A mushroom memory

It seems wrong to blog about food and not mention A–.

She would have been 38 this year.  In 2010, right after her memorial service, we got in a van and drove four hours away from the Shire – the farthest from my parents I’d ever lived.  Everything I owned fit in one lightly packed cargo van.  I didn’t even own a can opener.

A–‘s life ended that year, while ours felt like it had just begun.  It seemed so terribly unfair.

A freak accident…  A light of the world snuffed out… 

I remembered her when I completed my Master’s degree.  She was only a few months from finishing hers and becoming one of those educators who legitimately changes lives.  Her classmates all pinned her photo to their gowns at convocation.

I remember her every time I bake wheat bread.

Bread just wants to be bread,

she used to say, when I worried that I would ruin her recipe.

I remember her when I feel sorry for myself or stress about things I can’t change.

Cooking for others was her passion.  Food was her love language.  She thought she could make the world a better place by voluntarily cooking at dinner parties or delivering baked goods.

The last time I visited her, she made noodles from scratch and served them with mushrooms and broccoli, steamed with roasted garlic and lemon zest.

Aside from my mother, no one has ever made me noodles from scratch.

She quartered one mushroom at a time in the cupped palm of her hand, dropping them neatly in the sauce pan while she chatted away.  Isn’t it funny how we can focus on one minuscule detail in a memory, long after someone is gone?

The other night, I made clam pasta.  I throw mushrooms and broccoli into the sauce at the very end and steam them briefly.  I instantly thought of A– and imagined her standing there at my counter, nodding with approval at how I quartered the mushrooms in the palm of my hand.

I won’t pretend to be the person most affected by her loss.  I know of others who were cut much deeper.  But  do I miss her a lot some days,  mostly when I’m in the kitchen.

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5 thoughts on “A mushroom memory”

    1. Thank you. To me, our relationship was unique. I rarely got to see her in person, so we mostly wrote long e-mails, like pen pals. It almost felt like we knew our time was short, and we had to learn as much as we could about one another. Maybe that’s easy to say in retrospect, but I am glad for those hundreds of letters.

      I tell you, the weirdest thing about losing her is having the urge to write her an e-mail and knowing it will just sit there in her inbox, unopened.

      1. I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like that, losing a close friend. Must be hard. I lost my dad a few years ago. That was tough.

        I wonder what happened to her email account. You think someone else opens and reads her emails?

      2. I can’t think of anyone who could access her email. Or her Facebook. If someone is reading though, they know TMI about me…oh gosh…

        My condolences about your father. Hugs from afar!

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