My sleep has significantly improved over the past few weeks. However, I still experience mornings that are harder than others. Last Thursday was such a day, and boy was it a doozy. But I had a busy day ahead, so I pulled into the Starbucks drive thru after I took the kids to school.
At first, it was all ordinary. I ordered my “usuals.” Then, the woman said, “And what else?” A normal question. But just hearing that made me think back to all the times I had stopped and ordered coffee for the both of us.
My voice cracked as I said, “No, that’s all.” I felt the tears begin as the woman handed me my iced chai. And by the time I pulled out of the parking lot, I was full-blown sobbing. It may have been a bit dramatic, but I couldn’t help it because coffee always makes me think of Emily.
She Always Had Coffee
When Emily and I were in DBT group together, I quickly noticed a pattern with how she’d enter the building each week — always a coffee in hand. Sometimes it was in a travel mug from home, sometimes it was from Dunkin’ or Starbucks, and sometimes it was from a gas station. But, no matter where it came from, it was always coffee.
As Emily and I became friends, I learned that coffee was literally Emily’s fuel. It didn’t matter if it was 8:00 in the morning or 4:00 in the afternoon. She’d have a coffee in her hand or gladly accept one if it was offered.
However, her fatal flaw was not that she drank a bunch of coffee, but rather how long it took her to drink it. I would sometimes see her nurse the same cup of coffee for four or more hours. My favorite moments were the ones where she’d end up with two coffees for this reason.
Coffee Mug Mornings
I remember the first time Emily spent the night. I remember it because the next morning, we sat at the table, sipping coffee and smiling. I kept looking at her and grinning from ear to ear because I still couldn’t believe she was actually interested in me. Yet, there she was, smiling right back at me.
Throughout our relationship, we spent many mornings drinking coffee together. Sometimes, like on the Saturday mornings the kids were at their dad’s, we’d sit on the couch in our pajamas (which meant Emily was usually just in one of my t-shirts) and sip coffee while we watched a television show or just talked. There were other days when we’d grab coffee together through a drive thru or I’d make her coffee to go as she headed out the door for work.
On Sundays, Emily would never finish her coffee before it was time to leave for church. So she’d take her coffee mug into my car and continue drinking it while I drove. Of course, this meant that the coffee mugs would pile up in the floorboard until I took them inside, but it made me laugh nonetheless.
Even when we traveled, we made time for coffee. I remember when we went to Chicago, we grabbed coffee the first morning we were there and sat to drink it as we looked out at Lake Michigan. When we went to Melbourne, Florida, we grabbed coffee from a local place and sipped it as we walked along the beach and sat to watch the waves roll in and out.
Every moment seemed so simple, yet so perfect all at once. And they all involved coffee.
I Think of Her When I Drink Coffee
I know that it’s probably just the fact that her death is so fresh, but I am continuously shocked by all the seemingly minor things that make me think of Emily. It’s probably ridiculous that I can’t drink or even smell coffee without thinking of her, but that’s where I’m at. It’s just one of many things I strongly associate with her and probably always will.
I don’t go through coffee nearly as quickly now, because Emily isn’t here drinking it. But I’d give anything to sit and drink coffee with her again. Here’s to hoping there’s coffee in Heaven? I’d love to sit and watch the sun rise with a cup of coffee in one hand while my other hand holds on to Emily.
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