2004-09-03 15:06:06 (UTC)

Fallen Apples

We went to the country house last week-end and picked apples
and pears in our old orchard. Many of these are heirloom
varieties planted more than twenty years ago. Some branches
were bent down to the ground with the weight of the fruit on
them. So we've been eating pears and handing out sacks of
them. And I've been making apple pies and giving them away.

My friends are used to me standing on their front step with
a fresh apple pie and a sack of pears in my hands, begging
them to please help me out and take them! I like to mix
the different varieties of apples so each pie tastes just a
little different. The secret ingredient in my apple pies
is nutmeg. Just a little dash along with cinnamon. I like
apple pie with a squirt of lemon juice and vanilla added and
I like it even better with a handful of golden raisins
tossed in but no one else does so I just bake a little one
of those for myself. I also prefer to eat apple pie with a
small wedge of aged cheddar cheese but most people would
rather have a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Yesterday we had a storm. The skies suddenly turned gray
and then there was an enormous thunderclap followed by wind
and rain pouring down. It's as if the lightening had torn a
huge hole in a cloud and all the water fell out of it at
once. I'm glad we already picked the fruit as if we hadn't
most of it would now be on the ground, ruined.
We'd planned to visit John's Dad yesterday but John had to
work late so we've postponed it to this evening.
I baked a little one-serving size of lasagna and one of
peach cobbler and we'll bring that to him for his dinner.
The problem with keeping him occupied is that he really has
few hobbies. He doesn't enjoy reading much--at least not
books, although he does read the daily newspaper. He
doesn't listen to music or do crosswords or play board games
or cards. What he likes best is working outside, something
he can't do right now. I found a greeting card for him. On
the front is a photo of the face of a cat (who looks just
like his!) with his tongue sticking out. Inside it says
"Remember, the right attitude is very important!" Every
time I visit him I try to say something to make him laugh at
least once. I truly believe in that old saying that
laughter is the best medicine.
I've had several people write to me regarding my comments on
grief and competition. Sometimes the reaction is "You
think YOU suffered! Let me tell you about...." and
sometimes it seems to be a genuine attempt to connect. "I
didn't go through exactly what you went through but I did go
through something similar." Other times it seems to be a
well meaning attempt to make you feel better-- "Well, at
least (something worse) didn't happen like it did to me/my
cousin/my friend."

My posts about Steven and our daughter aren't meant to
disparage or minimize anyone else's grief but to help me
come to terms with my own. I guess people can agree that
situations may be different but the emotions are similar.

I think one problem I had was that there was absolutely no
support for someone in my position 30 years ago. Women
didn't mention that their husbands were deployed to Vietnam
because it was such an unpopular war and there was little
sympathy for war widows. So everything was kept quiet.
Also we didn't know any other young widows so I think for
many of us Jacqueline Kennedy became our role model. We
were stoic, brave and quiet. We didn't make a fuss or
grieve publicly. And instead of dealing with our grief we
just buried it until finally it just couldn't stay buried
anymore and it had to be dealt with.

I don't think obsessively about the past although it may
sound like it from my journal entries. I use the entries as
a way to do the grief work that I never did years ago. I
feel very fortunate and grateful that I now have such a
wonderful family.