Delicious Vegan Dish of the Day:
Tonight I made my first vegan matzoh ball soup. It was delicious, and I’m excited to make it again while matzoh meal is still in the stores for passover.
Today I had a fantastic day with a 7 mile run and a great visit with a very good friend. Lots of matzoh was consumed (in soup and the chocolate covered kind) but no money was spent!
A few weeks ago my grandfather passed away. It’s hard to even write that sentence, the same way it is hard to tell my friends what happened. There is something about saying it out loud or writing it down that makes it real and final. I was very lucky to grow up close to my grandparents, and I have tons and tons of great memories of my grandfather. There are the events, like visits to San Francisco during Christmas time, or trips up to their cabin in the mountains. There are the memories of the traditions, like having “cocktails and conversation” before dinner or how my grandfather always playing the violin for us on Christmas Eve. There are lots and lots of funny memories, like watching him play tic tac toe with a chicken at a boardwalk arcade, or how he thought the “Nut n’ Honey” commercials were hilarious and would basically act out the “nothin’ honey” joke repeatedly when we would eat Nut ‘n Honey Crunch at their house. I cherish these memories, and in the past few weeks I find myself replaying them in my head over and over as a source of comfort.
There has been so much about losing my grandfather that is hard, but one of the hardest things has been having to accept that, at some level, my kids are going to miss out on him. Now, I’m grateful that he got to meet his great-grandkids – that is a pretty special gift. And I’m grateful that LP really got to know his Papa and that IP got to meet him. We have pictures of both kids with him, and those pictures will go a long way towards my kids getting to know him, even though he is physically gone. That is the other thing that I’ve been realizing as I grapple with the sorrow and disappointment I feel; my grandfather, their Papa, will be in my kids lives. He will be there the first time we take them to a fancy restaurant and order them a Shirley Temple, just like he used to do for me and my sister. He will be there if either of my kids get interested in playing music. He will be there when I watch “My Fair Lady” with my kids for the first time. He will be there when we have a “walk and talk” with one of our kids as they start to plan a life for themselves. He will be there for all these moments both because they are part of our lives and our traditions because of him, and also because I’m going to make sure he is there. I’m going to keep talking to my kids about their Papa, just the way I’ve always talked to them about the Nana and Papa. My kids will know when Papa will have loved something they did, or when he would have been proud of him. And I think that sharing these moments, celebrating his life and his gifts, and telling these stories is the best way to keep his memory very much alive and well.
I’m not religious, and I’m not exactly sure about what I believe happens when we die. But I can’t shake the notion that my grandfather is still around in a way that lets him see me and my family living and loving life, in a large part thanks to him. He is still going to be in our lives because the stories, the memories and the love he gave us didn’t die with him. Those things just keep on growing.