Monday, January 6, 2014

Raspberry Honey

Raspberry honey spread is exactly what I’d delighted to give my father over many decades. A jar of artisanal Miel Crémeux avec Framboises purchased this fall near Québec City summarized my sadness over not being able to give this type of gift to him over the last three years he’d been in a nursing home. Happy to be able to enjoy the whole fruity, sweet, smooth, mellow mélange myself, I also felt sad that I couldn’t bring back this souvenir for my dad. The nursing home fed him a special diet. I would have had to spoon the raspberry honey directly into his mouth, because he no longer ate bagels or muffins or crackers or other normal excuses to slather and savor raspberry honey spread’s wonderfulness.

Many mornings since my dad’s Alzheimer’s required nursing care, I have cried while drizzling honey into my bagel’s craters. I could stand at my kitchen counter and make something I love eating. He no longer could. The simple act of drizzling honey conjured long-ago mental pictures of him sitting at his and Mom’s kitchen table twirling a ridged honey dipper over his toasted English muffin. Enjoying raspberry-infused honey this fall, I recalled decades of making Dad raspberry desserts for his birthdays, and bringing back raspberry preserves from Michigan for my parents. Jars of raspberry everything are gone now; so is my father. Everyone in the family knew Dad’s favorite flavors. Knowing he could no longer enjoy favorite flavors made me sad.

I don’t know, of course, if locking honey and raspberries into his life’s dusty attic trunk ever depressed Dad. As taste buds age, they lose keenness. Alzheimer’s dulls cognition. Maybe he never missed pleasures of eating. Maybe raspberry honey spread only symbolized my loss. Either way, I will wish I could give him raspberry and honey for a while to come. 


Michelle Van Loon said...

Grief lurks in countless small moments of each day because those moments are filled with memories. Glad you could share one of those sweet memories here, Jane.

Jane Hoppe said...

Thanks, Michelle. It is surprising how teensy the reminders can be ... like the sobering thought that I could still brush my own teeth but Dad could not do even that simple act.

tandemingtroll said...

It is amazing how the littlest things can demonstrate how much we lose when someone we love has Alzheimer's. Hugs!

Jane Hoppe said...

Thanks, Kris. It's true.