Sometimes cooking is fun and sometimes cooking is necessary — I’ve never found better solace than standing over a pot at the kitchen stove.
I get asked how I’m doing a lot since dad passed away. The truth is that 80% of the time, I’m okay. But it’s hard to not talk about Dad, because even when I’m not talking about him, I’m thinking about him. There is nothing better in the world than when someone says “Your dad would love this” or “That would make your Dad so happy” or something–anything–that reminds me I’m not the only one thinking of him.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how the heart breaks–every grief is unique. I think some hearts are torn apart by a cavernous crack that violently thunders through. That kind of grief is immediate, sudden, and unforeseen. From what I’ve seen, that kind of grief does its best to linger for a very long time. But some hearts, like mine, began splintering long before they finally shattered. That kind of grief creeps and swells, until it overwhelms the dam we’ve been rebuilding day in and day out. I think anyone who has watched someone they love suffer a terrible illness would understand.
So yes – 80% of the time, I really am doing okay, because I have been grieving for a long time. I’m able to console myself with endless incredible memories and the fact that Dad no longer hurts and is able to laugh and run and play with my sister, wherever they are in heaven.
But sometimes, the silver lining isn’t bright enough. 20% of the time–most often when I get caught outside, or in the car, or listening to music, or late at night–I’m not okay. And if you catch me crying, it’s okay. You don’t need to ask me what’s wrong. It’s the same thing that has been wrong since September 29th and will be wrong for the rest of my life, because he isn’t here. But I’ll be okay. Just let me have a moment.
David, bless his heart, hasn’t judged me and just lends his quiet presence, despite me cooking and baking obscene amounts of food that I’m not hungry for, just because it keeps me busy and gives me a peaceful spot to be. And you, bless your heart, for being my internet friend who didn’t ask for a side of sad with your pumpkin butter, but chose to read on anyway. 🙂 It means the world to me.
Homemade Pumpkin Butter:
- waffles & pancakes – topping or mixed into the batter
- dip for graham crackers, toasted bread, or fruit
- ice cream topping
- peanut butter and pumpkin butter sandwiches
- layered in a grilled cheese sandwich
- topping for sugar or shortbread cookies
- in other recipes like pumpkin viennese whirls!
- refined sugar-free
- quick & easy – done in less than 30 minutes
- pumpkin + spiced = fall-a-palooza