11/22/2013 12:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Cake and Ice Cream

Every now and then I hear a story that touches me. Dan, my husband, had an old friend in town from Wisconsin. I knew his friend's father was home under hospice care. I remembered the last report I heard was that the father was supposed to have passed away a while ago.

When my husband returned home from a visit with his friend, I asked about the father.

"Cake and ice cream," Dan said.

"What?" I asked.

"He told me they'd had a year of cake and ice cream -- both literally and figuratively."

Dan explained to me that his friend said it was the best year his family ever had. He told Dan that his father was home under hospice care and was not in pain. Because the family expected the father to die soon, they all made an extra effort to get together for birthdays and anniversaries. They celebrated everything. They celebrated every extra day they got with their father. Every extra day felt like a gift, and everyone made an effort to cherish being part of that family.

Cake and ice cream.


This column originally appear on Kathleen's website:

Kathleen Buckstaff's memoir The Tiffany Box is full of love, humor, heartache, and insight. A gathering of e-mails and letters to her closest friends comprise Kathleen Buckstaff's candid, funny, and recognizably true chronicle of a generation "in-between": nurturing its young while nursing its aged, and coming to terms with the bitter realities that temper life's sweet rewards.