Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Grampa & and the Coffee Cup

You know how your parents finally go through their cupboards as they downsize from your childhood home? Tupperware goes in boxes for Goodwill, the third coffee grinder, the old Corningware dish with the plastic snap on lid ... ok, I'll admit, I did steal that out of the box. It's perfect for leftover macaroni and cheese.

Oh yes. I stole one other thing.

My Grampa's coffee mug.

I was surprised Mom put it on the counter to get rid of it. I mean, Grampa's only been gone twenty-eight years. This mug? It's sacred. It's seventies vintage. It's got a chip in the rim. It's small. Almost tea cup like in size. But it was Grampa's. And my Mom is the most sentimental person in the world.

"Mom, why are you getting rid of Grampa's mug?"

Sigh. "Honey, it's time I let go. It's just a thing."

Let go. What does that mean? Let go. Grampa had M.S. so it made it difficult for him to hold a cup let alone a mug. Which was why he used this one. Notice the little lip on the handle? He could brace his finger against it, control his tremors, and lift it to his lips. I was eight. I watched. I watched him sip, savor, close his eyes, smile, and swallow. Yes. The moment was as sacred to him as it is now to me. Who else do you think taught me the art of coffee loving? My Grampa.

I snatched the mug.

"I am not letting go."

"Honey," patience in Mom's voice, "He's been gone since you were ten." Tears in her eyes. "We can't keep everything."

Letting go means moving on. Grampa would never let me put life on pause and grieve for twenty-eight years. Gramma didn't. Even Mom didn't. I didn't either. But, letting go does not mean letting go of memories. And this I reminded Mom.

"I realize we can't hold on to everything, but this," I clenched the mug as he once had, "this is his essence. This is my memory."

A smile touched Mom's lips. "Take your memory, honey, it's yours."

And as weird as it sounds, everytime I drink from Grampa's mushroom splattered coffee mug, I remember kissing him as a little girl. Smack on the lips. Because that was Grampa. He was immobile. What else could he do but snuggle?

So today I wake up to my morning kiss from Grampa, as I sip from his mug and remember, that letting go doesn't mean saying "goodbye". It just means, "until later". Like anyone who drinks coffee knows.


Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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  1. Sweet. :-) I have a few keepsakes from my grandparents that hold memories for me, but don't have anywhere close to the same meaning for anyone else in my family. Funny the little things we associate with loved ones and precious memories.

    1. I think keepsakes are a special little piece of someone we loved! :)

  2. I have some things from my grandmothers house that remind me of her. Doesn't matter if they are chipped or flawed. I even have one of her dresses hanging in a closet and look at it every now and then.

  3. So touching, Jaime - brought back memories of my grandparents. After both my grandparents passed away, my aunt did most of the sorting of their household goods and furniture. She kept only a few items for herself, giving others to family members and friends - my mother, however, was unable to let anything that remained be sent to Goodwill, etc., bringing it all home (a lot of it stored in her closets now). I took some of my grandparents small personal items and enclosed them in keepsake picture frames for my mother, aunt, and myself.

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