A Tale of Remarkable Coincidence

I am one of eight million people living in London and there must be a few million landline telephones beginning with the city’s 020 code. What are the odds of a complete stranger mistakenly phoning my number from 500 miles away, and then revealing information that ends my search for a long lost friend?

As I arrived home on Wednesday afternoon, my home telephone was ringing. I’ve been struggling with a little anxiety over unknown numbers, so answering can often be a challenge.

To my relief, I realised the caller had the wrong number, although the woman was very friendly and explained how she is elderly and partially sighted.

I’m from Scotland and my caller had a very soft Scottish accent, so in no time we were conversing like old acquaintances. Neither of us could guess the remarkable turn our conversation was about to take.

“Where in Scotland are you from?” I asked.

“I’m from Montrose.”

“Oh that’s a real coincidence…”

It was as if a dam exploded inside my brain and all the memories came flooding back at once. Anne is a very special person and there was a time when it was hard to imagine our lives apart. But, my sexuality became the elephant in the room and our intended marriage was slowly squeezed out.

While friends shunned my sexuality and the Church stood in judgement, Anne remained by my side. Perhaps she secretly feared her selfless love would ultimately spell our demise, but she continued to help me understand that I was still the same worthy person, regardless of sexual preference.

“I used to visit Montrose with a friend back in the 1980’s… at the time, we lived in Perth.” I told the caller.

“Oh, I was born just outside Perth.”

“Wow, this is amazing. You might know the college I attended in Perth, St Paul’s?”

“Yes, of course I know St Paul’s.”

There are over 60 million people in the UK and it almost felt scary to consider if this random caller knew Anne. We had remained close friends for another 19 years, but then she married in 1995 and we both relocated to opposite ends of the country. Anne had been on my mind a lot lately, but internet searches had proven fruitless.

It was highly unlikely this random caller knew her, but it was worth a shot. “Did you ever meet the woman who took charge of St Paul’s in the early 90’s, her name’s Anne G.?” I held my breath.

“Oh my goodness, this is very strange indeed, I used to meet Anne in Perth Theatre.”

I quickly went into overdrive with a barrage of questions spilling from my mouth, but something about the caller’s hesitancy sank to the pit of my stomach.

“Um… Oh… I am so sorry, but Anne died… and it’s only within the last year.”

I felt utterly devastated. She must be mistaken. “Are you sure?”

“Oh yes, I am certain because Anne’s stepdaughter is married to our minister.”

It took me a couple of hours to come to terms with the news and the synchronicity of the call is extraordinary and quite difficult to grasp. After all this time, I finally found a direct link to Anne, albeit through her stepdaughter, Julie, who confirmed Anne passed away in February 2014.

For whatever unexplained reasons, I was destined to hear this very sad news. My mind is awash with memories of a time when life was the opposite of what it became, but that is another post entirely.

Only the names and location of this story are changed.

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75 thoughts on “A Tale of Remarkable Coincidence

  1. Priceless Joy

    That is totally amazing Cat! I think it was Anne’s way of getting in touch with you again. How else would such an incredible thing occur? I’m sorry to hear that your friend had passed away. But I am glad that you were able to find out about her (and as far as I’m concerned, even hear from her). Amazing.

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  2. Ellen

    Wow, what a coincidence. And what sad news. It must make you feel a bit more connected to your past though? I personally like having connections that reach back, even if there is sadness involved.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Truthfully, Ellen, it has meant everything to me personally and couldn’t have come at a better time in therapy. I realised that I’ve been so consumed by MH, I completely lost sight of the person I once was. I know we change, but the essence of that person was long forgotten and this has been a meaningful trip down that road. I am afraid to tell anyone about it because it just sounds so unreal. This person was calling from 500miles away and what makes it even stranger is that I just changed my number a few weeks ago. This caller was asking for “acorn video’s” and the strange thing is, it happened again yesterday, only this time a man asked for acorn videos. Obviously my new number is similar to this acorn business, but if I hadn’t changed my number, I would never have heard from this mysterious caller. It’s amazing and I couldn’t not share it with my blogging chums. It turns out, my late friends stepdaughter (who had never even heard of me) is the local GP and her husband the church of Scotland minister. The lady who called me is one of their parishioners. Thanks Ellen

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      1. Ellen

        I think also there is a way we change, and a way we remain the same throughout our lives, and we need some links to our past for that reason. The coincidence does seem ‘providential’ somehow, though in general I don’t believe…So glad this is so meaningful for you.

