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Coincidence or Connection

Coincidence or Connection

Coincidence or Connection – How Grief Can Awaken Our Capacity to Notice Connections Between Seemingly Unrelated Events

Have you ever experienced an event that struck you as just a bit odd at the time – and then something else happens later and you look back on that original event and can’t help but wonder if it was connected in some way?

Some call it coincidence. But I’m really starting to wonder if these seemingly random events are connected in some way – and if so, perhaps it might be in our best interest to slow down and start paying attention?

In my case, it was grief that awakened in me the possibility that seemingly random events just might be more connected than our rational minds would care to admit.

On Friday September 22nd, 2000, my husband, John, and I were spending the day at Disneyland. We’d attended a friend’s wedding in the morning and then had the rest of the day to run around Disneyland like a couple of over-sized kids. We had a hoot!

When the time came to watch the fireworks, though, John and I were standing on a curb, waiting for the show to begin and we happen to notice an entire family – Mom, Dad, two kids and Grandma – all wearing matching yellow Winnie the Pooh jackets.

Just before the fireworks started, Pooh Grandma suddenly decided to walk right in front of me and John – and promptly collapsed, landing on her back. John, being a police officer in Pacific Dreamscapes of San Diego immediately kneeled down to help her as I ran off into the crowd calling for help.

When I returned, John was still kneeling beside her, holding her hand and comforting her. She was breathing but not conscious. The paramedics arrived and as we were walking away, John looked at me said, “Wow, did that lady ever hit the back of her head hard.”

“Things like that,” I said, “aren’t supposed to happen at the Happiest Place on Earth.”

Then, exactly one week later – September 29th, 2000 – back home again in Canada, John responded to a suspected break and enter call at a warehouse with his partner, Lil. They waited for the Poway roofing services K-9 unit to arrive. When the K-9 officer, Darren, and his dog arrived on scene, John went into the building with them to clear it.

But since the dog couldn’t climb the ladder to check out the mezzanine level, John did. At the top of the ladder, he stepped onto the landing and then, flashlight in hand, he stepped from that safe surface onto an unsafe surface – an unmarked false ceiling – and fell through into the lunchroom below. There was no safety railing to warn him, or anyone else, of the danger.

Although it was only a nine foot fall, the back of John’s head struck the concrete with enough force that he stopped breathing. Darren found him in the lunchroom and immediately started CPR. Lil, John’s Sergeant and several other officers found them in the lunchroom and stayed with John, comforting him until EMS arrived.

Several hours later, John was announced legally brain dead. We were both 32. There ended up being no intruder in the warehouse; it was a false alarm.

A few days later, while doing yet another devastatingly difficult task – choosing John’s burial spot at the cemetery – I found a place I thought was suitable and then closed my eyes a moment, just to get a feel for it. When I opened my eyes again, I turned my head to the right and there, four plots over, was a yellow Winnie the Pooh carved into a young woman’s headstone. I breathed in sharply – and I knew I’d found John’s final resting place.

Two months later, Lil and I went for lunch and she shared with me the details of John’s last shift. When she got to John’s fall and how all the officers had been with him in the lunchroom, comforting him as best they could, she reached over and took my hand.

“You need to know,” she said quietly, “that he was with people who loved him.”

I thought back again to Pooh Grandma at Disneyland and how John, a stranger, had been there to comfort her.

Then, on the third anniversary of John’s death – September 29th, 2003 – Lil was working and she went into a flower shop to buy flowers for John’s grave. Noticing Lil’s uniform, the woman behind the till commented, “My daughter is buried near a police officer.”

“Oh?” said Lil.

“I’m not sure if it’s the same officer,” said the woman, “but my daughter’s gravestone is the one with Winnie the Pooh on it.”

And that is in a city of more than a million people. If it’s just a coincidence, it’s a dandy.

In the summer of 2008, I finally finished the manuscript for my book, A Widow’s Awakening. After dozens of rewrites and an ocean of tears, I felt the manuscript was where it needed to be…almost. Just before going to publication, I happen to be reading Jack Kerouac’s classic, On the Road, and came across the line: “And don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear?”

I breathed in sharply. I knew I’d found the quote for the beginning of the book.

“Meaning is always in reference to something bigger than you.”

– Osho


For more information on related topics, please contact DFS Private Wealth, the author of Managing Alone and founder of We are here to help and answer any questions you have. Should you need a connection to a professional in your area we would be happy to make the introduction for you to someone you can trust. Contact Us today.


  1. sandy  August 10, 2015

    I have had a few ” coincidences happen to me since my fiances death in july 2014. and on the day of his death itself. i would love to share them in a email to the author of this book if thats possible. thank you

  2. sandy  August 10, 2015

    my fiance and i went on a trip 24 days before he died. i like amish people , i find them as good people. so on our way home we a went to a amish village, he wanted to see the train display and he wanted me to see amish country. ( he said to me baby im taking you to amish country cause i know you like them) so anyway the day he died was very strange and i didnt realize it till afterwards cause i went in shock. he came home , i was puttering around making coffee, i didnt look at him, he was standing in the doorway to the kitchen. he said ” hot day for a bike ride ” i said yes baby it is ” . still didnt look at him ( dont know why ). he was staring at me ( which i didnt really think about till after his death) so he started walking upstairs and i said to him ” you going for a nap ? love u baby ill call u in a couple of hours”. so after a while i went to watch tv and a movie came on about amish people. i thought ” i should go tell henry ” then i thought no ill let him sleep. five minutes into the movie a baby dies……… so i finish the movie and go to wake henry and find him dead… yes my fiance the love of my life my soulmate dead. so i call 911 and i go in shock. dont remeber much after that. took me months to realize that day was meant to happen. the coroner told me henry died within 5 minutes of going upstairs, heart attack in his sleep, heat stroke related. i feel guilty i didnt go up with him, why is that ????? dont know. i just know god has a plan apparently or so im told henry was meant to die that day at that time. i dont know why. oh and we had a ongoing joke me and him about july 28, it was our thing. a couple of months before he died i said something is gonna happen july 28. then i said thats the day we are getting married in the know what day i buried him ? july 28. so for the rest of my life july 28 will be the day i buried the love of my life ( oh and i was his too, he called me his little blue eyes and said it was the first time in his life he was in love.) and the day i was to marry the love of my life. july 28. end of life and start of life. god has a sick sense of humor. i miss henry so much. im empty inside and feel dead without him. sorry for rambling.


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