On suffering, which is real.
On the mouth that never closes,
the air that dries the mouth.
On the miraculous dying body,
its greens and purples.
On the beauty of hair itself.
On the dazzling toddler:
"Like eggplant," he says,
when you say "Vegetable,"
"Chrysanthemum" to "Flower."
On his grandmother's suffering, larger
than vanished skyscrapers,
other things too big. For her glory
that goes along with it,
glory of grown children's vigil,
communal fealty, glory
of the body that operates
even as it falls apart, the body
that can no longer even make fever
but nonetheless burns
florid and bright and magnificent
as it dims, as it shrinks,
as it turns to something else.
Before I post another recipe and/or semi-ridiculous cooking video, I have to tell you that my grandma passed away last week. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that she was just here visiting me, Matt, and Mavis. She’d just been in our kitchen, grinding fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle and making a yogurt pie/parfait.
I referred to her as 95-years-old, but the truth is that I was rounding up. She would have been 95 on December 31st, which just goes to show you that even though I understood that she was very old, that her heart hadn’t been getting enough oxygen for a long time, that she could go at any time and it wouldn’t exactly be a shock, I still hadn’t really digested that information.
She was here for six days and during that time, I started writing an essay tentatively titled “29 weeks and 94 years” about what it was like to simultaneously take care of myself, this baby I'm carrying, and Grandma. And perhaps sometime soon I’ll finish that essay. Her visit was a unique experience that I’m especially grateful for. But as for now, I’m still processing the loss and am not quite ready to write about it. Mostly, I keep thinking about how much a part of this blog she’s been. If you type in “grandma” over there in the little search bar at your right, you will get more than a dozen posts in which she’s mentioned and/or appears. From the essay I wrote about spending four days in her kitchen making holiday cookies to the video in which I call her up in search of some kitchen tips to her Belgian waffles, Grandma has certainly left her mark here. And I’m sure she’ll continue to.
Last Monday is when it happened, and as a sort of tribute, I made a crepe cake. It’s a recipe I’ve been working on to include in my book, but as it’s a labor intensive one, I’d been putting off attempting it again. But on Monday afternoon, I put on some music and got to work. I mixed the batter, flipped crepe after crepe, macerated strawberries, whipped cream, assembled it into one tower, and made a chocolate sauce to cover it all. It was an afternoon well spent.
Grandma would have loved it.