Serendipity can explain many perplexing life phenomena
Serendipity Sophie thought as she hurried up the tight spiral staircase and knocked on the bedroom door where her sister was staying. Thoughts raced through her mind during what seemed like an eternity before Marianne opened the door. ‘Would you like to come with Anna, Flavia and I to try to find our Oma Alida’s grave?’
Marianne’s jaw dropped as she followed her older sister downstairs. ‘Where did that idea come from?’
‘Well, I’d never seen Flavia’s shared house and last year, Tante Bea tried to show me where the grave was located using the maps on my tablet computer.’ Sophie’s eyes sparkled as she turned to her younger sister. ‘When Anna said the name of the village she is taking Flavia home to – it was like a light went on in my head.’
Marianne’s eyes widened, ‘Really? The exact same village?’
‘Yep. We’ve already been shown so many examples of Mum and Dad’s angels making our trip extra special in so many ways…’ Sophie eyed her sister to check she was on the same wavelength. ‘It might be time to tell you about my amazing experience a few days after I found out about Oma Alida for the first time…’
‘When? Do you mean the first time you came to Holland?’
Sophie nodded and her body relaxed, ‘Yes, exactly. Soon after I got up but I was still in the privacy of my little attic room – I had this feeling that Oma Alida’s spirit entered my body!’
‘Wow, what was it like?’ Marianne’s mouth remained open.
‘Just like energy being absorbed by my heart. A thought of “Oma Alida’s spirit has just entered me” stuck in my mind for quite a while when I had quiet time to myself.’
‘We’ve been learning a lot about Karma and Reincarnation at the yoga training course I just did in India.’ Marianne continued to explain more of the philosophy till Sophie suggested that they better join their cousins who were waiting to plan the day ahead.
As they both entered the living area, Sophie announced that her sister was also interested to find the grave.
‘OK, I’ll just confirm with Flavia.’ Anna began signing with her daughter who is deaf and watching TV in between her study assignments. ‘Yes, she would like to help us find the right institution too.’
‘It’s amazing that Flavia just happens to live right in the same village where her great Oma was buried.’ Sophie exclaimed, jumping around to face Anna as she sat down. ‘If you’d not invited me to Flavia’s place, I would have not thought to look for the grave.’ She opened the map program, typed in the village name and with the picture in her mind’s eye, zoomed in on the large green areas next to the motorway to Nijmegen and pointed, ‘Your mum found it on here in a few minutes. She is amazing considering that it is more than thirty years since her last visit to the place for the funeral.’
Anna peered at Sophie’s tablet computer, ‘You know, one of Flavia’s jobs is to deliver papers all over the town, so she knows the area well.’
Sophie looked around to her sister with an exaggerated jaw drop, mouthing ‘Oh my goodness.’
Marianne nodded, ‘Another coincidence. We’re having rather a lot of serendipity happening here – wow.’
After an hour’s drive on the motorway, they entered the narrow brick streets of the quaint little village where Flavia lived. She directed us to the front entrance of the property where Oma Alida lived for the last year of her life but chose to stay in the car while the sisters and their cousin explored.
‘I’m going to take a photo of the map and index of the various buildings.’ Sophie announced excitedly then hurried to the sign-board in the car park, as the others followed in a relaxed manner. ‘Look that must be the building which was visible from the motorway, and which I’ve seen in a photo that Tante Emmanuelle’s husband showed me,’ she pointed to the far corner at the top.
‘And here is the gravesite’ her Dutch cousin added.
‘Shall we go around in that order?’
‘Fine by me,’ Marianne murmured ‘It’s your passion.’
They wandered across to a long rectangular, concrete-edged lake, photographed the ducks and reflection of the gazebo at the far end, while Anna found a statue of the nuns who had established the huge property and lived in the convent. ‘Look it says how long they were here.’
‘1853 to 1992. Wow! Almost a hundred and fifty years.’ Marianne exclaimed as she and Sophie took photos.
Thoughts eluded Sophie as she watched things unfold like in a dream. They walked in silence, somewhat over-awed. The day was overcast, but perfectly still. ‘Calm. Not excited or showing any emotion.’ She mused to the others. ‘That’s how Tante Bea always described Oma Alida coming down the hallway for their visiting time together.’ The pensive pace and mood was like that of the sisters’ Monet exhibition visit in Switzerland, but on this occasion, Sophie was happy to spend as much time as the others wanted and had no other places to visit afterward.
Secretly, Sophie was apprehensive about seeing the grave. Having just buried their mother three months earlier, she’d avoided visiting her grave, especially as it was just a mound of ground as they waited for the earth to settle for a year. On the anniversary of her dad’s birthday the previous year, her sisters had organised a family gathering at the gravesite and Sophie felt very confronted by the tiny cross with his name. She was comforted by the little animal statue Marianne had put next to the temporary wooden cross and the fact that that there wasn’t a big tombstone – still waiting the year. So, she wasn’t racing to the graveyard where Alida lay now either – exactly the opposite; unconscious fearful feelings lurked in the back of her mind.
She focussed on their commentary about points of interest as they walked. On turning into a single roadway with tall deciduous trees lining the roadway, Marianne sighed, ‘Well, it certainly is a nice place to spend the end of your life. So peaceful.’
How many examples of serendipity can you identify in your life?
Footnote:- This is the first chapter of Part 2 which describes how strange things continue to happen to Sophie as she continues to search in other places for more insight into how what happened to Alida – could have occurred.
Part 2 is set in the annual holiday of the following year to Part 1 and includes many different characters.
Sophie’s sister Marianne had accompanied her to visit their recently deceased mother’s homeland and what remained of the family. They were staying with their cousin, Anna, due to Bea having to move from her home of 40 years to be closer to her children as she had relied on cycling seven kilometres just to buy basics like milk. After she had fallen off her bicycle, she had resumed cycling; however, her confidence was a little shaken. Winter was always hazardous, and her caution increased after the accident, so she had to rely on the neighbours to get food – but she avoided asking – due to “not wanting to be a burden.”