Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stopping for Coffee

My friend asks if we can get something from Swork, our local coffeehouse, before I drive her to the appointment with her radiologist.  "Sure," I say, "would you like to go in and make it a real 'outing,' or shall I pick it up?"  She prefers that I pick it up, and I agree.  While I'm standing in line, however, I am reminiscing about all of the times my Mom wanted to stop for coffee on the way to and from her many doctor appointments.  It could be a hundred degrees outside, but she wanted her coffee, and she wanted to go out somewhere to get it. 

My mom's insistence on going out for coffee drove my frugal sister crazy. "Why pay all that money for something you can make at home?" I pointed out that she always insisted on going to places that offered a discounted price for seniors.  Still, I had to wonder myself, why she'd want to go out when she was so sick.  I mean, coffee is easy enough to make at home.  She occasionally got a chai or an iced mocha, but usually she ordered plain black coffee.  She had a maker with a timer, and I could easily have set it to brew for her.  She never wanted me to do that, though.  She liked to go out.

Standing in line today, I get it, I grok it. My mom steadfastly refused to believe that she was terminally ill, right up to her last day on Earth in this lifetime.  She wouldn't talk about dying, and she refused to listen to anybody else talk about it either.  Her 'stopping for coffee' routine kept her connected to her old life, her 'normal life.'

Growing up, I remember my mom sharing long hours of conversation over countless cups of coffee at the homes of friends and neighbors ~ long before coffee beverages carried Italian monikers and presented numerous options of strengths, flavorings, and brewings.  The neighbors offered only cream or sugar, and stories of kids gone wild, husbands gone to drink, and life savings gone to tax collectors.  To my Mom, sharing coffee meant sharing life.  And she counted herself among the living, the boldly and enthusiastically LIVING, up until the day she died.

And, so of course, she drank coffee even when she was very sick, but wished herself well.  I'm honored and grateful that I was so often the one she chose to share coffee with, in those waning months of her life.  Connected by coffee, we are.      

I am my mother's daughter, and I do love to sit with friends over a steaming mug of Mexican mocha latte.  Today, I gladly delivered coffee to my friend.  And I look forward to the day when she is up to going out for coffee. 

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