Connections – 111
On Tuesday, June 27, the California Department of Public Health released their first report on California’s End of Life Option Act. The law went into effect on June 9, 2016 and the report indicated that 111 terminally ill people utilized this humane law in order to die peacefully in California. My daughter played an important part in advocating for these 111 people and their families. I think I can say with a great degree of certainty that if she had not bravely shared her own story of terminal illness and our family’s stressful move to Oregon, these families would not have had this legal right.
What newspapers and news stations didn’t report or notice was a synchronicity in the number of patients utilized the law and Brittany’s death. Brittany died on November 1st.
I noticed. To me it was a meaningful coincidence.
Since Brittany’s death on November 1st (11/1) almost three years ago, I’ve looked for comfort where I can find it, especially in places where she told me to look.
On Nov 1st (11/1) of 2015, the first anniversary of her death, I climbed Machu Picchu, a mountain ridge 7,970 feet above sea level to the ancient citadel, just as Britt had asked me to. There among the historic ruins of an ancient Incan civilization, I heard my daughter’s voice say, “We are one. We are one. We are one.” She repeated this three times. One. One. One.
My mother was born on November 1 in 1931 (11/1). She was killed in a car accident in November of 2011, three years prior to Brittany’s death. My daughter died on Nov 1 in 2014 (11/1). My sister gave birth to her only child, my niece, on November 1 (11/1). The date 11/1 has significant meaning regarding coming in and going out of this world for our family. I’ve studied and taught science. I tend to lean on very scientific and rational explanations of things in life. I’ve tended to call things like this coincidence. I’ve shrugged it off. Until now.
Brittany’s death opened my mind in many ways. I’m not so ready to cast aside ideas that are new to me. I’m looking for new ways to look at the world. I’ve begun to notice synchronicity. I notice events that are “meaningful coincidences”. I notice connections. I’ve tried to accept the possibility that when my world exploded apart and I lost my daughter, in some bigger way things were falling into place. This was a difficult idea to embrace. There are still days when I struggle with it.
Gifts of Connection and Synchronicity
Now, when I see patterns or repetition in my life, I slow down and examine what I’m thinking and feeling. I take a deep breath and clear my mind of negative thoughts. I look for what I should learn in this moment. I’ve come to believe that perhaps we are able to receive signs from the “whatever comes next”. We can see these signs and enjoy them or we can shrug them off as coincidence. I have decided to accept these synchronicities as gifts.
The scientist in me allows me this gift. “Healing comes in different ways. Accept healing.” And truthfully, the scientist part of my brain still shrugs a little bit. But, the part of me that cannot explain everything, the part of me that wants to resonate with meaning, to start afresh with courage and tenacity, the part of me that wants to find oneness with life – listens, watches and smiles. I think synchronicity is a kind of benediction. A way of the universe saying, “yes”.
Out of curiosity, I googled the number 111.
In the field of numerology certain numbers are more powerful than others. Among the most powerful numbers is the number 111. When combined, the already powerful numbers 1 and 11 become even more powerful. The number 111 is sometimes referred to as an angel number, a number we should pay attention to. A number that helps people achieve their soul’s mission, their life’s goals, their dreams and aspirations.
I also looked at what the number 111 has meant to the church historically. I read that the symbolic theme of the Bible’s 111 is support for the trinity. Over the years there has been a large amount of research on every reference made to the birth of Jesus. All of the references are saturated with multiples of 111. The mathematical odds of the 111 pattern being in the Bible by chance are millions to one.
In mathematics 111 is called a perfect totient number and a palindromic number. The smallest magic square using only 1 and prime numbers has a magic constant of 111. A six-by-six magic square using numbers 1 through 36 also has a magic constant of 111.
For Tolkien fans, in “The Fellowship of the Ring” 111 is referred to as “eleventy-one”.
Messages in Synchronicity
I think that this abundance of 111 in my life is a message to move forward. To do as Brittany asked. She emphasized three major positive things to me over and over again.
“Live, Momma. Love. Travel. Do not let my death harden you.”
“Meet me in Machu Picchu. If there is an afterlife, I will be there.” (I went and she was there.)
“Speak up for the terminally ill. Even if your voice shakes.”
Balance with Synchronicity
To do all of these things, I work at balancing life. Balancing work and travel. Balancing old beliefs with new beliefs. Balancing work and play. Balancing time with others against much needed time alone. Balancing holding on and letting go. Balancing skepticism with acceptance. Balancing what I always believed the fall and winter of my life would be, against the reality of what I need to do to carve out a different plan for those years.
Balancing resentment because I didn’t get the miracle I prayed so hard for against the realization that marvelous wonders sometimes take a long time. I hope to understand some day. For now, where I am on this little chunk of rock spinning through space, it seems that I must let go of trying to understand everything that happened and simply accept that it did.
Wisdom from Synchronicity
I have made headway in understanding a few things. But these little illuminations are like pinpricks of light in a dark sky of things that I accept I may never understand in this life.
Not everyone is who I thought they were.
Some people still receive my wishes for happiness but they can no longer be in my life. I let them go in peace.
Wisdom does not mean understanding. Wisdom is accepting that life is a mystery beyond understanding.
Acceptance is not giving up.
Acceptance allows us to be free to move forward and create new paths.
My story isn’t over yet.
Healing from Synchronicity
I continue to keep my eyes open for healing messages. In June several messages touched me. A person from Brittany’s childhood reached out in love. A butterfly landed on my shoulder. A hummingbird appeared, wings whirring, just when grief seemed to be swallowing me alive. A report revealed that 111 terminally-ill patients gratefully used a law that allowed them to die in peace, just as the advocate of that very bill, my daughter, Brittany Maynard, died in peace on 11 1 listening to me read Mary Oliver’s poetry.
If you find yourself noting something that seems like a meaningful coincidence, give yourself permission to take a deep cleansing breath and accept the gift. Hold it in your heart. The universe just said, “yes”.