Wednesday, March 12, 2014

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO - Karmic Countdown (Barbara Radecki)

Skip down to Barbara if you've read me already!

As some of you may know, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, my second novel for young adults comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Skybut also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question, “Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.

- gae

Barbara, and her smiley radiant face.
Today I have my dear friend Barbara Radecki sharing a goose-bump-raising story. Barbara is a Toronto-based writer and actor. For three years, she co-wrote the award-winning (and amazingly funny, real, heartwarming) blog, The Middle Ages, and is just finishing her novel, The Darkhouse.

Telling Time
My father-in-law died suddenly and unexpectedly at a relatively young age. He’d just moved to Canada from France (his home for 25 years) to be closer to us. Our daughters were 3 years and 1-month old respectively, and my husband and I were thrilled their grandfather would finally be around to shower them with love and attention. He exceeded our every expectation, hosting tea parties and play-dates with our older daughter and engaging in long staring contests with the baby, confidently proclaiming her “a genius”. We were devastated when he passed away only eight months after he’d arrived.

A few months after his death, it was the eve of our baby’s first birthday. Still mourning but back to dealing with ordinary minutia, my husband and I tucked ourselves into bed knowing the next day would be a much-needed celebration of life. 
The karmic clock. Lovely, isn't it?

We were woken from deep sleep by a huge crash on the main floor of our house. Terrified, we crept down the stairs to investigate. The source of the crash turned out to be a clock that we’d inherited from my father-in-law. It’s a gorgeous pendulum clock, large, ornate, hand-painted. We found it on the floor—as if it had been propelled from the wall, the nail still fixed to its spot. Holding our breath, we searched for damage. But the clock was absolutely intact, not a scratch on the paint, not a chip in the wood. My husband noticed its battery on the floor not far away. He examined the clock again. The compartment for the battery is secured with a latched panel. This panel had somehow opened during the fall, expelled the battery, and—before landing on itself on the floor—closed again and re-latched. Then we noticed: the time had frozen to the exact moment of our daughter’s middle-of-the-night birth the year before, on the birthday we were going to celebrate that very day.

Karma or Coincidence? We don’t have any definitive answers or ideology in our family, but this moment had a profound impact on us. We felt—and still feel all these years later—that this was a “sign”, a greeting, a reassurance from him. Call it what you will, but the whole thing felt… magical. The kind of magic where there is no trick, only the goodness and lightness of peace.

- Barbara


  1. Wow. That is all I can say. Goose bumps.

  2. Oh. My. Really? GOODNESS! I have chills. that was beautiful and eerie and affirming and I LOVE the radiant Barbara Radecki!

  3. Now that is truly hair-raising. Couldn't he have just rung the doorbell at that particular hour and minute? Nah, that wouldn't have been dramatic enough for the wonderfully impish sense of humor your father-in-law apparently had. Enjoyed this, Barbara.

  4. Thanks, guys! And, yes Jim, the doorbell wouldn't have been nearly as dramatic -- and my FIL LOVED a good story. He just had to give us a last one.

  5. Wow, this s is wonderful short story Barb. I was engaged every sentence. Congrats.

  6. love the response to this story! Thanks for sharing barb! And thanks for stopping by to read, all!