Coffee and Cake

(Photo credit: Simone’s Kitchen)

I wanted to share this poem in dedication to my dear friend, Jenna, who I’ve known for over thirty years. I worked as a home help (before I became disabled) for her and her husband with their three older children when I was a single divorced parent who brought up my two young children alone. I loved being at her house – it was a grand Georgian house with a sweeping staircase and mahogany panelled walls in the hallway, and I thoroughly enjoyed my work there. Lots to clean with all the nooks and crannies. We’d sit for an hour in the middle of my morning talking about all and sundry. I always made my coffee time up working later than my allotted time there. She was always there for me, and I for her.

About four years ago, having lost her husband and two older boys tragically, she moved down to the south coast to be near her daughter and granddaughter. She’s now living in a little cottage almost on the beach. She loves it there, and I’m so pleased for her. That’s not to say I don’t miss her very much because I do. She no longer drives, and I’m unable to visit her because of the distance and lack of accessibility of transport. She’s eighty-three now and becoming frailer in her old age. It worries me greatly as just recently, she’s started to deteriorate. I dread anything happening to her.

COFFEE AND CAKE

I miss the times we sat together
Over your heavy pine table
We drank coffee and ate dainty madeleines
As I poured out my troubled heart to you

That time spent together
Strengthened and deepened our friendship
We cannot sit there any longer
But, my friend, my memories are so fond

You saw me through my best and worst
Through a close-shave house move
Through damaging relationships
You soothed me as my mental health declined

You never once judged me, never criticized
Quietly there amid your own turmoil
And coffee and cake became a sigh of relief
Time to stop and share both joys and tears

Now, so far away with miles between us
You by the sea and me still in town
We still speak for hours, not every day
Perhaps, once or twice a week

We never tire of things to speak of
Often, putting the world to rights
We talk of our children, some lost, some grown
Partners and mothers long since passed

We talk and talk endlessly
I feel that I witness your life
In its goodness and its pain
As you too, witness mine

Our extended phone calls
Prove those miles between us
Hardly matter at all
But, my dear friend, I would give my all to see you again.

© Copyright Ellie Thompson 2022

22 thoughts on “Coffee and Cake

    1. Thank you so much, Ann. It’s hard being so far away from each other. I miss her. Unfortunately, after I wrote this poem and yesterday, she’s really taken a turn for the worst, and I am extremely worried about and feel powerless to help being so far away. We do talk on the phone, though, but I’d do anything for another hour spent together and another hug. It’s so hard when our elderly friends start to become unwell. Ellie x

    1. Hi Carol anne. It’s lovely to hear from you again. Thank you for your kind comments. I really do miss my dear friend who, unfortunately, isn’t at all well now. It’s been quite sudden so is quite upsetting to know she has deteriorated so much in such a short space of time. Take care of yourself. Ellie xx

  1. When meeting a new blogger, each post is a clue, a reveal. Do you have a post that discusses your disability ‘event?’ I hope I don’t sound voyeristic, I’ve found that posts of this nature are often the best. With aged parents on both sides of my marriage, I’m spending too much time daily worrying about and watching for signs of decline. It’s distressing.

    1. Hi Jeff. I find it really interesting to find a new blogger who I can make a connection with. I’ve read quite a few of your previous and more recent posts, and I agree with you; each post tells you more about that person. You’d be surprised how much you and I have got in common, not necessarily right now, but then I’m only just beginning to know you, but from the past.

      It can be tough to watch our parents decline – it’s heartbreaking at times. I’m older than you and lost my dear Mum six years ago and my father ten years ago. I was very close to my Mum (who had a stroke), and it was terrible seeing how she had become after that. Life can be so cruel. We come into this world helpless, and we go out of it the same way.

