Jilly D.

Latkes for lunch

In Mourning, Pictures and memories on November 7, 2011 at 1:04 am

Friends made in the past year through a Sudden Loss support group came to my cottage for brunch today. Sunny and warm, the morning greeted the dogs and I in our usual manner outdoors at dawn. With the extra fall-back hour, I had the house cleaned and furniture moved to accommodate the big table for a meal.

Fried the bacon. Autumn Harvest pasture raised pork and naturally smoked without nitrates from Interlaken, NY. I’d made the Cortland apple sauce days earlier; cooking the apples whole skins on to put through the old Foley food mill. Peeled the six large organic Russet potatoes and finely minced a yellow onion.

The secret to making good latkes is to know your potatoes. These were wet ones. I shredded the potatoes with a hand grater sans knuckle dermis. Then I put the minced onion and potato shreds into a large white cotton dish towel and squeezed out the excess moisture. This batch proved so wet, I dumped the sopping mess into another dish towel and twisted strenuously as the potato water ran into the sink drain.

The potatoes and onions dumped into a large mixing bowl, I added a small amount of flour and  a tad of salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, I whisked up a half dozen large farm fresh eggs from High Point Farm in Trumansburg. With a large spoon, I mixed the eggs into the pancake batter until fully blended.

Pouring some of the bacon fat onto the castiron griddle over two burners on the gas stove, I let the pan preheat. Then the pancakes went on.  And over Hazelnut coffee, the conversations about our personal journeys through grief resumed.

Dottie brought the sour cream. Lynn brought the Cornell Orchards’ apple cider. Suzanne brought home baked Annadame bread, and Laurie brought bright green fresh apples which we cut into wedges and shared. Snow Farm Creamery made some special smoked apple raw milk aged cheese I picked up at the Brookton Market that made it extra special in local flavor.

To recognize in our stories how much has changed since we met is to acknowledge the transformative power of sudden loss for me and others. None of us asked for our lives to be turned upside down and each of us felt passive before the force of changes which resulted from our loved one’s loss. Either changes continue to happen to you, or you can figure out how to follow your heart for directions to what you need, desire and dream about.

The friends I made through this support group organized by Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services and Hospicare of Ithaca share memories, questions, and concerns based on our history of sharing those stories. There are few who have the professional skills and compassion to actually assist  and I am grateful to Donna George and Ellen Abrams who facilitated our initial 8 week group sessions.

Many things change. Some changes we invite. Others land on our lap. Some things remain the same. Who you are. Who you are without this loved one who so defined you in loving relations.

You discover again who you are. Same old soul. Scarred. Sad. Still here for some reason.

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