On Father’s Day, I was talking to my parents and randomly decided to check airfare to visit them in Florida. We already had a trip planned two months later, so I knew we’d see them soon. But we had a couple of weeks at the end of June with not much going on.
All of our end of school activities had finally come to a close and my brain could actually think of the summer ahead. So when I saw the opening as I talked to my parents, I thought it worth checking into.
I found well priced tickets and the kids and I left Seattle three days later. I’m not normally a last minute traveler, and of course my anxiety was raging, but it was good anxiety. I thought it would be fun. But at the time, I had no idea why I had booked those flights when we’d be traveling there again so soon. But I did and we went.
We’re flying back today, exactly 2 weeks from Father’s Day, the day I booked those tickets. It’s been a whirlwind…and not only the good kind.
It ended up that one of our out of town friends would not only be in Florida that precise week, but she was throwing a birthday party for her daughter. Another friend would be at the beach, a mere mile or so from the party. It seemed so serendipitous. A great surprise.
Much of the trip was filled with fun.
Visits with Great Grandma.
A Golf Lesson with Grandpa.
Time with Friends.
But on Monday night as I drove home from the beach, a text went out to a group of my high school girlfriends. A friend of ours from Tampa Catholic High School, Class of 1991 was in ICU at a local hospital. And it just happened to be my first love, Tony.
For those of you who know me, I’m happily married to John. I dated Tony in high school and that was a LONG long time ago. But over the years, we’ve remained friends. His family, parents and sister, were like a second family back then. We’ve kept in touch over the years and I’ve been so blessed to see him and his lovely family flourish, his beautiful wife and 3 wonderful boys.
As I heard the news that night, I was in utter shock. And in the morning when I received the text that he had died, I cried A LOT. This person was a big and very happy part of my life’s history and he was just gone at the age of 41.
Tony was a person loved by many. An amazing Dad, a loving husband, a fierce friend. A son. A brother. A cousin. Someone who so many relied on for strength and guidance. I can’t say enough about him. He truly left a mark on everyone he ever met.
For me personally, it was just way too much that I was actually sitting in my childhood home, all the way across the country the morning he very unexpectedly died. The place where we had lived our happy history.
Is it coincidence or serendipity?
I ended up having to change our flights by 2 days to be there for the wake and funeral, and I’m so glad that I did for my own grieving. I still feel in utter shock that such a wonderful young life was taken. I can’t stop thinking about his family, wife and kids. How much they have lost. The hole that is left in those boys’ lives.
But I feel blessed to have been there, to have been with so many old friends and his family during the start of this difficult time.
That day I said on Facebook: “A last minute spontaneous trip home isn’t so random after all.” I truly feel like I was meant to be there. To see my family. To see my friends. To be there for the life’s passing of a dear friend. I definitely feel like that is serendipity.
Hug your loved ones close.
And if you get a chance for some spontaneous travel this summer, take it.