If We Were Having Coffee // A Profound Thing to Witness

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. I am in desperate need of both. My energy levels have been waning for days now. Coffee is the only thing that has kept me going.

I’ve had an exhausting week, and a lot of it still lingers in my mind. It would help to get it out there, organize it, and leave it behind so I can begin again tomorrow with a clearer head. I’m sure you have plenty to share as well.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The clouds are moving in, threatening rain and seducing us with promises of perfect napping weather, but I have a fresh batch of 10-hour coldbrew ready to help fight back the fatigue. Let’s talk about last week!

“At least there was coffee. Reliable, delicious life-giving coffee. ”

— Mary H. K. Choi, Emergency Contact (via coffeebooksorme)

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I took off of work nearly every day this past week to help my mother begin the arduous task of cleaning out her late father’s home. Him and his wife, my mom’s mother, had lived in the house for over fifty years and when you never move, you never have much of a reason to throw things out. You just collect them and hide them away in nooks and crannies about the place, forgetting about them entirely.

To make matters worse, this man was quite the detailed and meticulous note taker and keeper of records. For example, I found every registration, inspection, and proof of insurance card going back to the purchase of his car in 1985, all of them in the car! He has lists, upon lists, upon lists of everything he has ever done.

I’m more amused than frustrated. I keep picturing my own messy desk and all the shoe boxes and drawers I have filled with my own lists and notes scribbled on scraps of paper. I definitely come from this man.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that of course, the whole process is emotionally exhausting for my mother. Half of what I have been helping her with is staying focused and motivated. The other half is giving her a ready ear whenever she needs to talk. I offer my opinion and act as a second, less stressed out brain for her to process what must be done when she gets overwhelmed.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that by far the most interesting thing I have found is his extensive work on our family history and genealogy. He has boxes and boxes filled with photographs, news stories, and scanned book pages on various family members on every branch of the tree going back as far as the early 1700s. It looks like I had ancestors that actually fought in the revolutionary war!

Before I knew he had done all this, I had been doing my own research on the family tree, and I am delighted to find not just that he had completed so much of it himself, but that we both felt the need to know where we come from.

The more I see of him in his work and his things the more I really wish I had known him. We were a lot alike, I think.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in the midst of all this and more going on this week, I witnessed someone’s life saved in a  restaurant this week.

We’d taken a break from sorting items, papers, and photographs in the house and went for sandwiches and crepes. While waiting for our food, I heard a commotion behind me and someone saying “he’s choking, he’s choking.” I turned around, and there was a tall, skinny kid, not more than 15 years old, I thought, backing away from his table with a look of panic in his eyes. His mouth was open, and he was gasping for air but making no sound.

His mother and another kid, his brother I figured, were trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver on him but it wasn’t working. I’d been trained in both CPR and First Aid and just as I was going to offer to try a large man stepped out from a booth, grabbed the kid around the midsection and started squeezing. It took longer and sounded a lot worse than I imagined it would in real life, but eventually, the soggy wad of bread blocking the teenager’s airway fell from his mouth.

He took a deep breath in and immediately began crying for his mother. He went to her, hugged her hard and sobbed. Tears welled up in my eyes too, and I sat back down across from my own mother to give them a moment to collect themselves. I could hear the kid thanking the stranger, the family asking to exchange phone numbers, the waitresses offering free food to everyone involved and then…it was over.

Everyone went back to eating, except for the kid, he refused to take another bite of food and asked for only water, even turning down a free milkshake. The place was buzzing around him, the stranger and the mother talking, the waitresses fully awake now, and my mother telling the story over the phone to my sister, but the kid said nothing else to anyone.

It was a very scary thing for him to go through and a very profound thing for me to witness. I hope he goes on to live a very long life and I wish him all the best in it.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am going to make a few small blog tweaks this week in hopes of jump-starting my lately lax daily writing habit.

I have been following Austin Kleon’s blog closely, and I love the way he mixes his daily lived experiences with his “niche” of creativity. I’ve recently found a slew of bloggers who blog daily for the love of blogging. They use their blogs to collect inspiration, to work out patterns in their thinking, and to look back on and mine for book ideas. They, like Kleon, do that by sharing what interests them and how that interest impacts their daily life experience.

