Monday, June 13, 2011

Coincidence or Not? You Decide



By Kate Collins

Before I tell you my most amazing story, I need to set the stage. Those of you who follow the Cozy Chicks’ blog may remember that my beloved husband/soulmate passed away last fall. Since that time, I’ve had quite a few remarkable incidents and coincidences happen in my life that seem a little too coincidental, if you know what I mean. (See my blog about the Tiffany box). Another one happened a few days ago. 

At the urging of my family and friends, I decided to make changes to my bedroom, to make it less “ours” and more mine, as a way to move forward. My husband had brought two big armoires with him when we married, along with a gigantic oil painting that was not quite my style. My stepdaughter was the first to say that the painting and the armoires were just not me and had to go. I knew she was right.

I debated with myself for a few weeks, torn between wanting to keep the bedroom exactly as it had been during my marriage and wanting to make a new start so I wouldn’t have the constant reminder of the empty armoire. I prayed and meditated, I told my husband what I was thinking, I cried, I sat and stared, and I took photographs. Then I bargained with myself. If I found just the right dresser to replace them, that would be a sign.

A week later, I found it, on sale! I tossed and turned that night, trying to decide whether to buy it. In my darkest moments, it felt as though I were trying to erase my husband’s memories. And of course I wasn’t, but at 3 a.m., who’s logical?

Then movers came to take my daughter’s furniture to her new apartment. She had stored her things with me for a month. I knew it was time to fish or cut bait, so I asked the boss if he would mind moving the armoires to the garage. If I were to sell them, I didn’t want strangers in my house. He agreed, and the armoires were moved out of the bedroom that day. The dresser arrived 4 days later.

I put the armoires on Craig’s List with the disclaimer that the proceeds would go to my local women’s shelter. That first evening I got 4 replies. Two were obvious scams, so I deleted them. Two were inquiries, so I answered them. But I heard nothing back.

An email popped up the next day from a man who wanted dimensions. After I sent them, along with my “cash only” condition, he wrote back that his wife loved the armoires and he could drive 1 ½ hours from Chicago the next day with his brother-in-law to pick them up. I knew I’d have company at the house, so I wasn’t too worried about my safety . . . But did I really want to let go of my husband’s armoire? Was I 100% positive I wanted them out of my possession? No.

I called the man to see what he sounded like, and he said two things to me that swayed my opinion. First, he and his brother-in-law are cops. My dad was a cop. Second, he knew my personal email was a Greek word, and moreover, he knew what it meant because his grandparents came from Greece and taught him to speak the language. As my husband spoke it fluently, I liked that coincidence a lot.
But the best surprise came the next morning when he and his brother-in-law arrived. Not only was he Greek, but also Irish and German. Being Irish, and having kids and stepkids who are half German, (first marriages) I liked that a lot, too.

Here’s the clincher. I gave them each a bookmark to give to their wives. When the brother-in-law saw it, he laughed. “My last name is Collins,” he said, “and my wife’s name is Katherine, but everyone calls her Kate.”

I still get goosebumps thinking about it. My Greek’s armoires are going to a cop's family that is Greek, Irish and German, and has Kate Collins as a close relative. I don’t know how you feel, but I think it was meant to be. Those armoires could not be in a better home. I felt immensely better.

And by the way, they were the only serious buyers. The only ones.

Was that mere coincidence or maybe something more?