Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From Nirvana to Coconut Sambol

Last week the husband of a very close friend died suddenly.  He was just 40, a sensitive, kind soul, and he leaves behind a little girl not yet one year old and of course his darling wife, a person full of love and enthusiasm for all things who has been a loyal friend to me since I was 5 years old.   

They had been married for only two years and no doubt imagined a long life together, slowly growing grey and wrinkly and doddery in tandem. 

(sunflower from Prahran Market 20 April 2010)

I cannot begin to imagine what my friend is going through.   We all know that grief takes many forms, and takes time, and that after the first stage, the need for support and love goes for years.  As it will for my friend, who I know is strong enough for this pain. 

In my younger days, this is how I dealt with sad events and even grief - I bit my fingernails. I smoked pack after pack of Dunhill Blues.  I got stuck into the sparkling wine.  And stayed out late.  And listened to Nirvana and Faith No More and New Order very very loud.    And watched a lot of Krystof Kieslowski (or equivalent) films.

Now, I am different.  When I learned this dreadful news I almost immediately and automatically headed for the kitchen.


To cook.  

I chopped and used a mortar and pestle, and made the shapes very even and very fine.  


I find it helps, and in the same way  kneading dough, rolling pasta, podding peas, stirring risotto and mashing potatoes helps.   Slow, repetitive, brainless actions.   And that helps remind me how fragile and arbitrary life and death are. 


(mango chutney - mango, garlic, vinegar, sugar, cumin, caramelised accidentally when I left it on the stove top for too long)




(coconut sambol - with yoghurt, green chillies, coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds)

I think I might take a little break for the rest of the week.



(flowers at Prahran Market 20 April 2010) 

19 comments:

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Jane I'm deeply sorry. I know my 'pity' remarks don't amount to much but I truly am sad for your dear friend, their little daughter and all those people who's lives will feel the loss of this man. I can't imagine how or what it would be like to be in her shoes? To be at this stage of their relationship with so much promise. When I am upset, I clean. At least we do something that isn't harmful I guess. Must say though a lot of loud Nirvana really helps too. Hugs to you and please relay my deepest sympathy to your friend when the time is right.
A huge hug to you Jane xx

brismod said...

Oh Jane, how sad! Your poor, poor friend...

Devon said...

My truest thoughts to your friend and their little one. The loss is unimaginable and devastating to contemplate. We here in Seattle are sending all of our thoughts their way tonight.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Dear Jane
This is terribly sad news.. for your friend and daughter and for you who grieves for your friend... I'm glad you have some outlet and know you will be a wonderfully supportive friend through this grieving process.. Take care...I'll be thinking about you all.. xx Julie

Engracia said...

Dear Jane, so sorry to hear about the sadness your friend and her young daughter are experiencing. All my best wishes to you and your friend.
Engracia

Susie said...

Jane - what a shock for your friend - I can relate to this...my ex-husband died very young and very suddenly. I thought I had all the time in the world to repair any bridges (although we were actually the best of friends after divorcing). How wrong can you be? And instinctively I got on a plane from Sydney and on arriving in the UK went immediately into catering mode...it's such a basic instinct isn't it? When there are no words to suffice, the preparation of food is a deeply soothing physical activity to focus on. I send all my sympathy to your friend - how lucky she is to have a caring friend like you to help her through this terrible time. Best wishes x

Debra said...

Dear Jean~ I'm so sorry for your dear friend and her daughter. And also for you- such a kind and caring friend that you are. It seems there is some quiet solitude to this day~ take your time, we'll be right here when you return.
Warm thoughts to you.

Amanda said...

Dear Jane, How sad I feel for you and your friend. I can't imagine how distressing this time is for you. Truly wish there was something I could do to help. Amanda xx

mise said...

That's such a terrible, sober thing. Poor woman, poor little girl, poor wasted years that never got to be lived by her husband. Many many kind thoughts to them, and you, Jane, and keep cooking. xx

Jacqueline said...

Oh Jane,
What terribly sad news. Your friend must be in such shock, but hopefully, time and the support of her friends will see her through this difficult time in her life. I can't imagine what she is going through. I know that you will be there to help her and her daughter.
Cooking is your way of coping when these things happen. Keep making those dishes and play a bit of Nirvarna and Faith No More. I still love their music now. Try a bit of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam for good measure.
Although your friend is suffering the most, look after yourself too, Jane and try not to get down. Lots of love to you and take care. XXXX

JMW said...

My heart goes out to your friend, her daughter and their family, as well as you, who has lost a dear friend. May all of you find comfort during this difficult time.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Terrible news...there doesn't really ever seem to be a right response in these instances so I suppose cooking is just about the best, most comforting thing one can do. Hope it does provide some solace to you and those you're feeding...

Kerry said...

Such sadness. I hope that your lovely friend has many wonderful friends to sustain her through what most be the most awful experience and that she has some wonderful memories to hang on to. Look after yourself.

Splendid Willow said...

Jane, that is terrible. Such sad news.

My heart goes out to you all. I will be sending you good energy about finding comfort.

Cyber hug,

Mon

Jennifer said...

I'm keeping you and your friends in my prayers - although we are unknown to each other - there is a grace God has that reaches out and holds you in HIS hands to give strength and comfort in ways you need. I dealt with Kidney Cancer last June. I had such peace - what I prayed for was ease of the worries my family and friends had ...it came. Peace to you and yours in whatever way will help. Jennifer jennsthreegraces

A-M said...

Oh Jane, I am so sorry. A-M xx

Jacqueline said...

Dear Jane,
I've just come back to see how you are doing. I hope that you are O.K. and I am thinking of you and your friend and her family.
I would have emailed, but I can never get into anyone's emails. Lots of love and take care. XXXX

Ange said...

You remind me of 'Like Water for Chocolate.' Love to your friend...

Millie said...

Gosh this post has pulled me up in my tracks Jane. No words can convey the sense of loss you must all be feeling. I'm like you, into the kitchen I'd head, followed closely by a solitary walk in the garden.
Millie ^_^

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