Thursday, April 2, 2015
Our Last Suppers
The last supper I had with my dad was in a diner. Though we never told him his lung cancer was terminal, it was clear he knew. He told me at that dinner about things he'd done for people in his life, grateful thanks people gave him for poems written, stories told, and lessons taught. I inherited my father's overactive tear ducts, and that night, watching my dad and I across the table from each other, you would have seen us both laughing and crying in equal measure.
The last supper I had with my sister Esther was a delicious meal Andy and I shared with her at a restaurant in Laguna Beach, California. We were seated right by the window, and as we sipped our cocktails and ate our meals, we watched together as the sun sank triumphantly into the great abyss of the Pacific Ocean.
The last supper I had with my mom was up in Vermont. I can't remember what exactly we ate on Sunday night before leaving the next morning to head back to Long Island, but like all meals shared up in Vermont, I know our time was filled with an immense amount of laughter and love.
The last suppers I had with so many others--my grandmother, my friend Sal, and my many other friends and family members who have crossed over to the other side--were all hardly remarkable occasions, I'm sure. When we parted ways, I didn't offer a hug or a kiss that said goodbye forever. And why would I? We never expect a meal with someone will be the last we ever share.
When my friend Bob died in 2013, I thought about the last time I'd shared a pizza with him and his partner Mac. Though I saw Bob in the hospital too, our last meal together would have been not much longer before that, and I know exactly what he said that day, because it was what he said every time we parted ways. No matter how festive the occasion, or how soon we'd planned to meet again, Bob always shared the same parting words to Andy and me: "take care of each other".
What would you say to a cherished loved one if you knew this was your last supper together?
We never know when our last suppers with people will be, or when the last time we'll eat or drink or just sit at the table with someone we love, so we have to make every moment count, and every moment matter. That's true communion, after all, connecting with the others at the table, just in case it's the last supper you ever share.