08/05/2010 01:21 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

A Cup Of Coffee, Cancer and Starting Up Again

Please indulge me while I tell you a story about coffee. Not about how the beans were first turned into coffee but how it became a marker in my life.

My late husband was very much into coffee. As a journalist, one of his favorite topics was coffee -- the different beans and the ways they are ground. A story he wrote about Kopi luwak (coffee made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet then passed through its digestive tract) is still used as reference for many coffee lovers.

When Chris first got sick with cancer -- before his liver transplant -- and the ammonia started to build in his system (liver processes ammonia) his mind started to get foggy and he became forgetful and confused.

I remember one day when in the morning he went to make us coffee and forgot to put the filter in and coffee spilled everywhere. Because he loved making coffee and had been doing so in the same machine for many years, he was very shook up. His mistake signified to him the start of his health descent, and he was right.

Chris was able to get a liver transplant in the nick of time. We returned home and had many beautiful cups of coffee.

A year and a half later, cancer had come back metastasized and we were truly scared of what lie ahead. One morning, I walked into the kitchen to find Chris in tears and coffee all over the floor. I knew why he was crying; it was again the descent of his health and again he was right.

Today, I woke up and as always since Chris' passing, I went to make my own coffee. After I started brewing, I realized I had forgotten the filter. In a second there was coffee everywhere and I was brought back to my husband's tears. I embraced the feelings, picked up a rag, cleaned the counter, the floor and the thermos. Five minutes later it was like nothing had happened; it was all clean.

I looked around the kitchen to make sure I had done a good job and thought; we can always start again. Yes, it will come with history and with feelings but it only takes us wanting to do so for new life to usher in.

If your kitchen is full of coffee, don't be afraid to take a deep breath and start again. Embrace the feelings, take a rag and clean up.

With love.

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