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Sunday, September 03, 2006

I spent the day today cooking eggplant parmigian. One dish was for us, one was for a friend with a new babe, and the final dish, the real impetus for starting up the whole cooking process, was for a friend who just this weekend lost his wife. The depth of his pain was really unfathomable to us and any words we could think of to comfort seemed weak but I had a need to see him. Perhaps to somehow make it real. Maybe this is why the tradition started of bringing food to the survivors - because we want to be with them but words fail us and empty hands feel foolish. So we arrived, all five of us, the kids with drawings and us with food and tears and hugs.

She was young, mid-thirties. So is he. She was only sick for a short time and terminal only for days. The shock was mind numbing and the phone call left me sobbing then and there and off and on throughout the day. "Dead," I kept saying to my husband. That was all I could say as if saying it would help the permanence of it settle in.

All day today, my husband's tender kisses turned tearful as we tried to imagine the pain our friend is feeling. Perhaps the thought of how it must feel will keep us from arguing any pettiness or burdening ourselves with the mundane or fretting over the details of daily life - at least for a while.

This summer I spent a great deal of time with my mom who is 81 years old and who lost her husband of 52 years just a few years ago. She had many lessons to offer as she reflected on life both as an old woman and as a widow. Be nicer. Don't create arguments. Don't burn bridges. Work less. Take more vacations - individually, together, with friends, and as a family. Let things go if next week they won't really matter. And most importantly she stressed that a missed opportunity is just that. When dealing with spouses or families or road trips or snuggles. Forget the minutaea and revel in each other and seize the opportunities we are granted to spend time with those we love. We don't know what tomorrow will bring.

If we could hold these lessons in our hearts and minds and realize that life is truly fleeting, that our stay here is short and that our time as individuals and as a family is entirely what we make it, then life will be much better than it would be if we forget.

Homeschool Dropout

posted by Homeschool Dropout @ 6:47 PM  


At 9:40 PM, Kim said...

"words fail us and empty hands feel foolish"

So beautiful, mama. Thanks for much to think about...


At 1:06 PM, tumpover said...

i don't think anyone will ever adequately address the connection between grief and gifts of food, but you came damn close.

At 10:06 AM, Nanci Olesen said...

Thanks for this. A friend of a friend died last week and I have been lost to know what to say or even believe since it happened. These losses so young, so unexpected. I will be spreading the ashes of another friend, just 51, in a few weeks. It is true that each day is a gift and that we should slow down and enjoy ourselves.

Nanci Olesen

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous said...

I didnt find thing that i need... :-(

At 12:52 PM, Lynda said...

We reach the age when folks we know and friends of friends begin to, or more frequently now, exchange this existence for another requiring us to say and do things that don't fill our needs for grief processing. I bind up physiologically when trying to express myself-tears come unbidden and I cannot speak around the lumpy throat and even if I could I scarce know what to say.

This essay eloquently lays out how one can cope personally-well done and thank you for sharing this intimate moment.


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