This year has been nothing less than bipolar. Severe ups, downs, twists and turns I could never expect. Year 1 and 2, I could keep busy, keep moving and face the loss of Clayton when I wanted too. Now, year 3, in a pandemic with the world halted, I’m forced to taste the truth and it’s bitter – He’s not coming back.
I’ve had more time to sit and stew over my thoughts and widowed worries then I really wanted. I feel like a kid at dinner that can’t stand the meal but can’t leave the table until his plate is clean. Every spoonful is excruciating. Tormented by the taste. Ironic that when we are kids our parents force us to eat things we don’t like because they are good for us. Here I am at 42 fighting the voice of my father telling me to fork down the fear so I can move into the future. Over-seasoned servings of reality and I can’t help but gag on the grief.
Clayton was more often the chef. I knew I’d come home to some amazing meal or the house filled with whatever fantastic food he decided to bake. He loved food. He loved sitting down for dinner. Now that he has gone, I find myself grabbing fast meals, eating while standing in the kitchen or just forgetting all together. I’ve come to the realization that I have lost my joy for cooking and eating. Every step of the process now comes with a serving of palatable punishment. Why pull out all of the bowls and utensils to make a meal that would remind me of him? Only to follow with the fact that if I do sit down, it’s just me in the quiet. It’s just me to clean up. I can’t enjoy that sadly seasoned scene. Why whip up gastric grief?
If you read my blog each week, you’d have known that recently I opened a drawer and found some of Clayton’s clothes I forgot about. This week, I opened a kitchen cabinet to grab a dog treat and the bag tipped. I opened the other side of the cabinet to reach the bag and there were all his forgotten flavors. Poultry seasoning from our last holidays, cocoa powder for his cakes, stale spices and seasonings I pushed to one side almost 3 years ago. I remember going through cabinets after Clayton’s death and I remembered not being able to throw those out as if he would be mad they weren’t there for him to use. I kept them because part of me hoped I was just having a bad dream and, when I wake up, he’d be back in our kitchen.
I thought that keeping them would somehow help me and I could slowly sprinkle and stir them back in but, the fact is, I forgot the flavors and it turned out to be a recipe for disaster. Seeing them now, I taste the baked in bitter and I’ve lost my appetite for the day. I’ll just send myself to bed without supper…