1.23.11 § 243 Comments
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find myself missing those I’ve lost in the silliest moments. For example, last night when I pulled my gingerbread out of the oven at like 1am (why I was baking this late at night I can’t really explain, other than to say I’ve gotten a little weird lately), I felt a pang of pride followed quickly by a tinge of sadness. It was the first time I had used this recipe that the loaves didn’t cave in the middle…and as with any baking triumph, my first inclination was to call my best friend and baking inspiration, Ginnie.
Now dear readers, for those of you who are still checking this little old blog in the hopes that I might one day write again, I’m hoping that by writing this post and finally talking about the dark cloud that has been hanging over me, I’ll be reinvigorated in my blogging efforts. You see, I’ve been avoiding this post like the plague, because honestly, I haven’t been quite sure how one writes about the death of a best friend. I’ve also been positive that I couldn’t NOT write about it, because the events of the past few months have rocked my world so much that they’re impossible to ignore. Impossible not to share.
I don’t know if you’ll remember, but on my blog I’ve often referred to Ginnie: the friend who sparked my interest in culinary exploits, the one with whom I shared my greatest meal, and the girl who inspired me to make the most-complicated-ever chocolate cake for my birthday without bothering to tell me that I should adapt it to make it simpler. The one I flew across the country to see a few months ago when she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of cancer. The one who left this world on New Year’s eve 2010, bringing the most challenging year of my life thus far to a close.
I am so much luckier than most; not many people have the chance to say an adequate goodbye to the people they love the most in this world. I got five full days with my best friend a few weeks before she died, and those five days were the greatest gift I’ve ever received.
One of my favorite parts was that, after having no appetite for three months, Ginnie was ready to chow down in the last few weeks of her life (a side effect of the meds). My mom and I brought her breakfast at the hospital, and the girl who has been into healthy and organic food since we were 11 years old requested an egg mcmuffin AND a sausage biscuit. And lattes. Vanilla lattes. Caramel lattes. It was like we were back in high school when she would ring our doorbell at an ungodly hour and only gain admittance because of the coffee cups in hand, crawling into bed with me and my mom to giggle and gossip over steaming mochas.
I was lucky, because in those last few days together, I got to say everything I needed to say, including goodbye. We laughed and we cried in equal measure, which I think is pretty impressive given the circumstances. But now? Now comes the hard part. Because everything I do feels like a reminder of her, especially when it comes to food. My gingerbread didn’t cave in the middle this time, but the texture was off, and the person I want to ask about it is Ginnie. She was always like a mad scientist tinkering with things that go in the oven, and I know that she’d have the answer or at least multiple suggestions for what to try. And sure, I’m perfectly capable of figuring it out on my own, but it’s just another reminder that she isn’t here to help me. And to be honest, I was kind of counting on being able to rely on Ginnie’s help, you know, for the rest of my life. For everything.
There is very little to regret about the way things happened, but I do regret that I didn’t get to be at her memorial service. I would have liked the chance to share with everyone what she meant to me. Granted, if you know me, you know that it would have been impossible because I would have been sobbing too furiously to stand up, let alone talk. And of course, there is no way to put into words what she meant to me. But what I would have said is this: She was and is so much a part of me that now, I can’t tell which parts of me are me and which parts are her.
And so, having finally said that, I’m back. A little sadder. And feeling a little older. And crying much more often. But still here. And I’m going to try again with the gingerbread. Because I will get it right. And when I do I will probably cry, because that’s what you do when your best friend dies. But I’ll also smile, because I am so incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing woman in my life.