Well, it’s been awhile since I wrote here. My life has been anything but boring that’s for sure. Can’t believe it’s been since October! Sorry about that. Life can sometimes get the best of you. I have been devoting my time to creating brand new recipes of my own making, thank you very much. I’ve been getting really good reviews from my family too. That’s always a good thing. Besides that, I was also trying (without much success mind you) to tweak my site to be more interactive so you guys have an easier time with finding the recipes you want. This took a lot of my time but without money to spend on a web designer what choice did I have? Now it’s not quite true that I wasn’t at least a little successful. I did find a widget that will make my recipes easier to read and even let you print it out if you want. Of course, that means everything I have already done needs to be transferred from a post to the widget and that all takes time. Once I have all my current recipes transferred I will launch the new widget so you all can use it.
Then of course I also had to do our taxes. I always plan on getting ready early for them but like every year I did a poor job of it. To top it off this year was my mom’s 90th birthday and we were all planning to go back to celebrate with her and our extended family. Since I’m the only one who is vegan in the entire family I was given the job of arranging not only food that I could eat but also the cake for our mom. That took a bit of research, which of course took a considerable amount of time. Now mind you, I’m doing this from 3000 miles away so I had to research online first, then make phone calls to talk to someone about what I was interested in. Just because it looks like it would work doesn’t mean it will. Getting to talk to the right person is yet another issue. In the end, I was able to secure some Greek food that I knew everyone would enjoy and there would be enough of it that I wouldn’t go hungry. One of my sisters added some dishes that were strictly for meat eaters so everyone else used my selection more as a condiment plate then for a meal. Which is what we figured would happen. There were even leftovers for me to get a couple more meals out of it.
As for the cake, it was recommended that I get it from a place that a very helpful young lady suggested, (she worked there as well as one of the places I was inquiring about platters). I did call this place and they could do what I asked, it just wasn’t something they did all that often. Also, the cost would be a bit more than their standard since she would have to buy special flour. I decided to do some more research before deciding what to do.
It wasn’t long before I located a place near my mom’s that did both types of cakes on a regular basis. They also had a gallery of cake designs they had done and I came across what I thought was the perfect design for my mom a cake in the shape of an open book. It was perfect because my mom loved to read and this being her 90th it would definitely be a “New Chapter” in her life, little did any of us know it truly would be a new chapter for her as well as us. I told my sister Nancy that if it was in the budget we should get this cake. She agreed, so we got it. Everyone was thrilled including our mom. She totally got it. We got the cake at Bean counter bakery in Worchester, MA if anyone in that area is looking for a really good vegan bakery.
One of the things my family always did when we went home was to go out for fried clams and or lobster. Well, for me that was off the table now but I knew it was what everyone else would want to do. So I researched again to try and find a place that served something that would sate my desire to eat clams without the clams. The one thing I have learned is that if you find something that gives you the same texture and if you are lucky, a similar taste you don’t miss the original as much. Well I found a vegan restaurant that made a fried cauliflower dish that I thought could be changed up a bit. I explained to the chef what I wanted and he said he could do this for me. It came out pretty good except I forgot to tell him one thing I wanted the sauce to be on the side. What he did was put the sauce all over the cauliflower just like his original dish. Now that was all on me and it did taste good, just that since I was unable to finish it in one sitting I ended up with a bit of leftovers. If I had asked for the sauce to be on the side I could have easily reheated the cauliflower to get that crispiness back. Oh well.
Of course this wasn’t the only time they all wanted to get fried clams or in my mom’s case fried oysters. We spent a short amount of time down on the Cape at my mom’s old house, now my little sister Carrie’s house. She had been remodeling and wanted to show everyone what was happening and I’m sure to get my mom’s approval. She got it. It was beautiful. Now I had already researched the Cape for vegan options, there were none. At the restaurant we went to they had one option for me a fruit plate. Now all around the table everyone except my husband was eating either fried clams or oysters. My husband didn’t grow up with this type of food so he ordered a baked fish I believe. At any rate, my main goal at this time was to eat as quickly as possible so I could kill my appetite to such a degree I wouldn’t crave what they all were having. This by the way was a total disaster since a fruit plate will never give you that totally satiated feeling. It took all I had not to come completely undone. Tears were already welling up in my eyes. Even now just thinking about it I feel the tears forming. I’ve told people I can live without meat pretty easily except for shellfish. That has always been my favorite dish to get when we ate out. It would still be a rare occurrence since I can only get lobster and fried clams on the east coast. Yeah, yeah I know you can get them shipped in or find at least lobster at a restaurant here and there but it’s just not the same. Just the fact that I can get them when I go back would be enough, that way it would truly be a treat and hard to get to.
Of course now going back is even less likely. About 3 weeks after my mom’s birthday party she got sick and had to be put into the hospital. It wasn’t looking good and all of my sisters flew out to be with her. I was really sick myself having been infected with whatever my husband had and it looked as if he had the flu. Once everyone else was there it looked like she was actually getting better and the last thing I wanted to do was bring my sickness to her. Mine didn’t get any worse than a head cold thank goodness. At least my immune system is strong enough it can fight the flu. By the time I was recovering two of my sisters had to leave to get back to work or not have a job anymore. My sister Nancy texted me to say our mom was not doing well after all and would not pull through like so many other times and if I could I should get on a plane as soon as possible. My being sick was a mote point now. That night I booked the earliest flight I could get. I arrived at hospice about 11:10pm the next day, I dropped my bag and went right to her bedside. I gave her several kisses, hugged her as best as I was able (she was in a lot of pain) and began administrating healing energy to her using reiki. Most of the time I use it to help people with pain issues as well as emotional problems that cause them distress. This time was my first time using it to help with someone passing. I really don’t know how long I was doing it but at one point my mom’s eyes flew open. From my sister’s point of view it looked as if she was looking at me but I knew she was looking at something beyond me. My sister and her daughter (the only ones left, everyone else had said their good byes) joined me at her bedside, I holding her left hand and stroking her hair, my sister holding her right hand and Taraneh touched her feet. We all took turns telling her that we loved her and it was ok, she could go, we would be fine, she didn’t have to stay for us and people were waiting for her. Within a minute or two she took her last labored breaths and was gone.
My mom had waited for me. Carrie kept telling her I was on my way, to hold on so I could say goodbye. I had also been praying that God would let her stay long enough so I could get there. Not only did I get there in time, I had a whole 20 minutes with her. She couldn’t speak any longer when I got there but she didn’t have to. I know my mom loved me and I’m sure she knew I loved her too, with all my heart.
I was given a great gift. Not everyone gets to say goodbye to a loved one before it’s to late. I got to do it twice. The first time wasn’t exactly like this one. My dad and I had a stupid argument the night before he passed. I was trying to go to bed and he kept arguing with me about Christmas gifts that I had purchased and how much I had spent on each family member. He was under the impression I had spent more on others than on him. I finally turned to him and said “Don’t you know I love you?”. That stopped him in his tracks. He hugged me and said he loved me too. That was the last thing we ever said to each other. I woke up the next morning to sounds downstairs that I knew was of him dying. When I got downstairs the medic’s were coming in to get him. He had had a heart attack. Even though they told me he died at the hospital I believe he died before he ever left the house. I have been blessed two times over with the gift of saying “I loved you” to those I loved before they passed. You hear it all the time don’t wait to tell those you love that you do love them. You may not be as lucky.