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Carolyn and Grandma 780 | Umami Girl
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I learned a lot this week.

I learned a lot this week.

I learned what it’s like to say goodbye to the last member of a whole generation.
That it feels like a seismic shift.
A sudden reframing of our place in the world.
A time to talk about goals and plan big things.
That change begets change, all on its own.

About Grandma

I learned that you can know someone for a whole lifetime without ever being made to feel like you’ve let them down.
That I wouldn’t count on it happening very often.
That having a grandmother may be a necessary condition to reach this exalted state, but it isn’t sufficient.
That you’ll know it when you see it.
That I hope you’ll have the chance to see it.

About sadness

I learned about pure sadness, unencumbered by the messes we make for ourselves, uncomplicated by shadows of deeds left undone, words left unsaid.
Backhanded as it sounds, I hope you’ll have the chance to see this too.

About Celia

I learned so much about our younger daughter Celia.
How she shows up ready and gives it everything she’s got.
How she faces the world straight on and doesn’t have anything to hide.
How she must have been doing this all along much more than I realized.
How, six years old or sixty, we’d all be better off for acting that way.

About muscle memory

I learned that grief has muscle memory.
A body wants to slip back into the depths it knows from losses that have come before.
I learned that given just a little time, you can begin to clear your mind and rise up out of this place.
And that you will.
That you must.

About strength

I learned that grief is cumulative.
But so is strength.

That my home on the yoga mat is a real home.

That flowering trees become more useful as we age.
That spring is superseding fall as my favorite season, because hope is more important now than the romance of decline.
That decline isn’t so romantic after all, once you’ve seen enough of it.

About what’s enough

And I learned — remembered — that I always return to the kitchen.
That the food you see here truly is my kind of food.
That it nourishes in all the ways we need.
That it’s the best I can do.
And that I think — I hope — it’s enough.

Recipe here.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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  1. I am sorry for your loss. sending lots of prayers. It really touched my heart reading this – it was so intense and “real”. So sad, yet so beautiful. Great losses do this to us – we see, touch and feel everything around us in a different light… with more intensity, it’s almost like the divine nature of everything becomes so clear to us. And what a beautiful salad to go along with it… XX

  2. I’m very sorry for your loss, but I’m glad you were able to enjoy that relationship for as long as you did. Also, I made this salad tonight, and it was delicious. Thank you!

  3. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for the lovely tribute, she was surely a wonderful woman. You must be a lot like her. Love and prayers, Gail

  4. Thank you Carolyn for the beautiful tribute to Grandma! You have always had a wonderful way of expressing what we are all feeling.

  5. Thank you for sharing it all so beautifully, Carolyn. Funny how the good and the bad so often go hand in hand. Hugs to you.