I used to love to cook for Ben and my dad. Since I lost them, I haven’t really had the desire to cook. It’s not fun to cook for myself. Also, I am not a great cook, but I am a very good recipe follower, and recipes tend to yield a lot of leftovers when I’m just cooking for myself. The abundant leftovers only remind me that I am alone.
I wrote about my first foray into cooking and how it reminded me of this scene from the original version of The Parent Trap
(Walt Disney Productions 1961.) You can click here for the link to that post. Other than making an omelette for myself and simple microwave or stovetop things, I haven’t cooked. Today, I decided to make chili. I found a recipe, got all of the ingredients, and got to work. I was keenly aware that last time was very emotional, and it wasn’t long before I was heading toward the same place. As soon as the apartment filled with the smell of the onions and vegetables, I remembered how Ben loved when I would start cooking and he would smell onions and garlic. I decided to talk to him while I was cooking, which still had me in tears but also smiling. I did experiment a bit with the spices and it worked out well. I am proud to say that it was delicious. Ben and my dad would have been proud, which is important to me.
I do have a lot of leftovers, which does make me feel lonely. And, I had to do the dishes. Ben and I had always split the responsibilities- if I cooked, he did the dishes. It wasn’t as difficult as the first time I cooked, which is good. It was a food that I never made for Ben or my dad, and maybe that was helpful. I did expect and prepare myself for sadness, but I didn’t force sadness or keep myself from delving into the activity, open to enjoying it. While it wasn’t fun like it used to be, I coped by talking aloud to Ben. It’s a way that I co-exist with grief- looking back with sadness but also good memories, and continuing to take the baby steps forward with the knowledge that Ben and my dad are still with me.