Tag Archives: grieving

The Angel Food Cake In Heaven

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imagesIn the large family that I grew up in there was always a very strong connection between food and comfort. I realize that experts in the health field tell us repeatedly that this is a very dangerous relationship for those who develop a deep dependency on food, using it as a form of pain dulling self medication. I am sure that the experts have a valid point, and are doing a public service to admonish us against such behaviour. I am glad that they are there to counsel those for whom this is a real problem, and to help them learn other better coping mechanisms.

But I for one am not going to advise against taking gifts of food to those who are hurting. Sometimes the significance of that kind of gesture is the thing that makes the difference between a very dark day and a manageable one. If the person you are considering giving a food gift to is on a low-fat or low-calorie diet, or you want to avoid the chocolate for their kids’ sake and still provide a baked treat then consider Angel Food Cake. I can make a really great one from scratch with the bounty of fresh eggs from our hens, but if I am in a pinch then I know that the Duncan Hines mix gives a really good result in record-breaking time. With a container of cut-up fruit, or berries, (even the frozen ones) you can provide a treat that is usually acceptable even to dieters.

Yes, I know that flowers and books are other good options, but the warmth that a nicely prepared casserole or a gift of fresh baking provides to someone who is grieving or emotionally in pain, somehow seem a little more like a hug than a handshake, and I guess I’m just one of those hugging kind of people.

The following poems were actually written to five of the most important women in my life in response to their kindness towards me during a time of grieving. 

To my Mom

My mother love me she always has,

At least as far as I know.

Did she ever have any second thoughts

About feeding me long ago?

About getting up at midnight,

When I was just a baby?

I don’t think I could say no for sure,

I guess I’ll just say maybe.

‘Cause it seems to me she’s been trying

To feed me ever since.

And my children too, and my husband.

She treats him like a prince—

Like the chicken dinner she brought us

It put a smile on my lips.

Some of it went into the fridge,

Some of it went to my hips.

If ever anyone’s saying

“Here comes dinner to the door.”

That’s my Mom and we dearly love her,

We couldn’t love her more.

To my sister Janice

Anything made by my sister’s hand

Would taste deliciously sweet

Though she may think that it’s boring or bland

To me it’s a gourmet treat.

She made me a cake on a very hard day.

“It’s only a mix.” she said,

But swallowed with tears

And a shared cup of tea,

It tasted like Heavenly bread.

Because she knows my heart so well

There was more love than sugar or spice,

So that even a crumb could have filled me up—

There was never a fullness so nice

To my sister Kathy

Meals that are made by my sister

Are warm and comforting things

Whether cabbage rolls or pork chops,

Or even chicken wings.

Whatever was on the menu

For Kathy and her spouse,

If anyone is hurting,

It goes to the sad one’s house.

Even if she and her husband

Eat cold cereal yet once more,

Because she left their dinner

At someone else’s door.

To my sister Marsha

You are there and always have been

For your sister tag-along.

You know me better than anyone;

We could finish each other’s song.

You bring me joy with all you do—

Each phone call, card, or cake—

Little do you realize,

The difference that you make.

You have made the difficult easier

In, oh, so many ways

You have been to me like sunshine

On some dark and stormy days.

To my sister Jeannie

Dearest sister who shares her heart

Whenever we are together,

And takes me out to her favourite haunts

For pastries as light as a feather,

And insists that she cannot possibly

Consume not a single bite

More than half of a mocha meringue:

Somehow it can’t be right

That you and I are sisters,

With your mandarin orange and tea,

Which you say has already filled you up

While you foist your pastries on me!

But then there’s the proof that we’re sisters

As we laugh together and cry

Over a plate of mocha meringues.

Don’t you know they’re supposed to stay dry?

I am so very blessed to have my amazing mother, and a beautiful daughter, as well as four sisters, and three sisters- in- law, nine nieces, and 5 great nieces.Two dozen very special women who mean so very much to me. Sadly two years ago I lost my husband’s Mum, Mina who was like another mother to me. Shortly after that we lost  my husband’s sister Rosalie, the mother and grandmother of some of those incredible nieces of mine. She was like a sister to me too, and I miss her every day. She was probably the most talented home baker I ever knew and even when she was quite ill herself she never neglected to send food gifts to her neighbours when they were lonely,grieving or unwell.

