For a decade my mother was in a nursing home in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease.
I remember the day we took her there. My father was no longer able to care for her at home. She had been falling. She no longer recognized her home. It was a very sad day.
I remember meeting the woman who would be her roommate. She was a psychiatrist, a delightful woman who also had Alzheimer's. Although she wasn't completely aware of where she was and why, she had a quick wit and was very friendly. I'll call her Dr. Spencer. (not her real name.)
Whenever I visited my mother I also talked to Dr. Spencer. She always had a ready smile and frequently said things that were hilariously funny. She died sometime before my mother, but my whole family remembers her well. We all really liked her.
OK. Fast-forward to last week. I was meeting a friend of mine (who is also my financial adviser) at Starbucks. Because of a miscommunication I was late. While waiting for me, my friend Shelley started talking to a woman sitting next to her. Shortly after I arrived this woman got up to leave and came over to Shelley to say she had enjoyed their conversation. Laughing, I said, "She's also a great investment advisor, if you ever need one."
This woman looked a little interested but said she already had a good advisor who had served her mother very well. She said her mother had had Alzheimer's Disease and that she had been a doctor. For some odd reason, (I have no idea why) I asked if her mother's name was Spencer. She looked very surprised and said, "Yes, she was a psychiatrist." My jaw has now dropped. I said, "And she lived at Peachwood Inn?" The woman, eyes wide now, said, "YES!"
I said, "Oh my word!!!!! She was my mother's roommate!!!!!
The three of us were looking at each other in disbelief. The nursing home is 50 miles from this Starbucks. The woman remembered my mother well and also my father who had visited my mother every day. I was absolutely flabbergasted that this could happen-- that I could actually run into Dr. Spencer's daughter and that through a casual conversation we would identify each other.
Somehow I suspect that my mother (and maybe my father) had something to do with this. The likelihood of this happening is so remote that I have to believe it was not a simple conicidence. I always thought that Dr. Spencer was someone my mother would like. Could it be that they now know each other in heaven and thought it would be fun to arrange circumstances so that their daughters could meet? Can you do things like that in heaven? If you can, that would indeed be fun, don't you think? It sounds like just the kind of thing my mother would like to do. Or was there some other purpose? We may never know.
We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and plan to meet again for coffee next month-- to honor our mothers.