Saying Goodbye to a Regular

Today I raise a glass to Naomi. She has been sitting in my section ever since I started at my restaurant almost seven years ago. In the beginning, I found it irritating that she would remove cushions from the front window seat and move it to where she was sitting so she could be more comfortable, but eventually I started doing that for her as soon as I saw her come into the restaurant. She died two weeks ago and I miss her.

These are some of the things Naomi taught me in the seven years I knew her.

  • That age is just a number and if you have a good attitude and an easy smile, maybe you get to live longer than a lot of other people and not die until you are 87 years old.
  • That you can ask for exactly what you want from a restaurant and as long as you come in all the time and are always nice and kind, the staff will be happy to cook you something off the menu.
  • To appreciate everyone who works in a restaurant and to bring each staff member an envelope with their name on it and a tip inside at Christmas time, even if it’s a random amount like six or seven dollars because that’s all you can afford.
  • That you can be 87 years old and still go to Mexico for two weeks even though you have cancer because you go to Mexico every year with your friends and you’re not gonna let a silly little thing like late stage lung cancer change your life.
  • That I can grow to admire and respect a woman who is so much older than me and even consider her a friend and check up on her every now and then since she only lives two blocks from me.
  • That it is possible to cross the street against traffic without even looking to see if cars are coming and you will get safely to the other side. (This might only work for Naomi.)
  • That a hug from an 87-year old woman is a really great hug because they have been giving hugs for decades and practice obviously makes perfect.
  • That if you take the time to talk to a senior citizen who lives alone and is maybe eager to talk, you can learn so many wonderful things.
  • That complaining about your lot in life does no good and your only option is to decide how you want to live your daily life.
  • That you never know when you’re going to see someone for the last time, so make sure every visit counts because saying goodbye to someone in a dream is not the same as saying goodbye to them in person.

Goodbye, Naomi. I’m glad I knew you.

15 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to a Regular

  1. Angela

    Losing regulars is hard. We had a couple they weren’t ‘a couple’ from their point of view, just companions. They were late 80’s and came in every Friday for lunch. One of the servers actually started referring to them as her grandparents. When we got to know them better we always visited with them no matter who was serving them. About 6 mos ago the man came in without the woman, and was with his children who often visited from NJ and they always came to our restaurant because it was their favorite. It was that day we learned of Irma’s passing. That was tough. Tom has since returned to NJ to live with family so we don’t even get to see him anymore. Outside all of the assholes that walk in and out the doors of our place there are a few who become bright spots, the ones who when you see them walk through the door you actually light up. I’m sorry for your loss and I totally get it.

  2. Tori

    Gives me the time to think of the regulars I’ve seen go. There have been way too many and they truly do become significant parts of your life. I’d just like to specifically give recognition to a man named Mark who taught me an incredible amount for once being just a “coffee guy.” I still think of him years later and I will never forget him. Here’s to you, old friend.

  3. AmyArmstrong

    So very sorry for your lost and for her family and friends. More people need to recognize the treasure that is our elderly. At my job, we have mostly older customers, and they are some of the coolest people ever! God bless

  4. Sarah

    It’s nice to know how much other people cared about your loved one when they pass. My mother passed recently and it has been very comforting knowing how much she was appreciated. My condolences to you and all who loved her. God Bless.

  5. Joel kauhl

    Thanks for leaving an empathic note to what sounds like a Fantasy Customer! Sorta puts things in perspective that you will Remember for the rest of your Life.
    Joel…a former waiter..

  6. Stephani

    That was beautiful, Bitchy. My great aunt who raised me died at 87 and she was a really wonderful and special lady. I think 87 might be the magic number. Sending you comfort and (less practiced) hugs.

  7. CincyDrunk

    Sounds like she lived a full, bountiful, and happy life. I’m glad you were there to share it with her. ❤️❤️❤️


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