A few weeks ago I was sitting on a bench outside our local shopping mall I had stopped to give Rose a sandwich before we headed home as it was nice weather for a change.
There was a woman parked in a car close by who’s teenage daughter I watched get out and run on into the shops. The lady sat in her car for a while and then got out and came and sat beside us. We got chatting and it transpired that her daughter’s new phone, a Christmas present, had stopped working and she had gone in to get it fixed while Mum waited.
All very normal and ordinary.
We talked further and she asked how old my little one was and did I have any other children, so I told her I did and then returned the question, as you do.
The lady told me she had six children, five living and one in heaven; her oldest son had tragically died in a car accident just over two and a half years ago.
And then it dawned on me that I knew of her son and the accident.
My husband owns a building firm so we know lots of other builders in the area. They are quite friendly with one another and pass each other work from time to time. A couple of years ago two young lads were killed in a car accident not far from where we live and having known them my husband had asked me to go and take some flowers to the place where they died as a mark of respect.
I remember it vividly because I was around 8 months pregnant at the time. I pulled my car up opposite to the lamp post the boys had crashed into, dashed across the road and tied our bunch of flowers next to a dangling pair of boxing gloves and the many other flowers that had been left.
I explained to the lady that my husband knew her son and his friend and that I was so very sorry for her loss. She seemed to take great comfort in knowing that my husband knew her boy and asked me all about how they knew each other, what my husband does for a living and had he ever worked with her son and so on.
Just as I was about to leave she bent down and stroked Rose’s cheek and pressed a 50 pence piece into her chubby little hand, saying to her ‘what’s your name?’
‘Dose’ she replied.
‘It’s Rose’ I told her.
She said someone had left a beautiful bunch of yellow and red roses at the roadside where her son died but she never had the chance to thank them.
I told her it was me that had left the roses that day.
At which point she completely broke down sobbing, telling me when she was sitting in her car something was urging her to get out and talk to me. That she was just so drawn to me. She explained that she visits her son’s graveside daily and that she feels he is with her always.
Call it what you will, a serendipitous meeting, a massive coincidence or maybe, just maybe it is something completely unexplainable.
Whatever it is, it completely stopped me in my tracks.