To my sister  Rosalie

Are you baking Angel Food cakes?

It wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

I’m sure there are feasts in Heaven

Where the meek and the lowly sit

Beside the strong and mighty,

And those with renown and fame.

And when you are slicing your cake up

You will portion it all the same,

Then you’ll pass the crystal cake plates,

To the diners one and all,

With the very best of your baking

In Heaven’s banquet hall.

Until I come to join you

Will you save a piece for me,

Of that shortbread you and Mom would make?

’Cause I’ve lost your recipe.

Love Yvonne

The Day My Granddad Said Goodbye

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DocImage000000473The day my Granddad died my father came home from the hospital and got out a can of green paint and began to paint the ceiling of the back kitchen. Mom said “No Bill, don’t! Don’t start painting now. It doesn’t have to be done; it’s not that important.” but Dad said “It is important Jean. It has to be done.” and he gathered together his brush and some old rags and set up the step-ladder in the corner of the room. Then he began to meticulously brush the paint onto the boards, and into the cracks, a dark green colour, the same as what was already there. Tears ran down his cheeks and onto his shirt front. He tried to push them back into the corners of his eyes with the back of his hand. Before long he had green circles under both eyes, like big bruises, as if his eyes had seen something so terrible that it inflicted the force of a prize fighter’s punch to both eyes.

It was strong-smelling oil based paint and its odour soon permeated every inch of the house as Dad worked without interruption, not bothering to talk to anyone as they passed by. The back kitchen had been a summer kitchen in earlier times but it had since become a combined mud room and laundry area. As we eight kids came and went through, past our silent  father each of us sensed the sudden change in the natural order of things in our world, it was so quiet. Dad had grown up in this house and had always lived here, except for the five years he lived in the little white house which he had built next door,when he first married Mom. Until last week Granddad had lived there, not more than a shout away, ever since we had traded houses ten years before. Granddad had been having lunch and supper at our house for many of those years, ever since Grandma had passed away.

My father was a fastidious painter and his work always reflected that. His hands and arms were usually fairly clean as he worked away, but not that day. The paint must have been more runny than usual. I wondered as he looked up at the ceiling, repeatedly brushing paint into every crevice and crack, was he really just looking up at the boards or was he looking up because he was thinking of Granddad now far far above them? Would Granddad be leaning down over the edge of a cloud and thinking “Good Job Billy, I meant to get around to that second coat a long long time ago but I just never did find the time.”?

When Mom called us all to the supper table, Dad came in to the kitchen all cleaned up again. His eyes were red and swollen and he looked like he might have burns under his eyes and on one of his cheeks. I thought at first that he might have done that with paint thinner or solvent but now that I am much older I have seen that same look in my own reflection in the mirror far too many times. I know exactly what it was from. That’s what grief looks like.

The last time I saw my Granddad was a few hours before his last breath, when we oldest three were allowed to take a turn to be with him for a moment or two to say goodbye. As I put my cheek next to his, so that I could hear him better, he asked me about my first date, the one with the Junior Farmer which I wrote about in yesterday’s post. He asked “How was that banquet you went to?” I told him “It was great,Granddad. Really nice!” Then he said ‟You’ll be going to a lot more of them. The fellows will be asking you to a lot more.” Then he said “You take care of my boys for me now. Will you?” and I said “Yes Granddad, I will, I promise.”

I sometimes think about the fact that the last thing that Granddad asked me about was a banquet. No matter how many wedding banquets and other feasts  I have been to, no matter what we were celebrating, I now know that there is one more in my future that will surpass all the rest. That’s  because those who are invited to it are blessed, according to Revelation 19:9. I look forward to that day when we shall be around a banquet table together, my Granddad and I, and all those present in Heaven on that great day of celebration. I’ve already accepted my invitation to be there, and I hope you do too.

And, as for you boys that I love so dearly, a promise is a promise!