I didn’t know it until recently, but on the day Mom died in 2009 my perspective shifted 180 degrees to the past. I felt that if I didn’t immerse myself in her life, I wasn’t honoring who she was. Dad died in 2010; repeat the performance. However for him, my immersion was to re-experience regret that I hadn’t actively made his last year a better year, that his passing was painful although his life was a joy. Then Mel died in 2011. Repeat, but with slightly different flavors.
I kept one of my favorite photos of each of them on my monitor, where I could see them and remember. Every day. Until yesterday when I replaced it with a photo from the beach trip.
See, we spent Thanksgiving at the beach with friends this year. It wasn’t the first holiday that I hadn’t spent with family but it was the first in a while. And it was obviously the first of many that I won’t spend with family. It was a trip that my family might not have enjoyed much, so it was pretty much for me this time.
Passing through grief into the present is an interesting process. It took much longer and claimed more energy than I was aware of.
This week, it feels okay, no, if feels good, to move forward. The big final forward step is to empty out and sell the family house which is full enough right now of both Mom and Dad’s personalities as to be somewhat shrine like. I’m looking forward to seeing it shrink down to a nice, mid-century modern house, as stuff comes out and it becomes more anonymous.
One of the moving forward steps was to put away the photos of those who were physically present in my life and replace them with a photo of those who are still physically present in my life. The funny hat theme is a connector, however.
So what’s this cocktail thing? I love the way the 30s, 40s and 50s depicted cocktail hour, one hedonistic elegant hour spent entirely in the present in conversation, with fancy drinks with swords and umbrellas served in special glasses used for nothing else. I’ve learned a lot about how to put food together, but cocktails are another thing entirely. It’s a set of flavors and combinations with which I am not yet conversant.
The drink that I’m currently enthralled with is a Blood and Sand, a 1922 cocktail created to launch a movie of the same name, starring Rudolph Valentino and Rita Hayworth.
4 equal parts
- Good Scotch
- Cherry Herring
- Sweet Vermouth
- Fresh-squeezed Orange Juice
Shake violently with ice in a shaker. Strain into a coupe glass. (I was thrilled to find that I had 10 of those same glasses in the cupboard, bought cheaply years and years ago and rarely used. Aha!!!)
My present involves wonderful cocktails shared with dear friends in pleasant conversation focused in the present.