Loss and Liverwurst

Sheltering Angel

I received bad news this morning. “Nanny isn’t doing well. She isn’t going to make it.” I sat at my desk and stared at the text. I re-read the Facebook message. “Love you and miss you.”

Nanny is my grandmother. Not by blood, by choice. She is my oldest and dearest friend’s grandmother; she has been a fixture in my life for 23 years.

My eyes glazed over as the memories began to flood.

I can see her standing in the old duplex in her slacks and pastel button up shirt, her white hair perfectly curled, her voice exasperated with us in the way only she could be…the way that let you know she was done with your nonsense but kind of loved it…a trait I always attributed to her New York upbringing…while we raided her fridge.

I can feel the air under my feet as I sat at her table eating liverwurst sandwiches after school…not the snack you typically think young kids would like but I loved them. Nanny was the only person who made me liverwurst sandwiches (and really the only person I knew who had liverwurst in their fridge). I thought they were exotic and that eating them made me worldly.

I can smell the rice pudding she only made at Christmas…the rice pudding that caused the fight I got into with my friend and her brothers over the last bowl one year. Nanny watched us dog pile on the floor of her kitchen, arguing with our entire bodies, before telling them it was mine. They had had theirs; that bowl was mine.

I can taste the cool, creamy, fluffy, perfectly sweet tiny eclairs made for special occasions, the ones we ate while getting our hair done at the new house on the morning of my friend’s wedding.

Sadly, I did not get to say goodbye. It happening too fast, and I’m too far away. None of this does any justice to the amazing woman Nanny is/was or the impact she has had on me. It reminds me though that the simple act of cooking for another can leave a lasting impression of your love and create the best memories.

Cook for someone you love today.

-L

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