A Recipe for Honoring and Healing

When we are in the clutch of fresh visceral grief, we can often find any task insurmountable.  The absence of our loved one can feel like an amputation, a literal loss of part of your body.  Yes, it is difficult and overwhelming.  Grief is a unique journey, as unique as your loved one was and as unique as you are.  The sharing of coping mechanisms, the sharing of grief stories can be very helpful.  Reflecting on precious memories can soften the sting of loss.

Today, I decided to make cookies, oatmeal with butterscotch chips.  I always use the handwritten recipe that was given to me by a dear friend, Joyce.  Joyce was a faithful servant participating and leading Bible studies and encouraging others throughout her life.  She was quick with her smile and a giggle.  She was an avid crafter, particularly in crocheting.  At a local women’s retreat, she shared her homemade oatmeal cookies.  They were delightful, so I requested her recipe. 

Joyce took time to answer my request with a beautiful handwritten recipe card in the mail.  The card included a personal note of encouragement and gratitude.  Her death last week was a welcomed invitation to her eternal life.  She believed and articulated it often. In my grief, thoughts and stories sparked a reflection upon my own memories with her.  Naturally, that meant I needed to bake her recipe.  The recipe lived up to her standards.  They were wonderful as each bite was filled with soft sweetness, almost as sweet as she was to me (notice I did not say “it”-no one can eat just one!).  This is healing.

These small acts often sustain us in our grief.  I acknowledge my husband’s Grandma Toots every spring when the rhubarb is ready.  Her handwritten recipe for rhubarb cake is one of our family favorites.  Though the grief has softened with time, the cake always sparks a slight sting of loss mixed with sweet memories that we cherish.  This is healing.

Similarly, I delight in driving my dad’s favorite tractor.  It feels a bit like Holy ground.  No matter what task the tractor is performing, my dad is right near me to my heart and my memories. Securing a connection, a tangible item or memory of your loved one can be daunting, however the more you engage with those connections, memories, and objects you may find solace and comfort. The tears do not flow anymore when I drive that Allis Chalmers tractor, just a hint of my reflections with a sincere sense of gratitude.  This is healing.

I hope you can sing along with their favorite song, wear a piece of jewelry, work with tools that crafted a masterpiece, sit around the  campfire and reminisce,  bake a special meal,  spend time in the family photo album.   Plan a stay at the Under Blue Skies Hermitage to sift through your recipe that helps to bring healing.