Synchronicity often speaks to me in nature through birds and animals and the changing of seasons. It also comes to me in other ways: book passages, movies, things people say, music, signs I see while traveling the roadways, and music to name a few. I have a musician friend who experiences synchronicity most often in music. She told me about a time when she was working at how to play Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" by ear, but just couldn't seem to find or remember the chords. Giving up for the time being, she posted the lyrics in her kitchen and went Christmas shopping. When she arrived at one of her favorite bookstores, "You've Got a Friend" came on over the intercom system, bringing back the lost cords to memory!
My friend’s meaningful music coincidence reminds me of a synchronicity of my own, having to do with music that was quite incredible. It happened during the time just preceding my
husband's death in 2008. Like many home caregivers of terminally ill individuals, I was concerned that the right amount of pain medication be given to ease my loved one’s pain, but not enough to make him comatose as he approached his final hour. His Hospice nurse and I discussed my feelings, and she suggested that "H" be transferred temporarily to a Hospice nursing home for a few days where the effect of the pain meds could be tested with equipment not available at home. H's death although close did not seem imminent to the Hospice staff. However, I still felt uncomfortable about him going to the center since I had promised that I would do all in my power to help him to die peacefully at home. I went to bed that evening thinking about the idea of transporting him to the nursing home for a few days. Part of me wanted to send him for testing, because he seemed to be slipping more and more into a state of delirium, and I wanted to be absolutely certain that it wasn’t the strong dosage of pain medication causing this. On the other hand, my dear husband was very weak and I felt that if he were to die in the nursing home, I would have gone back on my word to him. Anyone who has been the primary caregiver of a dying person can understand the dilemma in which I found myself.
The next morning, H was surprisingly lucid and asked to hear music on our local community radio station, WMNF, located at 88.5 on the FM dial – the station we generally listened to together before the physical and mental decline he experienced as the illness progressed. Lately, the music on the station had only served to agitate him in his current state of mind, so I rarely turned it on. I was happy to see him so alert and desiring to hear music, and thought, perhaps, my difficult decision could actually be averted altogether. I turned on the radio, and a very passionate song by singer/songwriter Conor Oberst was in the process of blaring away. The refrain went like this: I don’t wanna die in the hospital/No, I don’t wanna die in the hospital/No, No, I don’t wanna die in the hospital/You gotta take me back outside! Astounded, I looked back at H who had apparently not heard the verse as he slipped into unconsciousness almost as soon as the radio had been turned on. I will never know for sure if he heard the words to the song, but in that instance I knew that I had the answer to my dilemma: H would remain at home! Had he gone for testing, he most assuredly would have died in the Hospice nursing home, because he died exactly two days later.
As if that important message wasn't enough, the very next song on the station held meaning for me around H's death as well. It was Jackson Brown's For a Dancer. I had been looking for the right music for the memorial service, and this was it! The song was written for a friend of Browne’s that had recently passed away, and I and other family members who listened to it found it quite moving. The words perfectly fit aspects of my husband’s love of life and of dancing (he was always pulling me up on the dance floor ahead of everyone else). When played at his memorial, along with pictures highlighting his short but meaningful life, the song lyrics brought tears of bittersweet recognition to the eyes of everyone present: Keep a fire burning in your eye/Pay attention to the open sky/You never know what will be coming down/I don’t remember losing track of you/You were always dancing in and out of view/I must have thought you would always be around…
Do you have a special way that synchronicity speaks to you and grabs your attention? Or a story of meaningful coincidence that you would like to share here? Please feel free to post it in the Comments section of this blog.