Salted Caramel Coffee in Wounds

Everyone seems to be caught up in the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Seriously, I’ve gotten emails about it, I’ve read blog posts related to it, ignored lots of tweets and even more Facebook updates. Yes, ignored. I’m one of those people who doesn’t rejoice at the return of this particular coffee. While it’s a symbol of the change of seasons, it’s not a drink I care for. At all. I mean, I love pumpkin flavor in baked goods, but not in my coffee.

That being said, as much as I prefer to make my own coffees at home, I was happy to see that the giant, corporate coffee-establishment-with-the-green-logo-I-don’t-feel-like-naming-because-it’s-more-fun-to-type-ridiculous-run-on-sentences had brought back one of my favorite drinks. I quickly remembered my love for this particular version of liquid gold and decided that the weekend needed to include procuring such a drink.

So the next day, a fantastically sunny Saturday, I declared it was coffee day and went to the nearest mermaid-endorsed coffee shop. And there it was! My drink was awaiting me, on the menu, in its full glory. As I ordered, I felt the anticipation build for this drink I’d longed for. It was going to be a good day. No, a great day! Such a beautiful drink, I can barely put into words how happy I was to receive it from the barista.

Grandé Soy Salted Caramel Frappuccino, oh how I’ve missed thee!

I could hardly open my straw quickly enough. (Details, you need, right?)

And then it was time. Time for the first glorious sip. The taste of true bliss.

Let’s just say, my reaction was unexpected to say the least. I nearly gagged. Instantly my stomach was in a knot, and I set down my drink. Here was this cup of happiness that I’d waited for, that I’d ordered a second one of so I could deliver it to my mom. And I didn’t want it. It wasn’t that the coffee was ill prepared, it was that, in the mere moment I tasted the coffee, I was transported to where I didn’t want to be.

I was no longer leaving the coffee shop in my Jeep, but at the hospital. Immediately taken back to the moment when I was walking into the room, carrying a drink holder full of coffees for all of us. Salted Caramel Frapps for me and my mom & a hot coffee for my dad in case he could drink it today.

I was back in the waiting room as my dad was in surgery for his first procedure, cold-sweating cup in hand.

My mind suddenly returned to the recovery room with him after the second procedure, coffee nearby on an end table.

I felt the nearness of him, as I spent the evening talking with him about plans for when he recovered.

I found myself with the memory of being in yet another hospital room, feeling the emotions and listening in disbelief as the doctor told my dad they weren’t able to remove the cancer. There weren’t any other surgical options. There might not be any other options. The doctor’s expression kind, his heavily-accented voice so gentle despite the weight of his words.

My heart breaking…

See, it was through the winter that my dad battled his pancreatic cancer. And often on my way to see him and mom, I’d stop for coffee. Stop for a little slice of happiness that wasn’t hospital coffee or food.  Then I’d carry the tray of drinks all the way across the hospital campus, taking deep breaths and little sips of my drink, unsure of what I would face. Willing myself to be strong enough.

After my first sip, the panic continued. I felt ill. And even more so, I felt concern. Would this coffee I just purchased also bring the same emotions to my mom? Instead of delight, was I delivering an ice-cold cup of grief? I prayed it wasn’t so. As I arrived, I tried to find my joy again. Joy in delivering specialty coffee with a smile. Joy in time spent with my mom, glorious coffee in hand. Joy in knowing I can embrace these memories, painful as they may be, yet still find hope. A hope that there will be less painful memories, less salt in these wounds as they heal and a hope for more reminiscing of good times while drinking cups of that glorious drink, coffee…

What’s Your Favorite Coffee To Order?

10 thoughts on “Salted Caramel Coffee in Wounds

  1. You are a very gifted writter, this brought tears to my eyes, I know you loved him so very much. This is a grief and pain one never gets over we just somehow learn how to live with it. Somehow we do , but at the drop of a hat, the sip of a drink, or a thousand other little things it all comes pouring back even 20 years later a lifetime later.
    Thats a good thing cause it means we don’t forget our loved one.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sherry. And I have to agree with you, pain or no pain, it’s good to remember! That we would never forget those we miss most!

  2. When I was in the 8th grade, I remembering avoiding raspberry jam for a while. The reason? The day of my uncle’s funeral, I had dropped a dollop on my pants suit (yes, it was the 90s) and I spent the entire funeral looking down at my lap so I wouldn’t have to look at his casket. And the raspberry jam was all I could see and suddenly represented all that pent-up grief.

    I totally hear you.

    1. Thanks for sharing your memory. It’s amazing how something so insignificant can take on so much meaning, whether or not we’re aware of it in the moment.

  3. After losing my mother, I have learned that the “definition of grief is not having any place to put the love that you feel for the person that you have lost”. It has been eight years since she died but at times I still find myself, if only for a split second, thinking I have to call mom and tell her about the moment that I’m experiencing. And yes, I still miss her. When I lost my mother – I lost a part of myself.

    1. So sorry for your loss. What’s amazing to me in this journey of grief is how, yes time can heal wounds, but time itself seems altered. Months can feel like years, yet memories feel like they are only from yesterday. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for your beautiful heart and for sharing it with all of us in your eloquent words…you are a gift and I know your dad is “beaming” with pride and loving admiration from Heaven as he watches over you!

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