So, a little story first.
When I was married to my first husband, we owned a pair of LARGE coffee mugs. They were shaped like the beer steins you find in German restaurants (the everyday ones, not the fancy shaped ones) and they were covered in a red and black plaid pattern.They each held a half liter of liquid, so I’d make a pot of coffee and we would each have one “cup” of coffee to drink through breakfast and most of the morning. We were both morning people, he more so than I, and we both loved coffee.
After we divorced, I had custody of the mugs. I think I still had them until 1997 when I had a brief bout of homelessness and the person who was paying for the storage unit decided he wasn’t going to pay for it anymore and didn’t tell me. It was a dark time in my life, the details are a bit fuzzy now. Suffice it to say I lost the mugs to time, and someone else is probably drinking coffee out of them this morning, being happy and amazed at how big and warm they are.
Eric, my current husband, is NOT a morning person, and he doesn’t drink coffee. I am now afflicted with waking up early on the weekends, sometimes as early as 6 a.m., so I need to do something quiet until Eric gets up and is ready for conversation. Somedays this could take all day, and quiet is not something I am naturally capable of being.
So here it is, Sunday morning, and I have a large cup of coffee in front of me. My preference for coffee is a light roast using a French press and adding some cardamom and cinnamon. Cream and butter, but no sugar. I will drink a medium roast but I find I add more cream to it to mask the bitterness.
Todays’ musing is about endings.
I recently learned that my ex-mother-in-law passed away on Christmas Eve. She and I had a cordial relationship at best, even when I was married to her son. I had not seen, nor spoken to her, since my son’s graduation party in 2010.
I did get updates from time to time from my son or his father.
“My mother has cancer in her cervical vertebrae,” my ex-husband told me about 7 years ago. “We don’t know how long she’s got.”
Holy shit. I can’t even imagine that. He went on to describe how incredibly painful the doctors tell her it is, and how they are amazed that she’s driving and walking around without screaming in agony. I’m not amazed. I’m not even surprised, really. She was a tough lady. She took no crap from anyone, she did not suffer fools, and she did not pull punches. I sincerely doubt she would let cancer beat her down without a good solid fight.
I won’t lie, I didn’t like her very much, mostly because she was who she was and the kindest thing she ever did for me was to tell her son to stop stringing me along and divorce me. I didn’t appreciate it at the time. Now I understand better: it was an act of kindness to a woman who she didn’t like much but had given her a grandson and deserved at least that much respect.
(And I didn’t think I’d ever cry for her, but I am, crying for a woman I wish I had liked more.)
I told my ex-husband and our son that until further notice, all the holidays belonged to her. If our son wanted to spend a holiday with me, I was glad to have him over. I wanted him to spend as much of the remaining time he had with the Nana who actually wanted him. I may not have liked her very much, but I wanted her to have as much time as she could with her family, my son included. I could at least do that much.
My son texted me a Merry Christmas. He then asked when I was stopping by with the birthday and Christmas presents I had told him had come for him. I made arrangements, and then I called him. He was solemn when he answered the phone.
“Just wanted to tell you, Nana’s gone. She went to the hospital on Saturday, and held on until Sunday.”
“How are you? How’s your dad?”
“He’s sad. I guess he feels about how I would feel if you died. That’s his mother, you know?”
We talked about the wake and funeral arrangements. I asked if he had a suit, he said his Dad had gotten him one for a funeral last year, which was the funeral of one of the aunts, the last living sibling on his Nana’s side. I called his father and offered my condolences, and asked if in lieu of flowers I could make a donation. He said they were asking for donations to the American Cancer Association.
Yes, it’s a sad ending. Not a happy musing this morning, but an important one.
Goodbye Janice. As always, you were the last person left at the party, making sure everything was cleaned up and put away. Rest in peace.
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