When his wife of 41 years died of skin cancer in 2012, David Hoskins packed up and moved in with his daughter to nearby Hazard, Kentucky.
Hoskins didn’t take much with him, but he kept two things: the last can of coffee his wife Karen bought before she got sick and the spoon she used to stir her coffee every morning.
Five years later, the 66-year-old widow still uses both every day.
“Looking at that picture of him with his coffee can, you’d never know that that’s all he has left of her,” his daughter Kim Hoskins Fields wrote in a now-viral Facebook post shared on the page Love What Matters on Saturday. “Because that’s how they always started their day was with coffee, and so each day he starts his day with my mama.”
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Hoskins Fields said the spoon and the Maxwell House coffee canister ― which her dad refills when it starts to get low ― are sacred items in her home.
“When he moved in his things, he told me to never throw the can away and to never touch the spoon inside of it,” she said. “He didn’t want it mixed up with my other spoons.”
“I kind of laughed and asked him why,” Hoskins Fields said. “He explained that it was all he kept because it made him feel close to her, like she was still there each morning.”
The couple had six kids during their marriage (two from Hoskin’s previous marriage), so couple-time was often in short supply. Every morning, though, they made time for coffee.
“Even when I was little and she went to work super early he would get up with her and have a cup,” their daughter said.
Kim and David Hoskin with one of their granddaughters.
Karen’s diagnosis of melanoma in October 2012 came out of nowhere and he grappled with the news, according to his daughter. Two months later, Karen died.
“When she was dying, he made himself sick with worry and tried to save her,” Hoskins Fields said. “He begged and pleaded with God. He would have traded anything, gave anything or done anything to save her.”
These days, coffee is all Hoskins needs to remember his late wife.
“He says he has all the pictures and memories he wants in his mind,” she said. “He kept what he knew would make him feel the closest to her.”
“I’ve never wondered if my dad loved my mama, it was easy to see, from the way he would dance with her in the kitchen to the way he tried to save her in the end. And when she died, he packed up what he wanted, got rid of what he didn’t and he moved out. And looking at that picture of him with his coffee can you’d never know that that’s all he has left of her. The last can of coffee she bought before she got sick, the last spoon she used to stir the coffee with. That’s what he kept, and he uses it every single day, when he runs out he puts his new coffee into the old can, never changes spoons.
Because that’s how they always started their day was with coffee, and so each day he starts his day with my mama. On the 13th of April, my daddy and mama would have been married 41 years and no doubt the celebration would have started with coffee and ended with kitchen dancing had she been here. We can all hope to be loved so much that someday our legacy is as simple as an old coffee can and spoon, that we still mean so much to someone that their day still begins with us…”