“Now how do you know that coffee and donuts go together?” I asked, looking up at the rear-view mirror toward my daughter.
“It was in the cartoon movie I saw; there was that silly dog that liked coffee and donuts.”
“My mom really liked coffee and donuts.” I said quietly. Immediately I had a crystal clear vision of my mom, sitting across from me, coffee mug in hand, elbows resting on the white laminate table of the breakfast nook, a jelly-filled donut–one bite gone—on a plate in front of her. I could feel the coffee mug in my own hands, warm and aromatic against a chilly, damp morning, hear the birds outside the kitchen window chattering about the morning, and feel the wet nose of my mom’s collie as she reached up to steal my napkin from my lap, tail thumping against the breakfast nook bench.
“What I wouldn’t give…” the tears started.
“What Mom? What did you say?”
“Nothing,” was all that I could choke out.
“No, what did you say, I want to know. Please tell me.”
I swallowed hard, “My mom really liked coffee and donuts. I’d dearly love to be able to sit down and talk to her over a cup of coffee and a donut again.” I started balling.
“But your mom is dead.”
“Yes,” I sighed, “I know that. But I still miss her.”
Things over the last few weeks had been tough at work, chaotic at home, and I was tired. A quiet conversation with my mom over coffee and donuts would have been a wonderful balm for life. We never solved the world’s problems or even our own, but I always felt better after talking to my mom on a quiet morning in the kitchen. And we usually ended up laughing a lot.
All day that day I tried my best to get back to Dunkin’ Donuts for a few quiet moments—for a donut and coffee in memory of my mom and a chance to think, but life intervened. Probably for the best, since I don’t need the calories anyway.
Grief is an odd partner that waxes and wanes like the moon. When you lose someone very dear, at first the pain is crushing, sharp and frequent. Then, slowly, you learn to live with your loss. Sometimes life can even bring new gifts and room to grow as you fill the space created by a lost loved one. But every once in a while, grief strikes again and you realize how dear that person was to you, and how much you miss her.
And sometimes, you just need to have a cup of coffee and a donut in a quiet place.
© 2013 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.