this verry day.

  12. I don't believe in coincidence. I think everything, those little messages that we recieve or feelings that you must do something but you don't know why, are so important. I live my life listening to them and I know that I have figured out countless times why I needed to follow that urge to do something. I am glad you took notice of it and got to have a good conversation and closure with your dad before he passed.

  13. I miss my mother each day, even though it has been 20 years, and I do believe that those who are on the verge of dying know...I don't think that they share it with us, but I do believe they know.

    I also believe that inside when it's close to the time of those we love deaths...we remember and our bodies remember it ...

    Much peace to you and hopefully you are feeling more rested.

  14. I've learned to pay attention when I get those strong feelings, and not to talk myself out of them, no matter what someone else may say about it. (I've always loved that quote about coincidence and God.) I'm glad you followed your inner urgings, and went to see your father before he died.

  15. I understand this well. Also, my dad passed away 3 yr.s ago this Thurs., St. Patrick's Day. Before he passed, he was seeing his father and someone else(he didn't know who) in the room, ...his father had died decades before. I knew from that that he didn't have much longer, and he was 93 and failing at that point. There certainly is something more than we can see physically,..that's for sure.

    I also had such an urgent feeling like you're describing when I "knew" something was wrong when our son first went away to a wilderness program, due to his addiction. I found out later that he'd been having a crisis type of experience right at the time I had the feeling. My feeling was sudden but very strong.

    Thank you for sharing this and sorry for the loss of your father.

  16. Oh, Syd. So much here. I will say that our bodies remember, even when "we" do not. I have been reminded of that many times.
    You and I differ, I think, on our definitions of a higher power, but I think that we share many beliefs in common and perhaps, definitions are merely that. I always appreciate your perspective and I wish you and C. peace and health.

  17. You know Syd, it is very common for people, even when they don't know they will soon leave this life, to reminisce about their lives and their experiences. It is actually a beautiful gift for the living to be given those memories. Your dad's passing sounds like it had God's guiding force all over it. How loved you both are that it was something orchestrated by a power greater than either of you and you got to be with him one last time before he left. How wise you are to listen to those inner urgings. Loved this beautiful post Syd. Thanks for sharing.

  18. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I honor the anniversary of your father's passing and the lovely imprint that it's left upon you.

  19. A coincidence is God remaining anonymous. I love that.

    I do believe God guides us. I've had similar experiences in which I've had an unexplained urge to do something and felt later that God had put me just where I needed to be. I also believe people sometimes know when their time is at hand.

    What a blessing to have had that last encounter with your dad. What a blessing that he got to go just as he said he wanted.

    I will remember you in my prayers through this anniversary time. Thanks for sharing.

  20. What an amazing opportunity you had with your father. Also, what a blessing you listen to that inner voice.

    Thank you for sharing.


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