I don’t know about you but I am exhausted by grief. This has been the longest year of my life and I know I am not alone. It has been hard for all of us, in fact, unless you’re sociopathic.
In this past year, we have lost so many people to Covid, gun violence, murder in the streets, mass shootings. It feels unreal and unceasing. And we grieve yet again, for the loss of more innocent souls. I thought I had no tears left, but the well is as endless as this past year.
I look out my window and see my tulips peeking out of the thawing soil. I actually hugged a vaccinated friend last weekend. We are beginning to gather in hope. Vaccinations are on the rise; more people are feeling safe from this horrific pandemic and yet, there’s a deep sadness that is still ingrained in our psyches. The loss has been too great. The fear too deep and pervasive. I can hardly watch the news anymore. I have no tolerance for the horror; the cruelty; even petty meanness guts me in ways that don’t feel natural.
And I know it’s because it has become all too commonplace: the mass shootings that happen one upon the other; the daily violence we have come to think of as modern life; the loss; the grief.
All of this has helped me to find even more comfort in my kitchen. Cooking has always been my life, but now it has become my lifeline. It brings me endless calm to cook beautiful meals. I love sharing them with my husband. I share desserts I make with people I love to celebrate that we are alive and healthy. I know they are just cookies but for me, it says, “I know things are hard, but I am thinking of you.” It’s a tiny way of letting them know they are important. It’s a way of connecting, a way of reaching out. It’s my way of seeing how they are doing, to tell them that I value and love them.
It helps me and delights them.
Food inevitably connects us; nurtures us; sustains us. So let’s allow it to do so. Cook beautiful food with the delicate, fresh ingredients of spring. Baby lettuce and radishes, tender asparagus, delicate bitter greens and the first berries that delight us, will lift our world weary souls. Light, tender food will elicit feelings of rebirth in us and maybe, just maybe, we will revel in the flavors of spring and the pleasures of the season, when pleasure is so hard to find.
Take care of yourselves and each other. And always, always choose to be kind.