I don’t even like to talk before I have my first cup of coffee in the mornings. I like it hot with creamer in it and usually drink a half cup at a time. My husband, on the other hand, only drinks black coffee from his 16-ounce Mr. Coffee mug.
A few days ago, we started breakfast before I’d had time to finish my first cup of coffee, so I wasn’t functioning at my best. I had to be in town, and figured with luck, I could squeeze in time to eat.
We routinely divvy up the job of preparing breakfast, and my part is to pour the juice, milk, and coffee. I was pouring juice when Harold said, “My cup doesn’t have much coffee in it.” He handed it to me, and I grabbed the pot and poured it full. As I headed back with the mug, it slipped out of my hand crashing to the floor. Coffee splattered onto the refrigerator, my shirt, and puddled all over the kitchen linoleum. Sixteen ounces of black coffee turned into a river snaking in all directions.
Instead of crying over the spilt coffee, I said a few choice words, wiped off the refrigerator, grabbed a mop, and went to work cleaning up the mess.
This wasn’t my first time to clean up spilt coffee. Jim usually made the morning coffee, even after dementia made every small task harder. One morning several years ago, I walked into the kitchen to pour my first cup. A full pot of coffee was all over the counter and had spilled onto the kitchen carpet. Jim had forgotten the step of setting the carafe on the warmer to catch the brewed coffee.
I don’t think I cried that time, but I probably felt like it. It was unbearably sad that Jim, the person who always made the perfect pot of coffee, forgot how to do something he had done his entire adult life.
Jim’s morning routine was to drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and play his guitar. He quit smoking a few months before I noticed he was having memory problems. That was certainly a blessing, not just that he’d finally quit smoking, but that we didn’t have to deal with the danger of him lighting a cigarette and forgetting to use the ashtray.
Jim struggled to play the guitar as his dementia progressed. After he went in the nursing home, it wasn’t long before he quit drinking coffee.
It is only human to cry over our circumstances when we know we can’t change them. Standing there mourning over the past isn’t going to help or change anything. We have to grab our mops and do what we can to put things right and move on.
I do not condone or even understand people who deliberately hurt others. Certain people demean others to give themselves the appearance of superiority. They may give more credence to our mistakes than they deserve thinking it diminishes theirs. Avoid these people when possible; otherwise, don’t let them disparage your self-esteem.
Dwelling on the wrongs we’ve done won’t improve our situation. No one expects perfection. We err. We make stupid mistakes. We drop the metaphorical mug and make a mess. If we learn from our mistakes and make atonement, we can walk in the sunshine and avoid the shadows.
Copyright © March 2018 by L.S. Fisher