Soul Amid Morsels
Food can feed the body
Food can nourish the soul
Soul wounded by grave loss
Soul in need of comforting
Comforting my spirit
Comforting broken places
Places torn asunder by death
Places in need of healing
Healing can come in many ways
Healing can be a basket of fruit
Fruit artfully arranged as a bouquet
Fruit chilled and sweetened
Sweetened flowers with berry centers
Sweetened moments spent together
Together we shared fruit on the big bed
Together in the first numbed shock
Shock that death had come to us here
Shock our beloved had finally succumbed
Succumbed to the cancer that weakened
Succumbed as his life was consumed
Consumed as we consumed the fruit
Consumed melons pineapples strawberries tart
Tart as the feel of tears and laughter
Tart as reality blended with sweet memory
Memory shared is thrice as sweet
Memory rolling out with every taste
Taste soothes the jagged edges
Taste so important a part of his life
Life now gone but lived as a chef
Life where taste was something cherished
Cherished meaning held in that fruit
Cherished moments sweetly shared
Shared as he shared his talents
Shared as we now share what we learn
Learn to create food to sustain us
Learn to see eating as an act of love
Love made real in food freely offered
Love in necessities generously tended
Tended with takeout with slow cooker
Tended with attention to bringing delight
Delight in meals shared and snacks provided
Delight in shopping and creating each new dish
Dish up a cup of healing and a big scoop of love
Dish about the times past and those yet to come
Come sit with us and have a savory bite
Come gather and share delightful morsels
Morsels of sorrow and remembrances
Morsels bitter and with laughter spiced
It’s not quite 11:30pm on April 6. That means that if I can get this posted before midnight, I’ll begin tomorrow caught up with both writing challenges, for the first time this month.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….
Food is a learning experience for me. I didn’t do much food preparation while Jim was alive. He was a chef – not just by occupation, but by passion. Everything he made, he made with the same attention to detail and craft I strive for in my writing.
Now, though –
Now, I realize that there was a certain mindlessness in the way I approached food. I often waited for it to be prepared for me. When Jim was working, I often ate freezer meals or scrounged. I didn’t think much about making food – only about feeding my hunger. Truthfully, food has never been a very high priority to me, beyond the biological need for it.
But I’m seeing it differently these days, and the change began with an Edible Arrangement my parents sent to us hours after Jim died. Despite knowing what was coming, the kids and I were more than a little stunned. Miah and I had been to the funeral home to make the arrangements, and, after over a week of very little sleep and intensive tending to Jim as he went about the business of dying, I was somewhere beyond exhausted.
That night, less than twenty-four hours after Jim died, we gathered and ate the chilled sweet fruit. We didn’t hurry; I don’t think any of us were really hungry. It was more about needing communion of sorts…something to do while we absorbed and shared, and began, in a very shaky, short-term way, to plan for the future.
Now, I’m learning new ways to prepare food, and cherishing the opportunity to be mindful not only of what I eat, but of the process that goes into creating it. I haven’t bought a freezer meal in weeks, and really don’t miss them.
There’s healing to be had in food, it seems.
Join me again tomorrow, when grief will give ground to joy.
20th anniversary dinner, August 23, 2017, at the Plumb Oyster Bar. The next night, we were in the emergency room. Though we didn’t know it yet, this was the beginning of the end.