If we were having coffee, there would be two unfinished cups, an empty dessert plate and a box of tissues the barrista was kind enough to bring over.
We’d pick a non-Starbucks spot to meet up because there’s so many new coffee shops along Northern Blvd; Caffe Beane, perhaps? I’ll be a minute or two late because I misplaced my phone, couldn’t find parking and walked into the shop next door by mistake. It’s what happens when you are granted the chance to leave the house and two toddlers for a few hours.
“Toffee Nut Cafe Misto” I order and you immediately order the same because you always end up wanting what I ordered anyway. “One peanut buttercup pie and two spoons, please.” I add. Otherwise, we’ll end up standing on line again later.
I’d ask you how everything is going and of course everything is going great…except for that one thing that Little Ollie did and “Why is she going through the terrible threes?” The same with my little Lady Z, who is no longer Baby Z because a “Three-nager” is a real thing.
We’d talk about Mr. Kramer, who passed just last Thursday. Kramer spent 51 years in our school building as a reading specialist and then as the sweet teacher attendance coordinator up until this past December. Why did he wait so long to retire? We’ll never know. The last time I saw him, he was wearing a graduation cap and gown and hugging us all good-bye.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about Carla, who is my age, and will be entering Hospice this week. Somewhere down the line, I’m certain we are distant cousins, but we became friends through Maria’s wedding, kids birthday parties, and family BBQs. Her two teens attend our school. Her littlest will probably be in my class some day. Carla always stops into my classroom to say hi when she is up for parent-teacher conferences or to take her kids on a trip. But not this year. We thought she beat breast cancer years ago. But it came back, spread, and now it’s taking her away.
I’d tell you about how I sobbed uncontrollably for an hour when she posted her good-bye on Facebook. She wrote,
This will be my final post…I’ve decided o share my last thoughts by letting you all know that I’ve cared about each of you in some way over the years and that’s why we are still “FB friends.” I only have 79 friends and half are related family or in-laws. A quarter are the friends that are more family to me than anyone else. They have been with me and in my children’s lives since the beginning. The last quarter – about 20 people or so are the “friends” I’ve accumulated these past years and have watched over the years. You’ve all meant something to me through the years, which is why I’m still following you.
This goes out to all of you…it was never about “woe is me” and I wish it were them instead of me…it’s always been that I wish I were you and not me.
Please don’t be sad for me – I’ve had a wonderful life. Please be sad for my husband, my children, my mother and each other. Life is too short – make the most memories you can with those you love.
Thank you for my memories FB – I love you all…
And of course my eyes will tear up again – I’ve decided to read straight from her post as her words are more true than anything I can say. I cry so often since becoming a mom. I’m sure that’s why I feel strongly for her – her being a mom of 3 young ones. They will want their mother but she wants to be there for them even more.
When I went to see Carla on Saturday, I walked into her living room and looked around twice. I saw her Mom, her daughter, her cousin and someone lying down. I had to look again and I realize she was the person lying down. I couldn’t even recognize my friend! Her sweet Mother was right beside her, trying to feed her and Little Allie was playing nearby. Three generations of women. My sadness turned to her Mom, watching over her baby, feeding her, willing her to live. I awkwardly shove a box of cookies in their direction and take Carla’s hand. I realize that there’s no use in talking about the situation. Instead we talk about her kids and school. I promise to make sure they do well…and then I realize I might not be there much longer.
“I’m moving to Abu Dhabi!”
“I heard! That’s so awesome!”
“But I’ll make sure my teacher buddies look after them while I’m gone!”
“But I need you.”
“I’ll be back.”
“No, Nancy. You’ve gotta go and live. That’s what I’m saying. You’ve gotta live.”
If we were having coffee, my cup would still be about 1/4 full. I never finish my cups of coffee. I blame my kids, who are usually interrupting me or the phone in my classroom that never stops ringing. Today, it’s these damn tears falling…Damn you, Cancer.
If we were having coffee, as we have done so many times before, we’d find a way to stifle these tears and think of all that we have to be grateful for. Our kids, our husbands, our families and our friends. And the peanut buttercup pie we’ve just shared!
What a crappy coffee-date I’ve been! But that’s what’s going on today. Grandma is 104 and still ticking away! Next time we need to meet up for stiff drinks. A drink to your Mom, my Grandpa and to Mr. Kramer, may they rest in peace. Let’s drink to this precious life, long or short. And to all the Moms who have lost their babies.
Hugs and kisses to the kids and although they drive us nuts at times, My God-aren’t they amazing?
Update 4/8/16 – Today we lost a beautiful soul. Your heart, your smile, your laughter and your dreams live on through your children and every life you have touched. We need not look far to find you. May we all take your simple advice to live.
Rest in peace my friend.