The Name on the Door

I thought of my mother often yesterday. It wasn’t a very productive day; it’s hard to get much done when you have a lump in your throat. Exactly one year ago, February 25, 2013, my sister and I looked on helplessly as our mom struggled to take her final breaths. It was if she embraced the words of poet Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Watching somebody die is difficult, I’m not going to lie. People who say it is a beautiful experience weren’t in the same room we were. In the end, Mom went out on her terms … fighting.

I was excited for the dinner meeting I had scheduled that evening with a new client, because I knew it would take my mind off the grieving for a while. The plan was to meet at Bistro11, a cute little restaurant in downtown Loretto, Minnesota, but when I pulled into the parking lot I found out it had closed. Why is it that the good places never make it and the fast-food joints thrive?

Time for plan B … Axel’s Tavern across the street.  My client and I settled into a table in the back and started discussing his book project. I love this part of the process…. there are so many possibilities.

After we finished our meal, I excused myself to use the restroom. As I rounded the corner I was stunned… the sign on the door read “JOYCE,” my mother’s name.



It was as if I’d seen a ghost, my heart clenching in memory. I stood in front of the door staring until I came to my senses and went inside. When I returned to the table, I told my client what had happened. His eyes opened wide when he learned it had been exactly one year since her passing.

Of all the restaurants in the western suburbs, what are the odds we’d wind up at a place with my mother’s name on the bathroom door. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or part of some Master plan, but I do know one thing: life is full of surprises.


Posted in Aging, Random Thoughts, Storytelling and tagged , , , .