Wednesdays are my day to go to New York for work, which means I leave the house around 4:30 to catch the morning train in West Haven and I get home in the evening about 7. I am grateful I only have to do it one day a week and I love that I get to go to New York regularly. The day was productive and we had our office Christmas lunch, then I took a little extra time to walk through Bryant Park on the way back to Grand Central Station. By the time I got to my car, I could feel the tiredness settling in.
I came home to a church service. Ginger planned a “Service of Quiet and Light” for those who feeling the weight of grief and loss during the holidays—our version of a “Blue Christmas” service. Christmas Day marks three years since my mother went into the hospital for the last time. For reasons I understand and some I don’t, I am feeling her absence strongly this year.
One of the people who came to the service tonight is a woman I see regularly on the days I don’t go to New York. We hang out in the same coffee shop. When I got to the church, she met me with a bag of Hostess donuts—the little white ones.
“I knew I needed to bring them to you because they were important,” she said, “I just don’t remember why.”
Here’s why. After my dad died, Ginger and I were with my mother at her apartment. I opened the pantry and there were three bags of little white donuts. When I asked Mom about them, she said, “Well, every morning your dad and I would get up, I’d make coffee, and then we’d have some donuts and talk about what we wanted for breakfast.” Needless to say, little white donuts have an iconic presence in our home. We don’t eat them everyday, but on holidays and special days, and on days when we really miss them, those little pastries are a connecting force.
What I didn’t know when the woman handed me the donuts is today marks three years since her husband died. They had a wonderful marriage and she feels his absence deeply. In the middle of her missing him, she bought me donuts because, as she said, she knew they were important to me.
They are even more important now.
Peace (and donuts),