Updated: Nov 13, 2022
Since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated with numerology. Although I’m terrible at math, I have a knack for remembering numbers, and I’m especially interested in what they mean and the synchronous "patterns" in which they show up in my life.
Coined by renowned Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung, synchronicity is a word used to describe seemingly coincidental events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
Jung believed that many instances regarded as “coincidences” cannot be explained as mere chance. Rather, he believed that these occurrences are directly related to the mind of the person experiencing the connection, and they serve to provide profound insight, direction, and guidance, linking the spiritual world with the physical.
Throughout my life, I have experienced synchronicity in what I believe has nothing to do with chance or coincidence. The story I want to share with you today is an account of my lucky number, 52, and how it has proven a synchronous reminder of a profound connection I have with the spiritual world.
As synchronicity would have it, February 21st is the 52nd day of the year. In numerology, the number 52 means sensitivity, intuition, and creativity. All of those things are true about me. Reduce the number and you get seven, the number of truth-seeking, struggle, and challenges. In the tarot, the Chariot is number seven in the major arcana. It symbolizes guidance and protection. But what’s the significance of 52? I didn’t just pull the number out of a velvet bag. It chose me.
My Daddy was 52 when he died—fifty-two—which is way too young to die, especially because of depression. The evening of the day he passed, December 8, 2007, I was standing at the gas pump mindlessly pumping gas. Staring at the meter, I remember that I zoned out, not paying attention to the numbers as they flickered way past my intended 20-dollar mark. I was lost in my thoughts around how young my father was, how sad I was, and how glad I was that we had settled our differences years before and were able to have a close relationship. As I reminisced, the pump stopped abruptly, my tank full. Startled, I looked at the cost: $52.00.
For a moment I stood there looking at the number, considering the coincidence of its timing. I’d just been thinking of my father, and how 52 is too young to die, when the pump stopped at $52. Weird, I thought, replacing the pump handle and not thinking any more on it.
The next few days were a blur as Mama, Gran, Uncle Les, and I handled all the burial details. I was working at an assisted living community at the time, an hourly job in which I didn’t have paid time off, so I had to work a little during the week of my father’s death, during the time between when he died and when he was buried (we had to special-order his casket). My boss at the time was gracious, though. She let me work at my pace. Work was attention-diverting, at least.
During those few days, I met with a friend for lunch at a Burger King. At the counter, we were given our receipts while we waited for our food. Our order numbers were printed at the top of the receipts. My order number was 52.
I couldn’t help but become upset and I felt foolish explaining to my friend why I was upset. As was her nature, she was kind and comforting. During the lunch meeting we talked about the coincidence of the number and our individual beliefs in lucky numbers, signs, messages from the Other Side, if you will. As for me, I believe in all of those things. That day, my friend and I considered the possibility that my father could be sending me little messages. Saying “Hello,” perhaps. Maybe. I didn’t know then, and I wasn’t sure if I ever would.
A few weeks later, when Mama and I took the boys for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, the host gave us one of those buzzer-type remotes, explaining that the gadget would flash and vibrate when our table was ready. I can’t remember which number was printed on our remote, but I do remember the restaurant being packed that night and because there wasn’t even standing room on the inside of the building, Mama and I had to take the kids outside to sit and wait in the breezeway, the only available spot where there was an open bench. One of the buzzer-remote-gadgets was lying on the bench. Someone had left it there, we’d guessed. We didn’t know. Nobody else was around. We were the only people in the small room. I picked up the gadget to return it to the hostess stand. It was buzzer number 52.
Was it a coincidence that the number 52 showed up three times in the weeks following my father’s death at 52? I don’t know. I may not ever know. Is it comforting to think that the number might have been him reaching out beyond his grave? Yes. It is. Because those aren’t the only occasions on which the number 52 has shown up. There have been numerous times, sometimes randomly, sometimes right at the moment when I’m thinking of my Daddy. Each time, however, I choose to believe that it’s him, reminding me that he loves me and he’s always with me.
Above: my Daddy standing beside his work truck, 2000.
A few years ago I was having a difficult time at my day job, the kind of situation that feels more bearable when you have your Daddy to lean on about it. My boss at the time and I were traveling to Texas for training during this very week and I wished I could just tell him about it. About everything. Texas was one of his favorite states, and the area where we were traveling was one of his favorite places to travel for work. The morning of the trip, I had to leave in the middle of the night to be at the airport shuttle on time. I checked the temperature to see if I needed a jacket. It was 52 degrees outside. I smiled.
Inside the airplane, I watched out the small window as the pilot backed the plane out of the gate to maneuver it to the runway. The gate docks were each numbered. My plane was parked at dock number 52. I smiled again. Then I considered all the stories my Daddy used to tell about the places he’d traveled—he was an incredible storyteller and I’d like to believe that maybe he handed down that skill to me. Texas was one of his favorite states in which to work. I remember him telling my Mama and me about how great the food was in Texas and how nice the people were. Like other places I’d traveled where I knew my father had also gone, I was excited at the prospect of seeing the sights he saw. Maybe even being in the same places he’d once been.
In Fort Worth, as my boss exited our rental car onto the highway toward our hotel, a flashing speed gauge on the side of the highway indicated that we were going 52 miles per hour. The number 52 flashed in bright yellow. I smiled again. Immediately, Suri spoke up through my boss’s phone, “Stay straight on Highway 35 for 52 miles.” As my boss merged with traffic, she pulled behind a car with a tag that included only two numbers: 52. The coincidence was too weird. I told my boss my story about 52. She didn’t think I was crazy! She agreed, “Maybe it’s your father telling you ’hello.’”
The thought was overwhelming, so I turned my face. I didn’t want my boss to see me crying. As soon as I glanced out the window, I saw a sign over a building: Ray’s Automotive. Through my tears, I smiled. My father’s name was Ray. “Maybe so.”
Above: The number 52 on the park lamppost where I stopped to stretch.
In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, I went to the park for a walk. When I got there, I stretched, but as I began walking the back of my ankle started burning. I was suffering with Achilles tendonitis and sometimes exercise would cause a pinch. I stopped at a lamppost where I could brace myself while I stretched my ankle some more. When I looked up to reposition my hand on the post, I saw something yellow stuck onto its black paint, reflective stickers. I leaned forward to see what they were and saw the number 52. Apparently, I’d stopped at lamppost 52. Out of all the lampposts in the park, that number was the one I’d unknowingly veered toward. I smiled as I took a picture of it before continuing on with my walk.
On Writer Wednesday, I’m publishing my second Tarot Story: the Magician. In observance of Black History Month, and in Celebrating Black Creatives, I am showcasing 10 Black artists, authors, musicians, and poets whom I believe to be Magicians.
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself.
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.