My “Touch” Moment

21 03 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

Coincidence. Fate. Is there truly a God that controls all things down to the microsecond of your life or just the big stuff? After all, if God exists, he/she gave us the free will to make choices. Those choices ripple out into consequences, good or bad. These are the questions we all ask ourselves and our answers may vary throughout our life as our own experiences shape our reality.

I had always felt it was fate that led me to find Jeff. It is difficult to put a starting point in this story. My father-in-law passed away in February 2012. For those of you who haven’t seen the new Fox series “Touch”, the experience made me instantly think of this show. It is loosely based on the red string of fate, a Chinese legend that said the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of those that are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other. The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break, a concept very similar to soul mates. Tim Kring of the new TV show “Touch” expands that to include groups of individuals but still connected by love.

Red string of fate; unknown credit

I met Jeff on July 4, 1990, the last day of my vacation that began with my dear friend, Louise Rizzuto, getting married, on Long Island. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. After the wedding, I traveled down to New Jersey to see my sister and my aunt. On that last night back on Long Island, my friend and now Patrick’s godmother, Patty, asked me to go out with her that evening. She wanted me to meet the best friend of her boyfriend, Larry. I almost did not get there. My foster brother stole my keys and would not give them back to me, and making me very late. Jeff told me he was about to leave. We met around the corner from where he lived in Setauket. We stayed at the restaurant for a few hours and then I told Jeff I would still love to sit by the water, as I had not had an opportunity to do that. He took me to a beach that apparently was frequented by drug dealers. When the police raided the beach, I was terrified I was going to jail for just sitting on the beach talking with him, so I ran. Jeff grabbed my purse and ran with me. After the police car stopped us and determined I truly was just some out-of-towner who did not realize the beach was closed, he let us go. Jeff found another place where we could talk out in public. I think I left about 4-5 a.m. and went back to where I was staying to pack and drive to the airport.

The rest of our relationship unfolded. He eventually moved down here in January of 1991 into his own apartment. We were engaged in July of 1991, but he wanted me to meet his family before making the announcement.  We did that on August 11, 1991 the day after his cousin’s wedding. We were married in October 1992.

My friend Patty said that we were the best thing that came out of her relationship with Jeff’s best friend. Patty and Larry broke up shortly after that.

As we continued to find out about each other, I discovered that Jeff went to our rival high school, Ward Melville, and had often been to our school for sports. I was often at the school because in my sophomore year, I was president of my class. He lived right around the corner from SUNY Stony Brook, the college my sister attended, and where I often visited. That is important because around the corner from there was the Pancake Cottage, where my sister and I would have breakfast, as would Jeff and his family. It is possible that we were in the restaurant at the same time together and never knew it. Then we traced ourselves back even further. He remembers a classmate of his coming back from the Suffolk County LIBEC contest for typing in 1981, saying she was beat from someone from Patchogue (as if that was pond scum; we were a lower socioeconomic group than Ward Melville). Yep, that person was me.

Meanwhile in Setauket, Long Island, before we met, Jeff’s sister Deirdre was off at college in Massachusetts. She became roommates with Trish. Deirdre eventually married Frank. Trish married John.

Trish and John belonged to a very small church in New Jersey. They were very close to Jennifer. Jennifer and John were working on bringing a more contemporary service to their church. He knew Marilyn and Tony, Jennifer’s parents. He also knew Michelle and Gordon Dobson. One day Jennifer tells them she is moving to Texas to start a business to help this family out. Marilyn and Tony followed. They were very sad to see her go.

I had a miscarriage with my first baby (a boy, we named Matthew Joseph). Then Patrick was born, and he was later diagnosed with multiple disabilities including autism. In August 2010, I decided to pull him out of public school and try to get him into an autism school in the area. The place we found was Including Kids (InKids) run by Jennifer Dantzler.

On February 5, 2012, my father-in-law died. The wake would be Thursday of that next week and the funeral on Friday. We debated back and forth about who would go up there–just Jeff or would we try to attempt this trip as a family. Patrick’s behavior was much better since being at InKids, and we knew Jeff’s mom would love to see Patrick; she had not seen him in almost a decade (she could not fly down because of my father-in-law’s condition and we dared not even try before this time). The whole family would be happy to see him.

I was with Patrick in a lounge area at the funeral home when Jeff pops his head in and says, “You have to come over here; someone here knows Jennifer Dantzler.” I looked at him what a “what the hell” look. As we are walking, he tells me, “Deirdre’s roommate from college.” Then I thought the connection was that Jennifer also went to college in Massachusetts (not the same place, but maybe they knew each other from that area). While they were talking, Jeff stated that Patrick had autism and that he was going to a school for autism. Trish asked, “Do you know Jennifer Dantzler?” Jeff said, “She runs the school.” There are many schools for autism here in throughout Houston and the surrounding areas. As we talked to these people, my mind was connecting all the dots. Jennifer Dantzler is the executive director of Including Kids (InKids), the place where Patrick goes to school.

We talked about this huge coincidence for almost 30 minutes or more. John told me he remembered clearly when Jennifer said she was moving down to Texas. They were all shocked. I said, “The woman is fearless.” He agreed that was a good word for her. He said they had lost touch with each other in the last 4 years. At that very moment, I wanted to place a call to InKids, but it was late at night and no one would be there. We also discovered that while they were at this church, the Dobson’s offered up a French meal for 10-12 as a church raffle. Michelle is a French chef. It is something they offer similarly here for our Boots and Bling Gala, which is coming up on April 14, 2012. Trish said, “We invited Deirdre and Frank to that.” The Dobson’s are now on the board of directors for the school and also live down here. Tony and Marilyn routinely are the ones to serve the food to people at these type events, so Deirdre and Frank likely saw them at that dinner without ever knowing they were to become part of our lives, too, at a future date. John said Jennifer, Marilyn and Tony had been on his mind for the last 2 weeks. We shared with Trish and John that if it were not for Jennifer and her staff, Patrick would not be here making that long journey from Texas to New Jersey. We shared with them all the progress Patrick has been able to make since going to InKids. The next day at Deirdre’s house, I told Deirdre about the connections. They also took her by surprise.

