These two photos – my maternal Grandmother, Gogi, in Harbour Island, Bahamas, 1957. My kids and I in Harbour Island, 2009. Both trips and photos were taken right after losing our full-term babies. I had no idea that Gogi had gone there after her loss when we chose it for our trip. I’ll never forget telling my Mom on the phone where we had decided to go – her sudden silence said it all.
I spoke to my Mom and my Aunts a lot before leaving about Gogi’s time on Harbour Island. We did some research and found names and details of where Gogi stayed and with whom. There seemed to be a lot of signs that I was headed to the right place – a few other, what I will call, ‘non-coincidences’:
• I was told to check out a sand dance bar club called “Gusti’s” – which is my son’s nickname
• My son’s other nickname is Gogi, created my his little sister when she was a baby
• Our baby, Bazil, that died – his due date was my Grandmother’s birthday (April 13)
• My Grandmother’s mom, Baba – my Great Grandmother, died on that same day (April 13)
• Before I left, I was in touch with the son of the woman who Gogi stayed with while in Harbour Island. He described to me a “colourful character on the island by the name of Basil Aldbury” – same name as our baby
“If you think it’s a coincidence you are not looking close enough.”
Someone close to me once opened my eyes to seeing coincidences this way, and I’ve never looked at happenings with connections the same way since. I’m not saying exactly what ‘no coincidences’ means, you’ll have to dig deep within to find the answer yourself. It would be too easy for someone else to tell you (it’s never that easy). You might find yourself wondering do things happen for a reason, or our paths – are they predetermined? I know many believe that in a past life we choose how our life will be on earth, that we even choose our parents; was I meant to help my Mom and her siblings heal? Did my Grandmother’s tragedy happen to help me find strength? The circle of life (my beloved O.B. told me that we are closest to our Grandparents on the circle of life) – Gogi helping me with my grief long after she’d left us here on earth, etc… Taking this approach and belief in life gave me strength and helped me feel that everything was just a bit more ok.
My Aunt Margot told me on numerous occasions how my tragedy and open grieving had helped her and her siblings to deal with their mom’s tragedy and the grief they had bottled up from decades ago (since losses and grieving were handled differently). Words can’t describe how powerful it was (and is) to be apart of something that affected three generations of our family, actually four generations – our kids too, who also saw and felt the beauty, strength and growth from all of this. We started to see the gifts Bazil was giving us. That little boy of mine – forever my teacher. I’ve learned so much about myself and life from him. The power of keeping an open mind and open heart – so powerful, and sometimes exhausting, but so completely worth it.
So, this all-too-familiar photo of my Grandmother captivates me every time I walk past it in my house. I still take quiet moments and find comfort looking at it knowing that there are no coincidences in life.