I had a chance encounter or coincidence or a “it was meant to happen” moment today with mum’s oncologist. I hadn’t seen her since the day mum decided to stop her treatment and live her remaining days with quality, rather than in a chemo induced sickness that wasn’t working.
We first met mums Oncologist, Dr H (I’ve shortened her name as I’m not sure if she would be ok for me to use her full name or not), very early on mum’s and our cancer journey. The moment I met her I recognised the familiar face as she had also been the treating oncologist for another of my family members (who also sadly passed away but from breast cancer).
Dr H isn’t someone that you would look at and think was an oncologist. To be honest, I don’t really know what they are supposed to look like. Perhaps someone in a white lab coat with grey curly hair and looks like a scientist? I don’t know. But she surprised me. She was “normal”. Dressed nicely but not to the nines; had kids similar ages to me, so probably wasn’t much older than me. She was someone that told you how it was, no fluffing around or beating around the bush, just straight to the point. This is why I likened to her immediately. No bullshit, just how it was.
This was especially the case for time I made an appointment with her to have the “how long is a piece of string” discussion (see previous blog post). She laid it all on the line for me, answered my hard questions with truth and honesty; that is what I asked of her and she didn’t shy away from that.
Mum and Dr H had a love hate relationship over the enduring 3 or so years of treatment. Mum with her stubborn streak often telling her point blank that she wasn’t doing something; didn’t want to hear something she had to say and telling her point blank how she felt. Dr H in return told mum directly the whys, hows and whats – point blank. I think this is why they got on so well. They were on a level playing field.
Dr H established “Restore Program“, a series of wellness and support care workshops for cancer sufferers. This was a program that mum wanted to be involved in, but was unable to attend any of the workshops. Mum’s charity of choice at her funeral was for Restore; she wanted any donations made to go to this much needed and highly regarded program. This was a true indication of the bond that mum and Dr H formed and the respect they had for each other.
So my “moment” that I had this morning took place at my gym. Today was the first session I had planned with my Personal Trainer and we decided 9am was the best time. I normally go in the evenings, so this was a bit of change of routine for me. I arrived about 10 minutes early and started warming up on the cross trainer. There was another trainer and client doing a boxing session that I was half watching while trying not to fall off the trainer. When it finished I took a glance at the client and wondered if it was Dr H as she looked familiar. I quietly asked the trainer if it was as I didn’t want to embarrass myself. She turned around and we immediately recognised each other straight away. I felt terribly overwhelmed that out of all the thousands of patients and families she must see, that she remembered my name and mums. I had to get off the cross trainer at this point as I was wobbly and getting teary.
Her next comment blew me away.
“I was only thinking of Leoni and you just this morning. I was trying to thread a needle to sew a button on, and I thought of your mum and all the sewing she did; and of you and how you were getting on. And now you are here.”
I was in awe that her trying to thread a needle bought a memory of mum. I was in pure wonder that she had thought of me only hours earlier and then by coincidence I was there, and she was there, unexpectedly at the same time. I had tears in my eyes and we had a sweaty hug.
What does this mean? I have no idea! I’ve said before that I struggle with the “spiritual” side of death, and why things do or don’t happen. When I googled the words “coincidence spiritual” I ended up on Deepak Chopra’s web page where he describes “Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny.” I don’t know what my true destiny is. But I do know that there have been many people come in to my life since mum passed that have guided me and impacted my life significantly. They have been instrumental in pulling me out of the darkness and sadness; and they have been gently taking me towards what I am doing now. Is this what my true destiny is? It strengthens my resolve that there is something there. I do believe that things happen for a reason, that you meet people for a reason and you lose people for a reason. There is always a reason and it might not be clear at the time; but when I sit and look back I can see it. I wonder what my coincident today means? This is the question I will continue to ponder until I have the answer; however long it takes for me to find.
Are you a believer of coincidences and fate; of things spiritual?