Within the space of 24 hours last weekend, I learned of the deaths of the fathers of two friends and the passing of a young friend.
After getting word of the first two passings, I was waiting for a third, because, superstitious as it may be to say it, it always does seem that deceases come in threes.
Is there anything scientific behind this? Of course not. I read where Alan Dundes, a professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of Southern California at Berkeley, says, "All cultures have ritual numbers but they don't have the same ritual numbers." He said Americans have a propensity to see things in threes, whereas for Native Americans, it's four, and the Chinese, it's five.
It's an ancient superstition that we still cling to in modern times. Groups of three make sense...morning, afternoon and evening...first name, middle name, last name...breakfast, lunch and dinner..."Easy as 1, 2, 3!"...tic tac toe...three in a row...third time's the charm.
Another folklorist (how does one get that job?), Claudia de Lys, says it all comes back to the sweet mystery of life...two people get together to create a third...and that we cluster three bad things together in our minds to help bring about the end of the cycle, subconsciously reasoning "That's three, and there won't be any more awhile."
I think that has a lot to do with it, added to the fact that focusing on our tripartite grief takes our minds off pondering any of the three sad losses. And maybe it's better that way.