Mourning Call

coffeeBy Marilyn Nutter

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Proverbs 25:25 NIV

My dear friend Ellen and her family were among the first people who welcomed my family when we moved to VA in 1981. Their hospitality was unsurpassed and our families enjoyed camping trips, meals, holidays, graduations, weddings, and news of the births of grandchildren. We moved in 1992, and even though miles separated us, we stayed in touch with visits, and for the two of us, one special trip to Cancun a year after my husband died. We were family.

About two weeks after my husband’s passing, Ellen phoned to see how I was doing. She had been widowed over twenty-five years ago, so she personally knew loss. Over the course of the conversation, she asked if I would be interested in having her phone me each morning at 7:30 “to have coffee” as she put it. She knew my husband Randy had made our morning coffee and we enjoyed it together, so there was a void in my life as I started my day. I welcomed the idea.

Sometimes our calls lasted ten minutes, sometimes thirty. We shared updates on our families, our latest recipes, my writing and her on-line teaching, and sparingly lamented world news.

I also cleared my throat when I said, “hello”. Ellen was the first person I spoke to each day. She is, on occasion, the only live voice I hear in a day. In today’s media driven culture, emails and texts provide communication—and I appreciate those–but nothing replaces interacting with a live voice.

Our calls have continued for four years. Yesterday I had my usual morning call but later that day I received news that she unexpectedly slipped from earth to heaven.

Our families did a lot of “big” things—the beach, camping, and holiday dinners, but her most profound act of kindness was dialing my phone number each morning. A small act that showed a big heart—a faithful friend who kept a commitment, shared life, and gave me an opportunity to clear my throat.

I loved her and will especially miss her each morning at 7:30.

Marilyn Nutter, of Greer, SC is the author of three devotional books, former editor of Penned from the Heart, and a contributor to on-line sites and compilations. She is a Bible teacher and speaker for women’s community and church groups, a grief support facilitator, and serves on the women’s ministry council at her church. She is the mother of three adult daughters who have given her eight beautiful grandchildren. Visit or contact