Just a thought… When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. [Franklin D. Roosevelt]
Welcome to the start of what, for many, is the final work week of 2018. For others, like our daughter-in-law Brooke, it’s the storm before the calm (if you will) with mornings in retail that start at 6 o’clock and end with tired feet. We hope for her (and for you) that the coming weeks include some much-deserved downtime.
It used to be that my November and December were so insanely busy that the minute I signed off before Christmas holidays, a cold would descend on me. It was as though my body said, “Okay, you’ve stopped fighting now. Time to get sick!”
When I posted this picture from 2 years ago of my final breakfast broadcast on Facebook Saturday, many people asked how my longtime partner and our dear friend Mike Cooper is doing these days.
It’s been almost two months since Debbie Cooper left us, and Mike is handling this awful aloneness as best he can. From his texts and emails, I’m gathering that one of the hardest parts is answering questions from people so used to seeing this inseparable couple together. “Where’s your wife?” kind strangers will ask. I know he’s very tired of answering that. You see, not everyone knows Mike from the radio or has heard of his immense loss. They’re accustomed to seeing Mike and Debbie together holding hands, laughing over dinner or just sitting quietly poolside.
I do want to share with you some very happy news: after initially saying there was no way he could go without Deb, Mike has decided he will join us on the Tulip Time river cruise next April after all. We’re so proud of him for making this big step, listening to advice that he has to have something to look forward to in order to keep moving through his grief. While it’s certainly sage advice, he didn’t have to take it. But he is.
This past week, something happened that reminded me that Mike will never truly be alone. A coincidence, to be sure, but a nudge to him, a Godwink from Debbie, that made us both go WHAT THE —-?!?
Mike was down taking in some sun and what he thought would be alone time with his son in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where Christopher helps run a resort. Mike says a single guy sure does stand out; he tells me, within two days of arriving, he’d already been hit on by “three old dolls and a couple of guys.” I reminded him that he’s still got it.
We’ve been texting back and forth quite regularly as I nudge him to come stay with us in Palm Springs before company lands in here for the next couple of months, starting Christmas Eve. Then one morning last week he sent me this picture.
Take a look at this. Now look up at the top right. That’s right: my signature.
There were a lot of coincidences that had to happen for Mike to send me that picture. First, he was looking at the book exchange at the resort for something to read. Then he came across this book (which I remember having read because it was sent to the radio station and I thought I might get some Wise Guy questions out of it). But…but…I haven’t stayed on Isla Mujeres.
Sure, it could have been dropped off by someone who picked it up at a property in nearby Cancun. But I only sign books I plan to keep. If I gave it up, surely I would have scratched out the signature, or wouldn’t have signed it to begin with?
And there it was. In the middle of a melancholy Mexican trip, Mike goes to the book exchange to find my signature. What do you think of that?
Me? I believe Debbie was nudging him to remember just how loved and cherished he is. And that’s my Monday Motivation. Maybe to remind you to nudge that person you haven’t seen or been in touch with in a while and let them know how special they are to you or that they’re loved. This can be an awfully lonely season.
And on that note, I’ll also include a link to a website that has some very helpful essays and articles. It’s called What’s Your Grief and I’m hoping you’ll find it as useful or shareable as I have. Have a gentle day. We can do this.