Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Laughter and tears

“I will have a regular coffee with a vanilla sugar-free shot” is what I said every Wednesday morning before meeting three wonderful women to share a morning cup of coffee. I looked forward to my time with “The Coffee Ladies” except for Tuesday nights. They often felt a bit short because of the early rise required the following morning. We met once a week at 5:30 a.m. for an hour or two, depending upon varied schedules and the topic of conversation.

At times, I questioned my ability to stay committed to that early hour. Yet, the pearls of wisdom and faithful visions I was given each week not only equipped me for the challenges I was facing but, removed any doubt as to my return the following week. My time with the coffee ladies began shortly after Michael went to heaven. Jessica was finishing high school and preparing for college. I was healing from cancer treatments and devastating grief, somewhat unaware of my desperate need for restoration, so the timing was perfect. In a circle of love around a small table, the importance and value of relationships was, once again, demonstrated to me.

It was not unusual for me to be laughing one minute and crying the next, all while sipping coffee, soaking in graceful insights and valuable truths. Many things spoken by the coffee ladies embrace me daily similar to the way those women did every Wednesday morning. However, one particular statement stands out in my mind. “It is laughter and tears all in one day”. Those words of wisdom dramatically changed the way I grieve the loss of my son.

At the beginning of my grief journey, I tried to compartmentalize my sadness, saving it for only certain times and places, which honestly, made it worse. The grief of loosing a child, attached to the necessity in moving forward without him, is experienced daily. It is impossible to put it into a tidy compartment, separating it from everyday activities. When I learned it’s doable to cry and laugh all in one day, sometimes all in one minute, it opened my heart’s capacity for joy. It taught me that joyful is different than happy. Joyful is a state of being, happy is merely a feeling. Even though I might have cried at one point in the day, I could still remain joyful and have a good rest of the day, despite feeling sad for awhile. Shedding some tears gave my grief an exit, which created new space for other things such as hope and gratitude.

Through laughter and tears, I display the depth of my love for Michael and my whole family. It also, gives others the chance to do the same. Typically, it will lead to a story that brings renewed life to a fading memory. The trusted relationship that developed among the coffee ladies, gave way to the sharing of life experiences and simple, yet profound, wisdom. Created and designed uniquely by a partnership that enhanced our human experiences.

Currently, meeting for coffee early Wednesday mornings doesn’t happen for the coffee ladies. However, the fruit from seeds planted by women changed through faithful discussions around a table, does. It’s the very heart and soul of Be the Change.


  1. When working through grief, laughter and tears in one day certainly sums it up, doesn't it. You stated it so well, as you relate it back to those early morning coffee visits. My how healing it must have been for you.... your strength is amazing. --Amy

  2. And how greatly blessed was I as one of the "Coffee Ladies" to brush up against your heartfelt pursuit of God's peace, healing, comfort and guidance.

    Your courage - and Michael's courage in allowing others access to your experience, has caused you and your family to many times "be the change" in my life.

    Cathy, Coffee Lady