Monday, February 14, 2011

More like Cookie


with Cookie at Cleveland's West Side Market, Spring 2004

I told you I'd tell you a little more about Cookie. I thought today was appropriate...

One day last fall I noticed that Cookie wasn't responding to my emails. Within a week or so we received news of her passing. The next day I found myself on the phone, making arrangements to get to Cleveland immediately.

So much of that quick visit to attend her funeral mass seems surreal. I was back in the place I'd served as a young Mormon missionary, only this time I was pregnant with my third son. And Cookie, one of the central figures of my 6 month stay in the city of Rocky River, was missing.

I was there less than 48 hours, but it was long enough to feel deeply the sorrow of a friend taken by cancer and the joy and love one human being brought into the lives of everyone around her.

I was reminded of that love when I stayed up late talking to Cookie's daughter, Holly, and watched her all weekend, courageously filling the role of matriarch of a large extended Italian family. I was reminded of it when I greeted Cookie's mother, Rose (who is nearly 100!), and wept that she had to lose her young daughter. I thought of Cookie's love as I hugged her husband, Nazih, and felt speechless and unable to convey how I felt for him. The way Cookie loved people was celebrated again and again--I felt it as I talked with her son, hugged her grandchildren, listened to the Priest who led the mass, observed co-workers (she'd been a nurse) as they spoke of the tender care she gave patients. I felt the way she loved people as her eulogy was given and then a letter from her was read, telling us of the joyous life she'd had and 'not to cry for her.'

But I think the most poignant examples of the way Cookie loved came as Holly showed me all of the flowers that had been delivered. Of course there were dozens of gorgeous arrangements--from family members, dear friends, old co-workers. But four of the flower arrangements really stood out.

One from the hairdresser--a darling man Cookie had been a loyal client of for decades.

One from the dry cleaners--where Cookie had been such a longstanding customer that she kept a tab.

One from the mailman--who Cookie had always left bags of chips and chocolates for with her outgoing mail in the mailbox.

And one from the staff at Caribou Coffee--where she and her sweetheart, Nazih, had spent hours each week reading and talking and being together.

Cookie loved Valentine's Day. And I find that so fitting, because she was so good at loving. This year as I celebrate, I am trying to be more like her. It's not just about kisses and chocolate and romance. It's about my little children. It's about my friends. It's about my neighbors. Maybe it's even about my mailman.

It's about more love.

Happy Love Day,


L2L said...

I just ran out to my mailbox and put 3 chocolate roses in the mailbox, hopefully he's not late today!!!!! What a woman, to inspire people even after she has left this world and thank you Anne for sharing her with us!!!!

The Parkers said...

This is such a sweet, touching, and inspiring post. The world could use a lot more people like Cookie. What an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Kimberly said...

I wish I had a mailbox instead of a slot so I could leave treats for the mailman!

Joan said...

Thanks for sharing that with us, Anne. I love that her name is "Cookie" or her nickname, anyway.
Is it her real name?

Lorraine said...

Yes. Great post.

Mrs. Cropper said...


Her name is Rosalie Marie, but when she was born a nurse said, "She's as cute as a Cookie," and it stuck. She used Rosalie on official things, but really went by Cookie her whole life.

Rae. said...

Beautiful Anne. What a fitting tribute to a great woman like Cookie. Thank you for sharing her with us!