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.
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)