Upon returning home, I was eager to run in and tell Jennifer, but I was too late. They had already contacted them. Marilyn said the email started, “I don’t believe in coincidences…” The email made her cry. Marilyn shared with me that 2 weeks ago, Trish and John were on her mind, too. Apparently, Marilyn/Jennifer and Trish/John had lost contact with each other for at least the past 4 years. Trish and John went on to make a monetary donation to Including Kids in honor of Patrick and in memory of Patrick’s grandfather.  Best of all, they were back in contact with each other.

The mathematical probability of this happening is unlikely, but there it was–my “Touch” moment. There was a string that connected all our lives and it took this particularly sad event of my father-in-law’s passing for all the pieces to be revealed.

Have you ever had moments such as these? Please feel free to share in the comment section.

UPDATE FEB 2013

Trish and John subsequently made donations to my son’s school for autism, Including Kids. In January, their son came down to see if a particular career path was right for him or not. Where was he? At Patrick’s school. He had been down for 3 weeks and one day I went in to volunteer and we met. This was almost a full year after my father-in-law passed away. If he does decide to move here, we may also have some part-time work he can do directly with Patrick at home. The connections continue.


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8 responses

21 03 2012
Carrie Eckles (@CarrieEckles)

I have had a similar experience, and I know people who have. It’s enough to make me believe in soul mates, twin flames (the counterpart of your own soul), and spirit groups (a collective of many, multidirectional soulmates, not necessarily romantic).

My Experience

Mine is quite short, but it was definitely one of THOSE moments.

When I was 19, I entered a serious relationship with M. He was five years older than me. Until then, our circles had never meshed — or, that’s what we thought. But, in reality, it was far from the case.

We thought we met in April of 2008 — THOUGHT being the operative word.

One day, we were in the car, and M was telling me about his best friend T. I had heard him speak of T so many times, as they were friends since they were very young. But this time, he was telling me a story about T that happened in the past. And it was a story that involved T’s past girlfriend, A.

I found that funny, because next door neighbor — who was like a sister to me — was also named A and she had a boyfriend named T. So, I flatout asked him: “OMG — is T’s last name Blah-Blah?” And indeed it was! His best friend and my best friend dating.

And when M got further along in his story, it was revealed that M and his girlfriend were with A and T at A’s house in December of 2000. The trippy part? They were 17 and I was 12, my sister 10, and we were playing games with A’s then 10-year-old brother. So, being 17 and on a double date, they wanted to watch a movie and argued with us about it in the living room.

M couldn’t believe it was me, the sassy 12 year old gamer girl. I actually finished his story for him! We met all those years ago and never realized it until then.

(Ironically, another of his friends — also named A — turned out to be the elder sister of my sister’s friend S, when A and S, which is funny, because one would never think they knew each other, let alone were siblings.)

Another Story

(This one, I’m using same initials, but different people.)

M is my paternal aunt (a year younger than me); her best friend is A.

My maternal grandparents have long been acquainted with MI and SH. SH has a son, S, whose exploits I always grew up hearing, because he was a year older than me and my grandparents were friends with his mother and stepfather, M.

My sister has a friend named AL, whose sister is ME. ME has a daughter named AV. They live in another state entirely.

My then-boyfriend (M from the first story) was once abused by a woman named E.

After a wacky series of shenanigans, it turns out that: E is the eldest daughter of SH, making her S’s older sister. And the whole time, S was obsessed with me, while I always heard of nothing but him. His stepfather, MI, turned out to be the father of A, the best friend of my aunt, making S and A stepsiblings. Meanwhile, S’s REAL father turned out, also, to be the father of AV, meaning that my sister’s friend ME was actually S’s stepmom at one point. (And that was the kicker, because she lives so far away and seemed to have no connection to these people at all.)

So, basically, you have a multitude of people I’ve known my WHOLE LIFE and I only found out they were ALL closely related when I was 19, the same year I found out the stuff in the other story.

(Whew.)

22 03 2012
PBMom

Cool stories, Carrie! Thanks for sharing them.

21 03 2012
Wendy

Hindi I know you told me this story I guess at work it Did not touch me like just Reading it…i am so glad that i moved back when i Did because i am so blessed To know you and Jeff and especially Patrick. i love you guys and do not get rory see as much

22 03 2012
PBMom

We love you, too, Wendy.

21 03 2012
Billie (@BillieO2)

GREAT STORY! THANKS FOR SHARING!

22 03 2012
PBMom

Thanks for reading it. Still boggles my brain.

19 01 2013
Angie Curry Saint

wow! What an amazing story! What an amazing tapestry. So incredible when you get to reflect upon it and see how it all weaves together!!! I’ve seen it in my life and so grateful when I am given the chance to make those connections.

8 02 2013
PBMom

Reblogged this on Pbmom's Blog and commented:

Feb 2013 Update: Trish and John subsequently made donations to my son’s school for autism, Including Kids. In January, their son came down to see if a particular career path was right for him or not. Where was he? At Patrick’s school. He had been down for 3 weeks and one day I went in to volunteer and we met. This was almost a full year after my father-in-law passed away. If he does decide to move here, we may also have some part-time work he can do directly with Patrick at home. The connections continue.

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