I’ve been meaning to write down a bunch of coincidences for a long time. I’ll start with this most recent one.
We are home, as most know. We escaped Pittsburgh for a few weeks. It’s been strange but great to be back.
While here, I was reading an old journal from 2010. Back then, Caitlin, her friend Alyssa and I had had some “soul readings” done. Each of our readings was completely different, quite uncanny, and whether we believe in the idea of souls or not, what I will recount was interesting. From my journal, 2010:
At the end of Caitlin’s reading, during which she had revealed nothing about herself or her beliefs, she told the reader about recurring “Nazi” nightmares she has had for much of her life.
The reader assured her that these dreams did not mean she had been a Nazi. “You could not be bad! You had a life in that time, but it wasn’t Germany. It was Czechoslovakia. You were a musical prodigy, literary, from a cultured family. You were killed at age 11.” Then she asked, “Did something happen to you in this life at 11?”
The whole time Caitlin was telling me this, my entire body was full of prickles and I started to cry.
Caitlin said yes, and the woman said that often, a soul will reenact an earlier trauma, at the anniversary age.
When Caitlin was 11, she was very ill and spent much of the year in Children’s Hospital. She had surgery to remove part of her left lung, which had been ravaged by an infection. She experienced a bunch of complications that necessitated a second surgery. There were more complications. We feared we would lose her.
The musical prodigy part was also interesting because when Caitlin was young, she read music so effortlessly that her music teacher thought she practiced all the time. She never practiced (the lazy sod!)! In fact, her whole soul reading had been about musical lives — she had once been someone who wrote patriotic battle tunes to send troops into war, which had supposedly been a great job. The reader said that in this current life her soul had begun to experience magical thinking regarding music, i.e., if she pursued music, something bad would happen. Her soul type couldn’t reconcile the pain associated with music — writing battle hymns, though it had been a respected job, meant being a part of war. Once her parents were killed in a concentration camp, it ruined music as a calling.
A page later, in the 2010 journal, I wrote:
So, just to do it, I googled “pianist, child prodigy, Czechoslovakia, killed.”
And the first hit was about a book about 1940s musicians, “Music in Terezin, 1941-1945.” Google had highlighted this passage: “Her family moved back to Czechoslovakia where the five year old Edith started her musical studies. As a child prodigy of eleven…”
“Beyond the Border of Love” was a short story I had recently published in the North American Review. It was about a musician named Edith.
Now, years later, rereading the 2010 journal, I recognize “Music in Terezin” as the book I have been using for research for my new novel! I did not remember that I had heard of it prior to this year (2016.)
So after I wrote this post this morning, which Caitlin did not know about, I went into her and she said, “Oh man, I had horrible nightmares last night!”
“So did I,” I said. “I dreamed we were packing the car for Pittsburgh, then we realized, Hey, we don’t have to leave yet!”
“Ha,” Caitlin said. “You don’t know nightmares until you’re dreaming you’re traveling down the River Styx. And I can’t remember if I dreamed about it a few weeks ago. What if it’s a new recurring dream?!?”
Caitlin remembers: “The reader asked if music was important to me. It was hard to answer. From an outsider’s view – I am not a musical person. That makes me sad. Inwardly…I don’t know how to say that music is everything to me….it is my life’s blood, the only thing that can uplift my soul. I don’t even play an instrument though.”