I’d say make it strong…better yet, this week, you might want to add some adult flavoring.
If we were having coffee, I’d sit quietly a lot. My smiles would be fewer. I’d struggle mightly against tears and tidal waves of sadness.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my mother died on Thursday.
And I would probably start to cry. I’d tell you how her friend called me on Monday when she had an urgent admission to an inpatient hospice unit for confusion, pain and shortness of breath. I’d tell you how my family got to FaceTime with her that evening before she went. And that that was the last time we would really speak.
I would tell you she went out on her terms, pursuing treatments for her stage 4 breast cancer that she believed in.
Then I would tell you that in her last days, in the fleeting moments she was awake and aware, I saw peace and gratitude on her face. She mostly slept while I sat with her, and the pain that had plagued her for months appeared to have been relieved. I would tell you that a few times I thought I saw regret. And that I hope it was regret only for all the things she did not accomplish in her sixty-eight years. For not making it to my youngest son’s first birthday, or to the one-year mark post-diagnosis, for which she aimed.
If we were having coffee, my coffee might get cold. And anyone who knows me knows I can’t stand iced coffee. So I’d go warm it up. Then I would probably say that I’m grateful for all that happened in my time with my mother. For all the struggles we had. For all the joy we shared. Those things are that shaped me, that led me to my husband and the wonderful life we share. They are what helped make me the mother I am, and give me focus on the mother I hope to be.
If we were having coffee, I would say death is hard. So love deeply, speak kindly and live a full life. Find joy and happiness in people you love and in the simple things. And I would say thank you for sharing a cup of coffee with me during these difficult days.
Be at peace, Mom.
May the love and gratitude of all those to whom you brought joy be the winds on which you soar.