On Synchronicity…Signs from Somewhere

“How do you know it wasn’t just a coincidence?” my daughter asked me after I told her what happened at the bed and breakfast.

I’ll tell you what I told her, but first here is psychotherapist Carl Jung’s definition of synchronicity: Synchronicity is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer.

A bit of background: I was raised by my paternal grandparents and was very close with my grandmother, Zola Mae Brown. She was a quiet force — petite but commanding. When I close my eyes I see her gardening, sewing a quilt, standing at the stovetop cooking, riding her bike, fishing, on her tiptoes two-stepping with my grandfather, squeezing my hand as she tucked me in at night. Her 4’11” frame was adorable next to my Papa’s 6’3″ build. They flirted voraciously – with each other. Yes, I adored her.

My grandparents and me and my sisters and cousin.

She died of heart disease at 60. I was 19, having just finished my freshman year at the University of Oklahoma. I was in complete denial about her illness and figured (hoped!) she’d live forever like most kids do. Needless to say, her death was devastating to me. Was? It still is.

So, yeah, I still miss the hell out of her 24 years later. I don’t dream of her often but think about her a lot. My Papa appears in my dreams with more frequency, but occasionally I send out a wish for her to appear in my dreams hoping it might help her show up. Happily, I dreamed of her just before Thanksgiving last year and in it we were in the kitchen and I told her we needed to decide what we were going to do for Thanksgiving. She just looked at me and I said, “Wait, you’re dead, aren’t you?” Then I woke up, crying.

Fast forward to this February when I again dreamed of both of my grandparents and in the dream I told them I wanted to pick them up so we could have dinner together. In that dream I didn’t realize they weren’t really alive but I did say, “I miss you. It’s been so long since we had dinner!” (I also though in the dream that I needed to teach Papa to how to text. Hilarious.) So I woke up happy/sad that we didn’t even get to eat together in my dream.

I was re-telling my dream to my mother the following day and she said my grandparents are always with me and to ask for a sign from my grandma. As soon as I got off the phone, I said aloud to my grandmother how much I loved seeing her in my dream and that I really wanted to communicate with her, and that I loved and missed her.

In the lobby of The Ladysmith.
In the lobby of The Ladysmith.

A week later my beau and I went on a road trip to Tishimingo to stay at Miranda Lambert’s bed and breakfast, The Ladysmith. I grew up in a small town loving country music so I felt right at home there. The next morning Chris and I went upstairs to the dining room promptly at 9 a.m. for breakfast.  Another couple was already seated in the middle table and two ladies were at another larger table. That left us two tables to choose from. Chris picked the table closest to the door and sat on the far side. I sat across from him and then looked down at my plate and could hardly believe my eyes.

It was my grandmother’s china pattern. The same china I’d eaten on every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter growing up. I looked at the other tables, at the other china. They were all different. A part of the charm was that each place setting was unique. I was the only one with that china. I told Chris about it and smiled. I knew it was the sign I was looking for.

The breakfast china at my setting at the Ladysmith.


I texted my sister Tina, who had my grandmother’s china set in her china cabinet at her home in Woodward. I wanted to make sure it was the same one. Check it out.

My grandmother's china at my sister's house in Woodward, OK.
My grandmother’s china at my sister’s house in Woodward, OK.

So why is this synchronicity and not just a coincidence? Well, a lot had to happen for that particular china plate to get there.

  1. The innkeeper had to set the tables and picked which china to use.
  2. The other guests picked there tables before us and didn’t sit in “my” spot.
  3. Chris had to pick that table over the other free one and choose the seat opposite me.
  4.  I recognized the sign and it was meaningful to me. That plate probably would not have been meaningful to anyone else in the room and that’s why it was synchronicity.

Now if I really thought it was grandmother sending me a message, it might be something like this…

“Good morning, Malena! You wanted to eat together and here I am. I’m serving you on some china you will recognize so you’ll know I’m thinking of you and love you.” – Grandma

My sister said it was grandmother’s way of saying she loved me and was happy for me. I think it was her way of answering my wish and I feel absolutely thrilled that she was part of my road trip and that she is still with me in spirit.

For those of you who may not be religious or spiritual, may I say that doesn’t matter? Whether or not you are religious and believe in ghosts or angels or spirits or believe that everything has energy and that it can be channeled, the fact is it was synchronicity because an inner event – my dreams and memories and the outer event – getting served on china like hers – made it a meaningful coincidence.

What I’d like to leave readers is the call to stay in the present moment, be open to whatever beauty the universe has in store. If I hadn’t had the two “dinner” dreams and asked for a sign, I may have thought less about the “coincidence” of her china pattern showing up for me, but I did and may I say it was well-played? My grandmother served me hundreds of meals in the 15 years she raised me, so why not one more?

To living in the deep,



P.S. Next week I’ll be back with another real life mermaid for you to get to know. In the meantime, I hope you’ll make some time to splash and play. Also, kiss and hug your loved ones. You’ll wish you’d done that more when they are gone. xo

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ann Ellison says:

    I don’t have the dreams like you have had, but I have had a very extraordinary thing happen. I lost my husband in 1997 after a fight with a brain time. In 2012 on the anniversary of the date of his death, I had a friend call and asked if I wanted to make a day trip to Fredericksburg, Tx . My husband was a big fan of gospel music and he had a favorite CD with some of the country singers singing gospel that he played at lot before he passed away, and we used the CD at his funeral. My friend and I walked into a shop in Fredericksburg, and they were playing over the sound system some music. It was that CD. Coincidence – I think not.

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