On a particularly emotional day a few months ago, I decided to get a haircut. I had been missing my departed loved ones – my husband, my parents, and my parents-in-laws – more than usual. I needed to do something to boost my spirits.
Instead of going to my usual salon, I went to a new place.
I am the kind of person who doesn't really enjoy chatting the whole time that my hair is being cut - partly because I can't see without my glasses on and partly because I am not comfortable chatting or sharing details of my personal life with a room full of strangers.
But this day was different.
But this day was different.
The woman who cut my hair had an accent. My curious journalist-self kicked in and I asked her where she was from.
"Poland," she said.
Interesting, I thought.
"My mother was born in Poland, and my dad was born in a part of Ukraine that was Poland at one time," I told her.
This led to a conversation about whether I speak the Polish language (I don't); how long she's been in Canada (two years; she and her husband came for better work opportunities); how I and my husband wanted to go to Poland when we were in Europe in 2013 but we ran out of time, however my youngest sister went to Ukraine that year and saw the area where our dad was born.
The hairdresser asked whether I make any Polish food.
"I don't but my mom made perogies and cabbages rolls. What kinds of food do you make?" I asked her.
She told me she likes perogies, but she puts all kinds of different things in them - "white cheese, broccoli, garlic - delicious!"
Just then, I glanced up as she was trimming on one side of my head and I saw her name tag.
I was dumbfounded. "Oh my gosh! That's my mother's name!" I exclaimed. "Agnes."
"Yes," she replied. "It is hard for people to say here."
I miss my mother very much. She was a strong, faithful Christian woman with a zany sense of humour and a passion for bright-coloured blouses.
I sat in awe of this circumstance – a Polish hairdresser who shared the same name as my mom.
I will not call it is a coincidence. In my daughter Lisa Driver’s first award-winning book, Opening Up: How To Develop Your Intuition and WorkWith Your Angels, she notes that what we often think of as “coincidences” are actually signs that the universe is sending us a message. Our angels want to let us know they are with us. I have had too many “coincidence” experiences in my life to just set these aside as accidental. The probabilities of me going to that shop on that day at that time when that particular hairdresser was available to cut my hair are too big to comprehend. Everything aligned for that to happen.
I sat and enjoyed the rest of the cut – which is difficult to do when you’re almost blind without your glasses on!
When the haircut was done, I put my glasses back on and noticed a keychain that was hanging on the drawer handle in front of the salon chair.
"I love Poland," it said.
I asked if I could take a photo of it.
“Yes,” Agnesiewska replied. “This is better, " she added as she turned the ornament around to show me the other side of it.
"I Love Polska."
I felt a huge grin forming on my face. A message of love from my angel mom. A reminder of my Polish heritage.
As I was paying for the trim, Agnesiewska asked me, "Your mother - she lives?"
"No,” I replied. “She passed away in 2011.”
"Oh... I sorry."
This precious Polish woman paused just long enough for me to let her response sink in.
Then she sighed and added, "Ah... Life!"