time for another coffee…

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Another round of coffees?...

Each week my daughter and I meet my grandparents in a cafe. It’s a little one with darkened corners and wooden tabletops. A cafe with a heart, and dependable caffeine. Our orders are remembered, and greetings said genuinely from tattooed baristas.

It’s our cafe.

This cafe means a lot to me as I know that our time is special. At 85 and 86 respectfully, my grandparents time is especially important. It takes a lot longer than it once did to do up shoes now, sometimes memories aren’t there where they were last put them down, and parts of the week are taken up by appointments they’d rather not attend.

I watch their eyes light up when they talk to their small great granddaughter. Bodies seemingly straighten and hearts lighten with gentle embraces.

This time is special I know that.

While my week is often spent in a flurry, this time here, I try not to hurry. No regrets right? My time to give back a tiny bit to two people who have spent my life time giving to me. They don’t need trinkets, and items to clutter up shelves and cupboards. What I can give to them is time. Time spent together, conversations that matter and the occasional baked treat from my kitchen to theirs.

Doors are held wide, cushions plumped on sitting. Ensuring a comfort that isn’t always there as age offers a fragility that can’t simply be undone or at times made comfortable.

Hot coffees are sipped, and our time is shared.

I drive away at the end of our morning spent together. Eyes watching my grandfather in the rearview mirror. He patiently waits for my grandmother on the corner, and my stomach tightens a little at the sight of a man who seems to be slowly lost into the size of his clothing. The fragility is what stabs.

“…ageing, it’s not for the faint hearted.” They say, with smiles on lips and a twinkle in the eyes.

I don’t let my mind go to the one days, the maybe’s, the what it’s. I make sure I am here, I am in the now, and next week, just like before, I’ll meet them again for coffee.

Yes, 3 flat whites and a kids strawberry milkshake please…

…we’ve got time for another coffee.

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44 thoughts on “time for another coffee…

  1. Beautiful words Brydie! How nice to meet them every week! Very special also to still have grandparents at our age! Mine have gone long ago…. My last grandparent died in 2002….
    Cherish them which from your story you seem to do with all your heart, mind and time. It’s touching. Take care

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    • I am really lucky Irene that I still have three of my grandparents around and doing really rather well. I’m lucky, but so are my kids to have that generational diversity. The eldest especially is really enjoying the stories of ‘the olden days’.

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      • Totally! Not just you that is lucky but to have great-grand parents must be really really special! I bet J is relishing those stories!

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  2. Such a poignant post Brydie. Aging really frightens me as I watch my own grandparents slowly decline from the strong, independent people that they once were. Weekly coffee sounds perfect, particularly at a proper cafe with some soul x

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  3. From a mum who rarely catches up with a busy son and daughter who live a thousand kilometres away…thank you for sharing your time. You are right…we don’t need trinkets or flowers, time is the most precious gift. I have been slowed down by an accident at 62 and it mentally takes a greater toll than physically. Blessings your way.

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  4. Beautiful post!
    I only have one grandmother left, she lives in The Netherlands and is only two months shy of her 90th birthday. We catch up every Thursday for a cuppa (over Skype). She doesn’t get out much anymore, of all her “getting old” ailments, loneliness is the hardest. Time is a precious gift.

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  5. Pingback: time for another coffee… – Nehal's World

  6. My father is 86 and I’ve cared for him for the past year. He has gradually developed Alzheimer’s. When he got a sore back I took him for a scan and his prostate cancer has come back to his spine. I’ve spent the past week in the Prince of Wales hospital convincing him to have radiation and repeating myself about his sore back. Old age is quite a thing to behold. It takes time to care for old people, which is quite a thing in the city. I haven’t done a big supermarket shop for weeks. I don’t have the time or energy.
    I feel we owe it to those who have helped us in our time of need, to help them in their time of need. It’s karma, it’s very real and it’s just what we have to do, I feel. It doesn’t make sense in some ways, most people put their parents into nursing homes, pay a massive bond and let them be cared for by others. I can’t bring myself to do that, I feel we have a duty of care which is not legal as teachers and psychotherapists have. It’s a karmic invisible duty of care, it’s what we are obliged to do, what we must do. My siblings don’t see him or contact him at all, I find that so weird. I feel guilty if I don’t spend a couple of hours each day with him. People need the care of family and friends, it’s human.