Yesterday I came across the blog of Thord D. Hedengren who has a section for his more serious blog posts, and for his daily journal entries. I also took a look at Patrick Rhone’s site and found myself inspired by his daily blogging habit and his “Site Notes” page. Tina Roth Eisenberg also posts daily, but she doesn’t always write. Sometimes she just shares an interesting quote or image. I’d like to incorporate a few of these ideas into my own space here.

I actually do write almost every day, little journal entries recapping my day, capturing my thoughts and feelings at the moment, responding to something I saw, or read, or heard, and reminding myself what to be grateful for. I rarely share them, but I want to start because like these other bloggers, what I am interested in—the way it feels to be a human being, alive, in pain, afraid, curious, confused, in love, and all—touches every part of my day. I want to share that with you and in the process get closer to what it is I am trying to say or be myself.

I’m also giving myself permission to fail. No, I’m ordering myself to fail! I haven’t been able to finish any of the drafts I have started in the last month or so because I am terrified of sharing anything that is less than perfect. I’m afraid to be a bad writer, but the truth is, I am a bad writer, and I need to let myself be a bad writer so I can be a good writer one day. I’m going to finish my drafts and then let them go, for good or for bad, it doesn’t matter, they just need to go.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I am enjoying our chat, I have probably unloaded quite enough on you. And anyway, I have family in town to visit and a house in serious need of attention. I think it’s time I get going.

I hope you had a good week. I hope your to-do list is a lot shorter than it was seven days ago and that you found some time for you. I hope you learned something new. I hope you surprised yourself. I hope next week will be even better.

Drop a note in the comments and let me know how you have been.

Until next time.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo by Mikesh Kaos on Unsplash

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Lisa

Hello! I'm an aspiring writer fascinated by the human condition. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Consider signing up for my newsletter or supporting what I do by sharing a cup of virtual coffee. Thanks :)

3 thoughts on “If We Were Having Coffee // A Profound Thing to Witness”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    Wow – you’ve had a time of it and how about, you sit and I’ll get the coffee for us. You sound like you might appreciate being cared for a bit.

    What you are doing for your mom is heart-warming. It sounds like you are even finding treasures of memories and history that, if protected somehow, will greatly honor both his memory and the family. I doubt you will ever regret the investment of this time.

    Your post brought back a great memory for me too. I was in my office in the mid-1990’s when a lady I worked with, and greatly respected, stopped by for some reason long forgotten now. She and I were discussion information from various reports we could pull up on our computers. She was quite a character and was razzing me about something in those reports so I turned to my screen to bring the report up so we could have it before us.

    I found what I was looking for and said, “A-ha! Here is the proof of what I just said,” and I pointed to the screen victoriously – expecting her to respond somehow. But she didn’t. I noticed the strange pause and finally turned to see what the delay was, half expecting her to surprise me with something to defeat my finding on the screen, but found her struggling and turned blue. At first I thought – she has be kidding me, but quickly realized that even she could not fake turning colors like this – she must be choking…

    Suddenly frightened for her myself, I jumped up to help. I got behind her, lifted her out the chair and pushed it aside with my foot to give me room to attempt the Heimlich procedure, but worried about where to put my hands. She was a very busty gal and I hadn’t studied this step for several years. I quickly reasoned that pressing anyone from their upper ribs made little sense and pressing from below the ribs made much more sense, so I found a good spot just above her tummy and gave her a sharp hard squeeze which caused her to eject a small hard candy from my desk candy jar at a surprisingly high speed.

    She took a huge breath and slumped in my arms for a moment, then quickly regained her composure and stood up on her own, breathing deeply and restoring her normal color.

    It scared the life (almost) out of both of us. To this day, I’m so proud that I was able to help her and thankful that she is still with us. She’s one of those gals the world needs more of.

    Since, I collect memories like this, I may have to write this one up for addition to the collection. Most of the time, I’m looking for something humorous to carry my essay, but this saving someone’s life business – it remains huge in my mind to this day.

    Anyway, you’re busy – I know. I hope I was able to deliver a short breather-break in your day and have left you a bit refreshed and ready for the rest of a busy life. I always welcome your coffee visits. Please stop by whenever you’re nearby.

    Blessings.
    Gary

    Liked by 1 person

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