Monday, October 06, 2008

Recipe Box

Just after Matt and I got married my Mom made me a recipe box. It's got index cards with her handwriting on them, and some of the recipe cards are written in her handwriting while others are printed. Going through this box is always an emotional ride, and Saturday morning (which was Matt's birthday) I decided to make Dutch Baby pancakes (see cooking blog for recipe). I have not picked up this box in quite sometime because I always wind up crying. Well I didn't cry on Saturday and I was pretty proud of myself. But when I push things aside, they always come back.

This afternoon I posted the above recipe and had to get the box out again. As I put it back, I came across her pie crust recipe, a classic one that brings back so many memories. She and my Grandma Elizabeth (her Mom) were famous in our family for their pie creations. I'm not so sure how I'll do as the years go by. Anyway, as I came to the last recipe, the tears just started falling down my cheeks. It was the recipe for Cabbage Rolls, which was my favorite dish. As the years went by and I moved away, she'd make it for me every time I came home. And even as I type I can't keep from crying.

You see, her birthday is tomorrow and I'm having such a difficult time moving on. Ever since the second anniversary passed in August, I just can't seem to shake this overwhelming feeling of sadness. Everything I do seems to bring her back into my mind. Maybe posting about this will help, maybe moving on would help. In some ways I feel like I have moved on and in other ways I feel stuck. There are moments such as these where it just hits you that this person, your loved one is GONE and they're never coming back. It just know? I don't know how else to put it. Except that I miss her terribly and like a little girl, I just want my mom.


Mandy said...

I'm not sure if I read this somewhere (probably), and I'm sure you've gotten tons of advice on how to move on, but I'm going to give it a go anyway. Hope you don't mind...

Would your mom want you to be happy or sad when you think of her? Would she want you to smile and laugh, or cry? When you're sad and missing her, find a fun, happy memory and laugh out loud! Share your stories with friends and family - who doesn't need a good laugh?!

I can't understand how you're feeling, but from what you've said about your mom, she wouldn't want you to waste time and energy being sad. Instead of being sad about it being her birthday, have a party for her. Get out some crazy pictures of the two of you and think about the great times you had with her. Always be thankful that you had as much time with her as you did, even if it wasn't as much as you would have liked.

Congratulations to your mom for raising such an amazing, powerful, beautiful daughter!

Patrick said...

You're on the right track, Camille, because you're on your track. I find "moving on" to be a term that frankly does not do justice to personal grieving. It's a process, and it's your process, and you get to decide how quickly or slowly you move through it. It's not something you leave behind. I know you know this, just sayin' hang in there. And it's okay to cry even now (and even ten or twenty years from now), because knowing you, there is plenty of laughter as well. :) As with all things in life, balance is key.

Mandy's suggestions above are all wonderful. Try those things out. But those genuine feelings of loss are still going to be there. So don't beat youself up when the tears start to flow. Just know that your Mom, with her light and her love, is wrapping you in her arms and holding you tight.

Cindy said...

Hi Dear. Anniversary's are always hard and it's o.k. to be sad. And if you think you haven't made any progress, just think about the fact that there was a time you couldn't pull that recipe box out at all. But now you are able on occasion to indulge in that legacy of wonderful recipes your mom left behind and still connect with her in that way. I think that's a beautiful thing and I applaud your growth, painful as it may be sometimes. Maybe someday I might get to try one of your mom's lazy man pancakes!

Jenny said...

I really like what Patrick said, but you really got me to thinking: do you believe that "moving on" means you won't be sad anymore about your mom? Or that you won't cry anymore? I'm wondering if your definition is faulty, and not your coping or grieving skills. Perhaps you should change your definition of what "moving on" means. Or start thinking about why you keep beating yourself up about it. My concern for you would be if the saddness of your mom's death over-road Everything Else in your life, and you found pleasure in Nothing. Take Christmas: if you can enjoy Christmas with Matt, find pleasure and joy in the holidays, look forward to the good stuff while AT THE SAME TIME get weepy and really miss your Mom and be just a little pissed about the whole thing, then I think that's not so bad. What do you think?

noreen said...

Camille, I am a lot newer in this process, so I am not sure I can be of much help, but to say, I bet your mom loves that you still cry over thinking of how much you love her. She is still with you in the pie crust, the cabbage rolls and the recipe box. For me, so often the tears come out of the feeling of remembering the joy-- and nothing makes a mom happier than joyful kids. Find the joy, even if it means some tears.

I have discovered, of late, that I think grieving is a longer process than anyone ever talks about. You'll never really "move on" or be "over it." You'll just have new ways of dealing with it. I think I'll feel like I am in that new place, when I decide that the loss isn't happening to me right now. I am still losing my mom, and I think you probably are, too. It's kind of like it's all happening to me right now.

No one can tell you how to feel about it, but it is nice to see how much you still love your mom. It's a testament to am amazing woman. And I hope you can enjoy the recipes in the box. They sound delicious! I know my mom would tell me to eat up.