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    • Frances it’s a tricky one. I completely understand where you are coming from, but I also understand there are so many reasons for others not being able to commit to being in that care position for loved ones/family members. It can often be a huge responsibility, both emotionally and physically.
      I’ve no doubt your dad appreciates the time you are putting into his days, no matter how he’s interpreted it.
      (Hope some food finds it’s way to your household cupboards.)

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  7. Oh bless this heartwarming story, Brydie. I didn’t grow up with any grandparents and they were dearly missed in my life. This week we are attending a funeral for the kids’ great grandad (Rob’s grandad). Hopefully we will move closer to the children’s grandparents next year so they don’t miss out on what I did as a child.

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  8. Your daughter is laying down memories of her great grandparents. You are the facilitator of those memories. It’s so very easy to get caught up in the “everything” that we immerse ourselves in with modern societal stresses, social media pressures, the need to be everything to all people that we forget there is a slow undercurrent of life ebbing and flowing regardless underneath the flotsam and jetsam that we flounder around in, wasting time. I love this post. I still remember my grandmother as if she was here. I spent a lot of time with her as a child and those memories are woven into the fabric that has become “me”. You are giving your daughter the gift of those memories. That’s something precious that no amount of money can buy Ms C.

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      • I remember quite a bit from when I was a little girl but it isn’t really the active memories that count, it’s the family cohesiveness that you remember. The feeling of belonging to something much bigger than yourself, that starts the ball rolling with wanting to be part of a good community and to share emotionally and physically. She will remember then 🙂

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  9. Man, this made me tear up. Beautifully written and reflected. Tender, strong and vulnerable. Important. I see my grandparents so rarely. Every time I go back home, it’s still not enough. My grandmother is growing more frail and vulnerable. I can hear she is afraid of being alone. Of not being looked after in the way that she needs. How she tries to describe her low moods, but are unable to connect it to depression – there was no such thing when she was younger. You just got on with it. Every now and then we try to have a conversation on the phone, but she can’t hear well. I speak as loudly as I can, and she get’s frustrated. Sometimes she cries when she hears my voice. It’s so hard.

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    • That’s really hard Turid. Distance, age, loss of hearing, isolation, fragility…they are all hard things to manage. I know when ever I’ve seen or heard any of my grandparents cry (or parents for that matter) it’s hard, really hard. We live in such a different world now, as you know well with distance being such a barrier for so many people as they start up new lives in different lands. It’s tricky. xx

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  10. A beautiful piece of writing Brydie.

    It reminded my strong Opa who had a life of fascinating stories to tell, always a new one, he always made me feel like they were meant just for me. And my Oma who would sneak food to the stray cats on the farm, she was the only one who could call them with her special whistle, I used to try and imitate it as a kid, the cats never came, I probably did it without food ;).

    I also remember when they weren’t so strong towards the end, that’s hard but it’s the time I spent listening, watching and just being with them that comes to mind now. This time you spend without the hurry it’s special and what a beautiful gift to share with your daughter.

    Thank you for reminding me to think about my grandparents, it’s been too long…I might just take the time to pass on an Opa story to my kids tomorrow.

    Fran xx

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    • Fran I think that’s such a beautiful gift, that gift of stories. Some people aren’t going to get anything from it but the ones that do…oh so worth it. Tell your kids those stories, pass them on. It’s important.

      (and thank you dear Fran. x)

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  11. A good reminder to us all. I’ve lost my parents now, and I’d give anything to get them back. Even when they drive you mad, forgetting and doing silly things in their old age, it’s a special time to be cherished. Well done you for realizing this now and making time for them.

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  12. Pingback: That’s a wrap | cityhippyfarmgirl

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