Coffee Talk

I stand staring into the cupboard.  My eyes see all the familiar coffee mugs lined up.  Though they are inanimate objects, the mugs seem to be shamelessly shouting “pick me” from their distinguished spots on the shelf.   *Sigh. 


Which one should I select. 

Which mug do I want to use? 

This decision should not be this hard. 

Except that it is. 


This simple task is hard for me because every little thing becomes more challenging when you live with loss.   Even picking a coffee cup can be momentarily overwhelming for me.  And, this feels completely out of character for me because I used to be very decisive. I could multitask with ease.  I coordinated a career and a household.  But, now, I am standing here unsure about what coffee mug to pick from an assortment of mugs displayed on the shelves.  

After staring at my choices, I reach for my well worn mug; and, then, at the last second, my hand instinctively grabs his mug.  And, I know exactly why I did this. I did this in an effort to feel closer to him.  I know that Mike’s lips touched the rim of this particular mug; and, if I use his mug, then maybe our lips can meet somewhere in the space that exist between where he is and where I am.

Wow.  That is a lot of heavy shit silently swirling around in my head as I select a mug to pour my coffee into.  And, this isn’t even particularly unusual.  It is fairly standard stuff.  Like most grieving people, thoughts like this float through my mind all throughout  the day.  It has been this way for three years now.  Admittedly, this is an exhausting way to exist; but, I am unsure how to live any other way.

Mike’s absence is everywhere in my life.  Even while performing a most mundane task like picking a coffee mug from the shelf, I feel unsettled.  I feel his absence.  It is tangible in the room.  And, three long years later, I just can not get used to it.   I can not believe that he is physically none existent. 

I miss Mike most while I humbly go about my ordinary life.  I live forward the best I can and I try my best to endure our separation.  Enough time has passed so that I understand my reality.  I know I will be without Mike for the rest of my life.  But, I still quietly rebel against his absence.  I feel that it is both cruel and unusual that he is missing from the familiar landscape of my life.

Without him, the rhythm of my life remains slightly off.  Even after all this time, I still struggle to find my stride.  My heart beats, but it does so out of time.  Everything is slightly off kilter because Mike died.  He is missing from my life and this affects my psyche so deeply. 

Once upon a time, I was proficient in my life.  And, now I no longer feel closely connected to the world around me.  Life as I once experienced it, largely falls flat. Mike's death has altered me in ways that are irreversible.  I have changed both for better and worse. 

Now, I occupy space both here and someplace else - someplace far from where I am physically standing.  My body remains here, but my mind travels to this place where time and space do not exist.  Throughout the day, I slip between this ethereal place and my physical reality.  My consciousness casually moves between our physical dimension and this other realm.  This practice of mental acrobatics is how I survive living without Mike. 

The woman I am today finds it difficult to pick out a mug from which to drink my coffee.  The old me would have thought this was weak and ditsy.  The new me understands.



Showing 7 reactions

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  • Lynda Birmantas Beam
    commented 2019-11-25 17:51:59 -0800
    Widow Brain is real…
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-20 14:06:02 -0800
    Don, I miss coffee talk and time with my best friend too. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-20 14:05:07 -0800
    Ellen Thank you for the drink at Camp Widow. And, thank you for following my blog. It was good to meet you briefly. I hope our paths cross again. ~S.
  • Ellen Langille
    commented 2019-11-18 21:29:03 -0800
    “thoughts like this float through my mind all throughout the day”
    I try to explain to people who comment on how “well” I’m doing, that there is not a micro-second of my day that Walt and Walt’s death are not front and center of my mind, of my whole being. Today marks 4M, and it’s exhausting living like this. Presumably, the exhaustion is what finally pushes the outside tears back and pushes the “well” me forward. But my inside mind knows better.
    Thanks for writing, Staci, and yes you met me and I bought you a drink in Toronto. You deserved it.
  • Don Yacona
    commented 2019-11-18 12:22:50 -0800
    I really miss having my cawffee with her in the morning
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-18 09:47:59 -0800
    Shellie, I love the way you phrase this. These thoughts occupy our minds, but really the real estate they rent is found in our HEART SPACE – most definitely. ~S.
  • Shellie Bryant
    commented 2019-11-18 05:58:06 -0800
    yes. all of this. Coffee cups, clothes, sheets for the bed, everything takes more brain space, or maybe it’s heart space.