First I am going to apologize for this not being a recipe and for my not writing as often as I want. Second I am going to be completely unapologetic about what I am going to write about. I am going to be candid and most people, especially in this country, are not going to like it. Nearly one year ago my mother died. She was sick for about a year or two before that so my children will probably not remember the woman I knew especially my two younger boys. She was not my first loss and she will not be my last. I am fully aware that I and everyone I love can and will die. There I said it. We are all going to die! Even my husband when I, once again, told him we need a will asked me what happened. Nothing has to happen to understand a basic fact of life. He acted as though I just told him some horrible news. Throughout this year I have noticed a truth about this country. We like to pretend that we aren’t going to die. We like to use terms like “closure” and expect people to “move on”. When did we forget that grief has never really ends and once that connection with that person is lost you never get over it. I remember asking my father how he was doing and he said that nobody wanted to talk about it and expected him to be past it already. This was barely a month after losing his wife of 35 years. I wanted to go scream at these people. I have wanted to scream at a lot of people this year. Why are we so uncomfortable with emotions and death and grief but putting violent whores on television is just fine? When did we stop understanding what being human means? We feel intensely. We cry, we rage, we care, and we love and we feel loss. Every time I see somebody in a store shopping with their elderly mother I tear up. I wonder if they understand how precious this everyday thing is. I wonder what my mother would have looked like as an old woman. Some people make think it harsh but I am raising my children with no illusions as to death. I don’t think we need another generation of people who pretend it will never happen to them. I think we need a generation who appreciates every second that they get of life and understand that death is natural but grieving is hard. I laugh at the “steps of grief” because they are so ridiculous. Grief is sneaky and just when you think you are doing okay it sneaks up and hits you over the head. You can’t follow steps like you were programming a VCR or something you just try and make it from one day to the next. I try to live as though I might not get tomorrow but I still have hopes for the future. I almost feel sorry for my husband and others who can’t face death or haven’t had a deep loss. They just don’t understand the true beauty of life and the reality that it is not forever. I don’t get too upset over this though because I don’t really get overly angry over anything anymore. In the big picture not much more than making sure I have raised my boys right and they know how much I love them is important. When you lose someone you lose yourself and you almost have to reinvent who you are. It is especially hard for me because I look and sound just like my mom. I look in the mirror and see a younger version of her looking back at me and I am sad that she never truly thought she was beautiful. I regret living so far apart that the boys did not get to know her and my youngest will probably have no memories of her at all. I am hoping to leave my boys with few regrets but I know that is nearly impossible. At my age I don’t think my mom was thinking she only had nineteen more years and what was she going to do in that time but that is how I think now. I understand how my husband thinks I am depressed or morbid because our culture makes thinking this way taboo but I won’t change. If this post does nothing else maybe it will make you reconsider what is really important to you and maybe you will go call or hug those you love. I am going to go cuddle my boys; even the nearly 10-year-old one who is 80 pounds is getting put on my lap!