In the Spring of 2014, author Marjan Sierhuis read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, an account of how the twenty-six-year-old embarked upon a life-changing hike of some eleven hundred miles. Inspired to undertake her own (albeit shorter) odyssey, Sierhuis kept a journal of her experience which evolved into Pardon Me While I Close The Door, a different urban walk of self-exploration.
The walk reflects a middle-aged woman's life journey and choices and the changes she experiences upon the death of her parents, and it captures a vivid personal odyssey that ultimately revolves around the acceptance of loss and how to move on.
The door closes upon a chapter of pain and confusion even though the walk itself is only some thirteen kilometers and undertaken in an urban setting. Lacking the usual life-threatening rural obstacles, readers might wonder what an urban sojourn could mean to an effort to change one's familiar surroundings in order to gain perspective; but Pardon Me While I Close The Door demonstrates that a rural experience or a long journey are not prerequisites for growth and enlightenment.
The sojourn allows time for Marjan to explore memories of her family and life, to process them under different conditions than her everyday familiar world could allow, and to invite a kind of closure that wasn't possible when immersed in familiar routines.
Her memoir thus offers many touching moments that readers will find poignant, candid, and heart-felt. The author's process of accepting her parents' deaths didn't begin with her walk, but it synthesized and completed a process that had actually started before her parents died.
Pardon Me While I Close The Door also explores the movement from friendship to lover as the author forms and then re-examines different connections in her life.
The result is a memoir that intimately follows the process of how the stormy present becomes a gentler past, both in death and in romance, and shows how a walk out of one's world can serve as a catalyst for closure and change.