On the drive to Connecticut this weekend I listened to an episode of This American Life about coincidences
. Several stories of coincidences were told, some rally excellent, others nothing special. One idea they explored was that when a coincidence happens to you, you view it more significantly or remember it more than when you hear about a similar coincidence happening to someone else.
It got me thinking of a coincidence that happened to my parents last year.
When I was very little we lived in Jinja, Uganda, where my parents had been living for several years before I was born. My parents divorced here in the US, and my father remarried here.
My stepmother had never been to Africa. Last year, my dad planned a long vacation for the two of them to Uganda and Tanzania, to show her all the places and things from his past. They were going to see wildlife, and nature, and the cities, and visit Jinja and see if our former house was still there.
In the spring my stepmother's mother was diagnosed with cancer, and it was clearly going to be fatal within a year, so my parents cancelled the trip. While she was still here, they weren't going anywhere. As it turned out, the cancer progressed very quickly, and she died three months later, in the summer, during the time that they would've been in Africa.
Her final few days were right on the dates when, if they'd gone to Africa, my parents would've been in Jinja. Spending those days at the hospital with her, they met her nighttime caretaker, who'd become good friends with my stepgrandmother in a short time. A young woman from Jinja, Uganda. She and my dad traded stories, and when he described where we'd lived, she knew the street and recognized the description and told him the house was still there.
[ My parents did go to Africa this winter and did most of what they'd planned for the summer trip. ]
Tell a story of a coincidence you know of? One that happened to someone else, who told you about it, and you remembered it.