Beloved Grandma Leaves Holiday Treasure For Grieving Family Who Miss Her So

Departed grandma who is missed by grieving family leaves behind treasured recipe.

Why now?

     Why do the holidays have to come now?

     Sure, I know, they come the same time every year.

     But some years,

     It sure seems it would be better if they didn’t come around.

     Not so soon.

     Too soon for my friend, Suzanne.

     She lost her mom in September.

     Suddenly, unexpectedly.

     There is something about the first time you lose a parent.

     Is it better,

     Or harder when you and your husband make it well into your 40’s without either one losing a parent?

     On one hand, there is the gift of time.

     But that muscle,

     That life skill to handle loss.

     It’s undeveloped.

     No wonder Suzanne expected to walk around in a daze for months.


Turns out,

     She didn’t have the luxury.

     16 days after her mom died,

     Her beloved mother-in-law died.

     The kind of mother-in-law you love,

     And you like.

     Which is a whole other level of compliment.

     And in this case,


     “You are the daughter I always wished for,” Mother-in-law told Suzanne before she passed.

     And so, Suzanne and Les start to walk forward,

     Shocked by all the creases and crevasses of life their two magnificent mothers filled.

     Top of the list were the holidays.

     “Do we try to replicate their recipes?” Suzanne wondered, “or doing something completely new?”

     Her husband weighed in.

     He wanted to make his mother’s dressing.

     Three tablespoons of sage dressing.

     But how?

     His mother had been making it by memory since Les was a little boy.

     It was his dad who found the treasure.

     In a stack of papers.

     His wife’s recipes written out by hand.

     As if,

     She knew one day,

     They would be making it without her.

Dear departed grandma leaves behind recipe that three generations of the family has made on holidays.

     “To Les,” the note as the top reads, “from all your female relatives, including your grandmother and me.”

     There it was.

     Including those four tablespoons of sage.

     Yeah, four.

Or “according to taste,” she wrote.

“This is a family who loves their sage,” Suzanne explained through her grieving smile.

     You can almost smell it as you read this.

     “I did great,” Suzanne confessed about the day, “until it was time to set the table. Two fewer table settings. I had to excuse myself to have a good cry.”

     I bet you get it, Dear Reader.

     You, who are inching your way through your first holiday without someone you love.

     “How was it?” I asked my dear friend.

     “The dressing was good in all its sage-y glory. The green beans weren’t quite as salty as my mother-in-law made them. And I’ll be honest, this is the first year we didn’t have boiled turkey, which is actually a good thing.”

     The best part?

     “The taste of her Thanksgiving food was a little bit of normalcy in a time where nothing has seemed normal.”

     Which leads to this,

A little bit of advice from Suzanne.

     Enjoy the ones you love.

     Right now.

     Over these holidays.

     You just never know.

     And whatever you do,

     Get the recipes.

     It’s never too soon to get the recipes.

     They are the gift that will make the holidays easier to swallow long after our beloveds are gone.

Do you have a family holiday recipe that makes you feel close to departed loved ones?  How are you getting through the holidays this year?

Please share in the comments below.

((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)))

And if you enjoy this column, you might enjoy my book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover




Beloved Grandma Leaves Holiday Treasure For Grieving Family Who Miss Her So

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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