Synchronicity: A Profound Coincidence
I miss my buddy, Bobby. He was a like a brother to me. In 2008, Bobby was 49-years-old, and suffering from extreme clinical depression. I quickly learned that those afflicted with major depression go on an emotional rollercoaster ride, and they often take family and friends with them; and it’s not as if anyone can tell them to snap out of it. They can’t. It’s a disease, and depression requires professional help.
The only thing that calmed him down was cigarettes, and he smoked almost non-stop. Bobby’s depression and addiction was part of his shadow. I’m sure if he were able to smoke while he was sleeping, he would have.
One of Bobby’s most endearing traits was that he was very spiritual. Not necessarily religious, but he felt guiding energies around him. So, even though he would sometimes go through an emotional upheaval, he had a trust that life would work out the way it should.
I remember when we where at dinner in a restaurant, oceanfront in Huntington Beach and I talked about my father’s passing nearly three years before. I told him it happened so fast, I don’t understand why he was taken from me so soon. Bobby said, “You may not think you understand, but I know you understand.” I asked him what he meant and he said matter-of-factly, “Well, I think you understand that he was called home.” Bobby was very confident in that statement, with the knowing that we are all called home at some point.
After dinner, while we began to walk back to my place, he heard musicians playing violins on the pier. We walked towards them. He put five dollars in their opened violin case and asked them to play Amazing Grace. As they played, he cried and became consumed with the somber music. All I could do was watch him cry, put my arm around his shoulder and allow him to experience the emotional turmoil he was feeling. All I could do at that moment was empathize. When they finished, he thanked them individually, kissed the musicians on the cheek and bid them, “Aloha.”
Days later, Bobby told me his mother wanted him to move to Idaho where she and his father live. She wanted to take care of him. “Besides,” he said, “my parents are in their late 70’s, and I don’t know how long I’ll have with them.” I didn’t know how prophetic this statement would be then.
The last time he called was Oct. 25, 2008. He told me he “worked the rocks out of his head” and was ready to come back to Southern California by Thanksgiving.
The days and the weeks had passed and no word from Bobby. It was strange I thought, surely he’d have called me already. So, I called his number. No answer.
The day before Thanksgiving, my door latch broke off. I remembered a psychology professor telling me, “You know, if something in your house is malfunctioning, that may be a sign of things in your life going awry.” So, I immediately thought to myself, what kind of devastation am I going to experience?
That night, I came home and disgusting black sludge from underground started to come up in the sink in my upstairs bathroom, which had never occurred before. This was Thanksgiving weekend and it was difficult for me to get a hold of anyone from my condo association. I called the emergency number, but only temporary workers were answering phone calls. Then, the sludge began to rise to the top of the sink and water started to leak out of the pipes and flood my upstairs floor, which caused a foul odor in my surroundings that would not go away. The next day, I left the malfunctioning of my place for a while to have dinner with my family. I returned home around 10PM. All the while I was thinking, Thanksgiving Day and dinner had come and passed, and I still haven’t heard from Bobby. What is going on with him? So, I called his number again, thinking he may answer. He didn’t answer, but his brother Jim did. He told me Bobby recently passed away in his sleep and funeral services were already held for him.
My immediate feeling was surreal. I had black guck coming up in my sink, which was causing water to bubble up the pipes and flood my floor, all the while causing a disgusting stench in the air. To top things off, Bobby’s brother drops the devastating news of Bobby’s death on me. This is not happening, I thought.
I asked what happened. Jim told me that Bobby suffered a heart attack in his sleep. It doesn’t surprise me that a heart attack claimed his life since he smoked almost incessantly. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a person’s risk of a heart attack greatly increases with the number of cigarettes he or she smokes. Smokers continue to increase their risk of heart attack the longer they smoke. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have more than twice the risk of heart attack than nonsmokers. What shocked me most is that I didn’t expect the news since he looked so superficially healthy, and relatively still young. He was getting treatment for his depression and he was working out at the gym six times a week.
After I spoke with his brother, I thought back to the previous days and the events that took place. I also thought about what my psychology professor told me about signs to come and the synchronicity of events that led up to the eerie and devastating news of Bobby’s passing.
I miss my profound conversations with Bobby about the ego, the stars, and the soul. Yet, I was also able to reach the stage of accepting his passing, which was part of my individuation process (what Carl Jung refers to as becoming who one uniquely is) because it helped me be conscious of synchronicity, my shadow, my animus (my inner masculinity), the archetypal spirit. In general, conscious of my Self.
I'm glad that Bobby lived with his parents during the last remaining months of his life. It was meant to be. He loved them first, and foremost. It’s as if he knew that he may not have much time left on earth, and that he would be called home. Even though he may not have known consciously, it’s as if he did know, profoundly.