grief, weekend coffee, and bob seger
Well, this may be an odd post for a food blog, but I’ve met some great folks that I’ve become friends with through this here blog, and thought I should post why I’ve been a bit MIA this summer, and quite frankly, I think I just need to get some of it out, so bare with me.
In June, my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. In August, my father-in-law, who I was very close to, also passed away. It’s been a tough summer for both Dave and I, and the waves of grief continue to hit, sometimes feeling like a tsunami and sometimes soft ripples that are manageable, but it’s always there and it’s always unpredictable. It just sneaks up on you.
It’s funny what little things can trigger thoughts of Barry (my father-in law) and my dad. The last time I saw Barry was in Maine when we had a family get together in July. Dave was making fun of me because I am a steadfast black coffee drinker, except on weekends when I indulge in a heavily creamed and sugared coffee – it’s the weekend, let’s get wild, is my motto. We had to catch an early flight home, so as I got out of the shower and headed to the kitchen, I saw that Barry had laid out a cup of coffee for me and set cream and sugar next to the cup. He giggled as he said he got me the supplies I needed for my “weekend coffee.” It’s a silly thing, but from now on, every weekend – I’ll think of him, and I am grateful for it.
Barry loved Maine more than anything – and I am so, so thankful he did because it’s become a magical place to me as well. I am one lucky girl to have been able to call him my dad too, I’m not sure I’d be the person I am today without his influence.
My dad loved rock n’ roll. And by love, I mean, when he would pick me up at my mom’s for a visit he’d play the entire catalog of Bob Seger and George Thorgood on the three hour drive to his place in Detroit. I could barely get a word in edge-wise because the man knew every word and would sing (into his invisible hand-held microphone) the ENTIRE ride. He then would inform me of who produced what album, when he saw them in concert, the year the album came out and so on. As a kid who was into Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson at the time, I certainly didn’t appreciate the music lesson, but as an adult, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
When my dad passed, I went back to work after taking only one day off – wanted to keep busy. It was a hard day. But when I got in the car to drive home and turned on the radio, Hollywood Nights by Seger had just started. I literally burst out laughing. This couldn’t be for real. Then, of course I promptly started a super ugly combination of laughing, crying and singing at the top of my lungs. I feel like he’s still around me, somehow, and I hope he sees the lessons paid off.
My dad showed me how to be silly, how to have a quick wit and how to get people to laugh – I’ve been trying to emulate him my whole life, without really realizing it until he passed away. Seeing him in me has been a blessing.
Grief has taught me a lot over the last three months. It’s humbling, and it changes your DNA. For the tough broad I claim to be, it’s taken me down a few notches and maybe that’s a good thing. I’m trying to slow down a bit and remember what is really, actually important.
I look forward to getting back to posting more regularly and think it will be good for me. I’ve always viewed cooking as cathartic, and there is nothing that makes me happier than digging into a home-cooked meal with those I love. So thanks to all the wonderful friends, family and co-workers who have just been so incredibly kind, generous and thoughtful over the last few months – I’m not sure what Dave and I would have done without you all.
Here’s to a change in season, a change in outlook and fond remembrance of my two dads.