• Jennifer Hastings

One More Cup of Coffee, Please!

I love the first whiff of coffee as you step into Starbucks. Don't you? It is comforting and relaxing. I rarely get the chance to write uninterrupted without kids; I am giddy with excitement for an opportunity to let my thoughts flow. I sit down with a cappuccino treat in my hand while ideas begin formulating in my mind. Pulling my laptop from my bag, I see an old friend, and we exchange pleasantries. She takes her coffee, and I turn to the keyboard.

I'm deep in my writing and happen to look up, and what I see catches me off guard. A mother and daughter snuggled up on the couch, lost in conversation. My friend's mother must have met her here for an afternoon coffee. I feel the scar tissue in my heart begin to open up, and suddenly my grief is spilling onto the table and dripping into the floor. My heart vibrates with longing for what I am craving, but cannot have. What I wouldn't give for one more conversation like that with my mother.

I have a difficult time looking away. My friend takes a sip of her drink as she leans in whispering to her mother in the most intimate of ways. Their shoulders are slightly touching. Her mother's eyes locked on her face as if the words coming out of her mouth are the most important words she has ever heard. Which of course they are, at least to her anyway. Here they are on a random Tuesday at Starbucks. Maybe they are talking about some funny thing one of the kids said; perhaps they are puzzling over which color to paint the kitchen, or where they want to go on vacation. They are just chatting. Conversation and love flowing freely between them. I miss that.

The beautiful simplicity of the moment brings forth so many feelings, feelings I try to keep at a distance. I've witnessed plenty of mother/ daughter moments before without falling apart since losing my mother, but this one gets me. I'm not sure if it is the way the sun is shining behind them or the way they seem to be oblivious to everyone around them. Perhaps it is because I am in a creative writing kind of mood where your feelings are flowing, and your heart is exposed. Maybe I am due for another bite of grief, but something about the way they are leaned into each other makes my heartache for one more moment like that.

Part of me wanted to go over there and ask them if they knew how lucky they were. Do they do this every Tuesday? Well, they should, I want to tell them, meet here every chance you get. I prefer not to look like a sociopath, so I hold my tears inside, and I fight the urge to interrupt their moment. Instead, I stare at my screen, the words lost, and the mood broken. Just for a second, I entertain having a pity party. Life isn't fair. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way. I should be having coffee with my mother telling her all about her grandkids' latest shenanigans. I should be telling her how silly Carter Man is and how his latest thing is to follow up everything he says with, right? Like, I am so fast, right? Like, you are so proud of me, right?

Before I totally cross over the line into jealousy and all the ugly bitter thoughts, I feel God whisper to me, he is the author of life, not me, and his timing is perfect. I know I need to back up my thinking from self-pity and move to higher ground. I need to focus on whatsoever things are true, and whatsoever things are pure and think about those things. I shift my thinking to God's words about being reunited in heaven one day, where they will be no more death and no more tears. I pick up my cappuccino and manage to stuff my grief and computer into my backpack. I have my own mom duties dragging me back to the here and now.

Something about that moment keeps coming back to me. I had not planned on writing about it, but maybe one of you needs a reminder of just how fragile life really is. Store your memories in your heart, in case you find yourself sitting in my position at a Starbucks table one day. If you still have your mom with you, take a moment, and try your hardest to capture the beauty of the simple moments in your heart, all those feelings of love surrounding the random Tuesday conversation. Those might be the ones you miss the most, at least that is the way I see it.

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