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  3. drgeraldstein

    My condolences for your loss, Cat, even at a distance of time and miles. Your story bears a similarity to the novela “Reunion,” by Fred Uhlman. I’m glad, at least, the loss was grist for the therapeutic mill.

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  4. therabbitholez

    Incredible, amazing, wow, it just goes to show how small the world really is.

    To have found and lost your friend in a space of a few minutes, is terribly sad, however her unwavering support at a time when you needed it most will be with you always.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, it was just like a whirlwind had struck in seconds, elation and deep sadness almost simultaneously. It made me look at other tales of coincidence online and there are a few good ones that make you realise sometimes these things just happen. Nevertheless, it was good to remember and reconnect with a part of myself I forgot all about, it has been great for therapy! Thanks Cay

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Amber, yes, I’m in touch with her stepdaughter and even more coincidental is that we had already met over 30yrs ago before I met Anne and it turns out we are friends with the same person in Scotland, quite an amazing experience. Thanks Amber. Did you have a nice break away?

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      1. sensuousamberville

        It was a great vacation Mr. Cat. 🙂

        You had an amazing experience, a random missdial (is that a word?) leading to her daughter and yet another friend rediscovered. You can have tea and crumpets together, not sure why anyone wants to do that… 😉

        How has this left you feeling?

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        1. Cat Post author

          It comes at an amazing time in therapy. I’ve been able to see past all the MH stuff that came later in life and remember the person that enjoyed life in every way… and tea and crumpets isn’t for me either, but I wouldn’t survive without coffee and the odd smoke (but don’t tell anyone)

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  5. mandy

    This is so amazing, Cat. They say there is really no such thing as coincidence, maybe so, but I am a firm believer in serendipity. A few million people and YOUR number rings? Anne sounds like she must have been a special girl. That she stayed by your side in understanding, even though her world must have been knocked off kilter, too…a love story, really, and I can see why she would have come to mind at times. I wonder what a conversation with Julie would be like. Would Anne have mentioned you? I have this niggling feeling that Anne dropped in to help in your journey, to remind you of the awesome guy she knew you were. It’s scary, I’m sure. This is a really beautiful story, Cat. I say go for it. It seems to be indicating there might be a road back to the old, Cat. Though I think you’re becoming the totally new and improved, version, lol!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Mandy, have you ever read any of Deepak Chorpra books? There’s one called “Synchronicity” where he writes, there is no such thing as coincidence…
      I spoke to the stepdaughter, Julie, by email and then she phoned me at the weekend. Anne never mentioned me to her, but it turned out we had already met over 30yrs ago before I even met Anne AND we are actually friends with the same person in Scotland. There was so much came from, this but it was too long to write in a post
      While I am no longer Christian, I do believe in some kind of afterlife and like to think Anne had a part to play in this experience. Poor girl was seriously ill and died within 10mths of an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Sounds like she had little time to think about other people, but she’s making up for it now!
      Thank you, Mandy 🙂

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      1. mandy

        I haven’t read Deepak’s books, but listen to his meditation tapes-love him. I’m in awe of this story, Cat. It certainly makes you think there is something more in after this life–even it’s just a spirit world. Anne is certainly wherever “it” is! And so very cool. I’m sorry she had to suffer-I know that kind of cancer is quick and furious. But she’s at peace now, busy doing good things.

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        1. Cat Post author

          I read most of Dr Brian Weiss books on afterlife and he stumbled upon it through hypnotherapy and people apparently remembering past lives. His books are amazing and really feel convincing that there is some kind of energy from within us that lives on, for a wee while, anyway.
          Anne had a strong faith and was very spiritual, so I’m sure she’s floating around there somewhere lol. Thanks Mandy

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    1. Cat Post author

      It was quite a whirlwind of emotions in such a short space of time, but it feels wonderful to have the experience. Thanks, Lynette

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  6. Jean

    What a torrent of emotions you must be feeling! I can’t help thinking that this amazing phone call was a really good thing for you. Only time will tell how healing it will be but I am glad for you, and really sorry Anne is dead and you can’t see her again. She sounds like a wonderful person.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Jean, you’re spot on, this has been an amazing experience and it reaches far deeper than I could ever imagine. The essence of who I am has been lost in all the mess of MH, but this has certainly helped me to focus past the turmoil. Many thanks for your kind thoughts

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  7. Andi

    Oh wow. This is such an incredible story. I’m sorry it ended in bad news, but it sorta feels as though Anne may have played a role in some way.

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  8. fromthedarkintothesunshine42

    Hi cat I’m so sorry for not keeping in contact lately and reading your blog ..much has taken over this side!

