It was the day after the day she died. Not a restful night as I writhed in deadly pain. The physical withdrawing from the steady stream of nursing hormones that were fading in their steadfastness. . . The desperate cries of shock and disbelief. Looking for a baby that was not there. Listening and sometimes hearing her and mostly knowing my super natural mommy hearing senses were wasted. My arms ached with the heaviest emptiness I’ve ever felt.
There was nothing good going on here. Obviously. We were trying to survive the next breath while hoping we would stop breathing all together. To live was pain, to die bliss. I was like a wounded animal trying to gently escape a trap while on display. I was centering in thinking of how to declare Gods goodness in this but in my real heart and mind, there was no goodness to be found in this fractured abyss. This cruel crushing crevice of earth deserted by the heaven I once thought I knew. But would now know intimately by my own blood bond. My own precious legacy of eternal life.
But on that morning, no good to be felt.
But there were people who were brave and kind enough to check on this animal I had become. To open the shades of her cage and bring her coffee. The coffee tasted foreign to me and it had nothing to do with the grief. People who had no idea how to make my coffee were trying to make me coffee to bless me. And it was gross. And it wasn’t what I wanted.
I called out before the next cup,” could you please get Chris to make my coffee?” No, you’re not doing it wrong but He knows exactly how to make it. I need his coffee right now.
And that was that. Now on the other side of things ordained unknown to me, a man who felt powerless found a great deal of strength and comfort in being able to do this sacred service for me. How kind of God in the rejection of coffee to lift the head of wounded warrior of a man.
Ask me then if there will be any warm memories and laughter of this time? The answer is not only no but HELL no. And for you to suggest such would be offensive. Joy in this sorrow? You must not see what I see and know what I know.
Fast forward 3 years and a bit. Same house. Same coffee maker. But a new coffee recipe evolving in routine.
In an unexpected turn of events, I have started using protein powder and a frother to cream up my coffee while boosting my nutrients. My husband is not yet skilled in this ritual but still wants to bring me coffee. He looks at the canister of protein powder and says, ” I feel like I don’t even know how to make you coffee anymore.”
“Every cup you make me is perfect”, I reply.
And then a funny memory bubbles up in my spirit. With a huge smile on my face and giggle in my voice, I say. . .
” hey don’t you remember when Ellis died and people tried to make my coffee and I was like ‘go find Chris and have him make my coffee”
That was so. . .
Funny. . .
Such a . . .
And it was . And there are more. Memories of painful times that now bring me joy.
A funeral dress shopping trip with my dear friends that was pure misery at the time is a sweet memory of the steel magnolia sort now.
Chef Alli in my kitchen. Feeding my soul and making funeral planning feel like a planned brunch in my honor.
My mother dressing me for a sacred event like she had all the other important days of my life.
Inside jokes from a graveside service that felt unreal and made me fantasize about things that could happen in a comedy.
Food and family and friends and tearful embraces
and food and laughter and pep talks
and food and wonderful gifts
and strange gifts
And good people making bad coffee because they love you
And love being defined by the only cup of coffee you can drink.
It’s good, it turns out.
It turns out good.
Gratitude is a funny thing. Tempered with time and faith, it creates good memories of bad circumstances. What an everyday miracle that was and I am so. . .
Grateful for it all.