Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Meatloaf Fixation

Dear John,
 
More rain today, now rising wind and dropping temperatures. The radar can't decide if we're getting blue stuff or pink stuff tonight. Whatever it is, it will be blowing around in 30-mph winds tomorrow. The dog's jumpy because of the wind and rain, I'm jumpy because I have a tummy upset, and Hunter only jumps when Jethro leaps at him. Now I'm in bed with the laptop in my lap, cat also in my lap, dog pressed up against my right hip as tight as he can be, all sound asleep. Now all I have to worry about is getting my hands to the keyboard.
 
There's only one thing I'd change about our years together, and it's been worrying me quite a bit. I wish I'd made meatloaf and mashed potatoes for you more often. Of course, there were years that we'd have had to eat it for breakfast, because that was the only meal we ate together. But seriously, that is my one regret. That was the first thing you wanted to eat when you got home. Did you get some in Heaven, or are such things irrelevant there? I doubt that the Heavenly Banquet consists of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I haven't made it since you died - it doesn't seem right to make your favorite meal if you're not here to enjoy it. Please pray for me as I struggle with this. It sounds trivial, but sometimes it's a big weight on my conscience. I think I need to talk to Father about it.
 
Tonight I had beef that I'd put in the crockpot this morning, and brussels sprouts, and half of a tomato. Oh, and horseradish for the roast. It tasted so good - the best thing I've eaten in months. But I realized that I'm definitely cooking for only myself now. You didn't like brussels sprouts or raw tomatoes, so I would have served you the roast, but everything else would have been different. It seems crazy after all these years, to realize that I can eat collard greens and pickled beets and sauerkraut and ham hock all at one meal, and it doesn't matter. I can buy grated parmesan, not shredded; unfrosted strawberry turnovers and no frosted brown sugar-cinnamon. Because now I'm just feeding myself.
 
And my pantry and fridge are starting to look like your mother's. There's so much less in them. I went through the fridge today and threw out some outdated things, and the only one I replaced was the Miracle Whip. I'm eating my way through the food in the pantry and freezer to save money on groceries. And you know I don't need a lot of variety in food - I can cook a big pot of something and eat it for over a week. So I don't need a lot in the pantry or the fridge. It's simple, and it's cheap, and I guess it declares to all the world that I'm a widow.
 
That's all tonight - I just wanted to ask you to forgive me for not fixing meatloaf and mashed potatoes as often as I could have. I'm so sorry. Nothing would make me happier now than to fix them for you. Realism says that if this is my only regret after 34 years, I'm doing okay. But my heart says it's is something good that I neglected to do for you, and now it's too late. I can't cook for you anymore. But I can pray for you, and take care of the people you love, and the animals, and realize that I'm one of the people you love that I should also take care of, and continue to prepare and care for my soul so that I am ready to join you. Maybe I can bring some meatloaf and potatoes with me when I come!
 
You're shaking your head at me and telling me I'm being silly - that I made you very happy and that meatloaf isn't particularly signficant. Thanks for that. But I'll still worry over it for a while.
 
Your meatloaf-fixated wife,
Joan.

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