      As for me, I think I might have written a post about my disability many years ago (I’ve been blogging here since 2014). However, if I did, I would have been in a very different place, mentally, at least. I’m an awful lot better from a mental health point of view now, although I wouldn’t say life is a bowl of cherries either. I just have a more positive outlook and am more resilient these days. My disability was initially caused by a funfair accident decades ago. I damaged the nerves in my neck and lumbar spine, which made walking more and more complex and, at one time, impossible. I also have severe osteoporosis now and am recovering from a fractured pelvis (in six places!). I don’t do things by halves 😉 . However, I’m fairly positive about my life and count myself as very lucky to be able to cope as well as I can. I use an electric wheelchair so there’s not much I can’t do. I’m very fortunate.

      I don’t know if my reply has been at all helpful – I have been known to waffle on!

      1. (Jeff googles funfair) Ah, a carnival. My life altering event was being hit by a car while riding a bicycle. I’m really fortunate to have gotten off as easy as I did (my primary lasting effects are worsening symptoms from a TBI). If you’re like me, you think frequently about how your life would differ if you weren’t right, there right then. Are you *sure* you’re older than me? You look pretty young in your drawing.

      2. It must have been terrifying to be hit by a car when you’re so exposed on a bike. Are you still affected by your TBI or have you fully recovered now? I hope it’s the latter.

        I’m not sure that I ever stop to think about where I’d be now if I hadn’t been involved in my accident. I think I’m very accepting and although I have struggled with that a lot in previous years, I’m so used to being as I am now that I rarely consider how or who I might have been under any other circumstances. I’m very happy with my lot really. After all, I am the proud owner and user of a smart and speedy electric wheelchair that has opened up the world to me on the whole. I have to admit that I do miss a walk in woods or forests as I’m so passionate about trees. I can ‘drive’ down by the river along the cycle path but without an off-roader I can’t tackle very rough ground. I don’t drive a car either so I am limited to where I can get to under my own steam or by train. As for my drawing … I’ll leave you in suspense 😉

      3. Well, I don’t actually remember getting hit by the car. My brain was pretty scrambled for hours. Unfortunately, several lasting effects remain, many of which appeared or worsened over time. I have a propensity toward double vision–I’ve had surgery once when it got too bad to correct, and I’m not so far away from surgery again. Hearing loss (corrected with hearing aids), My childhood Tourette Syndrome returned after the accident and remains a somewhat defining issue in my life. And what I like to refer to as adult-onset autism. This one is confusing to me, but I have many autistic traits that weren’t evident before the accident (possibly just brain damage, right?). Unfortunately I think what if about that accident all the time, and while I’m pretty happy with my lot in life too (family, writing, job) I get pretty bummed out about my inability to communicate well with people. Of course, it isn’t lost on me that I’m complaining to someone who can’t walk… It’s cool that your wheelchair can be such a good friend.

    1. Thank you very much for reading my poem, Cherryl. I do miss my friend dearly, but at least we are in touch regularly, and she is as valuable a friend to me as she always was. She is undoubtedly a blessing in my life, and not a day goes by when I don’t think about her.

      Apologies for not having read your post about the boars in the Dales. I will do it today; in fact, I’ve had the tab open on my laptop ever since you wrote it, which, I realise, was a while ago. I’ve been swamped trying to clear my son’s old bedroom before the decorator begins on Tuesday. There’s been so much to do, but fortunately, I’ve had the help of a friend as it isn’t possible for me to manage those tasks physically on my own. Xx 💜🌼❤

      1. I hope all goes well with the decorator, you can’t beat a nice freshly done up room, and I’m glad you’ve got a friend to help out with the prep👌 Pls don’t worry about keeping up with blog posts, there’s no rush, and there’s never enough hours in the week – even trying to find time to read a book is a struggle at times 😊x

      2. Thanks, Cherryl. It’ll be lovely when it’s finished. Just in time before my son and grandchildren move in for the duration! I definitely won’t get as much time to write then and I’ll really miss it. As for books, I start quite a few, but by the time I’ve found a gap to read, I’ve forgotten the plot and have to begin again. By then, I’ve gone off the whole idea! Oh, well, we can’t have it all. Xx 😊

      3. Lol, I’ve been there with that gap as well, and you have to in the right mood to read, not to worry, books can always wait.😊📚

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