Ask any military member who’s served in Afghanistan and they’ll tell you how wonderful it was to have a Tim Horton’s in Kandahar Air Base. Getting Tim Cards was a favourite “present” in a care package from home.
My husband was only two months away from completing his tour when our beloved Golden Retriever Tessa suddenly fell ill. She lay panting in the living room that night, and I stroked her head and back to try and help her relax. Finally, she fell asleep. I tiptoed out, shutting off lights as I went upstairs, my heart breaking because I knew it was bad. Really bad. I lay in bed, tears running down my face. Then I heard thumping…thump, thump, thump coming up the stairs. Tessa dragged herself up step by step and in to our bedroom. She flopped on her side beside the bed, her sides heaving. I fell asleep with my hand on her chest. I knew when I drove her to the vet the next morning it was for the last time.
My two teens, both of whom have Down syndrome, were trying to grasp the fact that Tessa was very sick and the doctor couldn’t make her better this time. They held on to her tightly in the back seat. On the way, I phoned my best friend. Could she meet me at Tim Horton’s after I’d put Tessa to sleep? She started to cry with me on the phone. Of course she would meet me! I felt better, knowing I’d be seeing a friend shortly. We said our goodbyes to Tessa and another friend picked up the kids so they didn’t have to see the inevitable. I held Tessa in my arms till the end, cuddling her, and telling her how much we loved her.
When I drove in to the Tim Horton’s parking lot my best friend was already there. Even though she was having early labour pains, she’d come to help me through the worst day of my husband’s deployment. A steaming cup of Tim’s coffee – double double - was waiting for me on the table, along with a bouquet of flowers.
The familiarity of Tim Horton’s and the fragrant cup of coffee waiting for me enabled me to calm down enough to go home to my kids. In a strange way, it made me feel closer to my husband, who was on the other side of the world. When he could finally phone home, he was drinking a green tea from their Tims.
It’s the little things that mean so much during a crisis. We rarely think of them but they are part of the experience. I’m so glad my best friend could meet me at Tim Horton’s on my way home from the vet that day.