    I’m glad I got to read your blog today It’s so very sad I’m sorry to hear your news …
    how are you these days ?
    lisa

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Lisa, no worries, I am way behind on blog reading too. I am doing not too bad, currently on a therapy holiday, which is a bit of a relief. Thanks Lisa. How are you doing?

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Sharon, without a doubt it was meant to happen. Anne was a very spiritual person and committed Christian and it just feels so “right” Many thanks, Sharon

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      1. Sharon Alison Butt

        I’m glad it feels right to you Cat. God loves you dearly no matter what stuck-up people have indicated to you in the past over your sexuality. They need to go back to the bible and discover that judgementalism, pride and gossip are just as unnacceptable to their creator. Besides, God hates the sin but loves the sinner and thinks the world of you. Have a blessed day.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It really is extraordinary, Edwina. I’ve been reading about other coincidences online and not many are as unlikely as mine… so very strange. When this old lady initially called me, she asked, “Is that Acorn Video’s?” Well, a few days later, I got another call asking the same, only this time a man. Obviously, my number is similar to acorn video’s, but oddly they are the only two calls I’ve had. What makes it even more spooky is that I only recently changed my number after 15yrs. So, if I hadn’t changed the number, I wouldn’t be getting any of these calls. Just another little mysterious touch. Thanks, Edwina

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  9. gentlekindness

    This is really bizarre. I would feel suspicious about the randomness of the call.
    When I was with my ex, I got a “accidental” call from his secretary one night at 3am.

    She said she was trying to reach the electrician to set up an appt for an estimate for new offices my ex was buying.

    I never heard of an electrician taking calls at 3am to set up a non emergency appt.

    Anyway she asked for Mike or Jeff or whoever. She kept insisting she had the right number and could I check if they were here. I was pretty damn certain that Mike and Jeff were not in my 3 room attic apt anywhere where I had to go look for them!

    She was rather pushy and rude and kept me on the phone at 3am. My ex had been supposed to call me at 11 pm. He had not responded to any of my calls or texts.

    So eventually she starts telling me that she works for Ken. “” Do you know Ken? ” she asks. .

    I mean really….this is so stupid. I do not know if she was this stupid or if she thought I was stupid. I never heard of someone asking a complete stranger. ” Do you know Ken? He lives in New York. ”

    How many frigin Kens live in Ny??

    So it just got weirder and then finally she said “oh just to let you know Ken is at the new offices right now. He is really busy. It is not a good time to call him. He is going to be busy for a while…..”

    3am working in the offices….working on electrical estimates???? And calling the secretary to have her call for electrician estimates????

    So I have been leary of random phone calls after this. Some people just have other people “accidentally” call you. It could be real but.. ..

    The frustrating thing is that you have no way to check about this person or the call….do you?

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    1. Cat Post author

      Oh I did check it out, it was completely genuine. The caller identified my friends stepdaughter who had never heard of me and the stepdaughter is a GP and church ministers wife. She eventually traced who called me and it was a complete mistake. It turns out I have a similar number to a production company. I’ve since had another call asking for the same company. It’s just such a bizarre coincidence

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  10. Glynis Jolly

    Hi Cat. This entry had me thinking of people in my past. And I could easily find out about most of them, but I stop myself. For me, what is in the past is probably better off staying right there.

    I’m truly sorry for your loss. Anne is someone who has been very special to you. ❤

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Glynis, great to hear from you. I would tend to agree with you about most people from the past…. actually everyone from the past, except Anne. Such a weird experience. Thank you, Glynis, hope you’re well

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  11. niceatheist

    Oh, Cat, this left me so sad. I can imagine the excitement you felt as you made connections with a caller about a loved one from your past. Then I pictured the grief you must have experienced mourning her passing, especially after thinking that she was still alive.

    I am so sorry for this recent news.

    With love and care,
    Charity

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    1. Cat Post author

      Charity! Hi! How are you? Gosh, it has been a long time. It was a very bittersweet experience, but it meant so much to find out, albeit in a very bizarre way. Thank you for commenting, great to see you 🙂

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  12. raphaela99

    I am so sorry that you found out that your friend had died. You were very brave to take the call and take the chance by asking after her. It was surely meant to be. xx

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  13. dgkaye

    What a strange occurrence Cat. The world is really such a very small place. And I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, and for the way you had to find out. 🙂

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, it was an extraordinary coincidence and, yes, the sorrow does ease… I am just so grateful to know. Thank you for commenting 🙂

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