Is that the strangest combination of subjects in one blog post you've ever seen? I wanted to post an update on how I am doing here, and, well, those two things are mainly what I am doing.
I am truly grateful for all the incredibly thoughtful comments on my last post. I was not expecting that! Such an outpouring of kindness and love and sharing in my grief. I am ever so thankful to each one you. So many friends, family, neighbors and blog readers have sent messages, gifts and cards. It is all so generous- and so cherished by me. Each little sentiment brings me out of my fog that envelops me at times. I get a sudden little taste of goodness and sunshine from each condolence, even when I am most consumed in my own little world of sadness. It's good to remember that I'm not alone.
I've found that one of the most healing things for me (besides pouring out my heart to my husband), is talking with others who have lost their parent(s) to cancer. And sadly, so many have.
When I left my mom's house in California, I brought home a few treasures besides the stack of wonderful photo albums. I discovered this framed picture in a guest room. This old painting of a sleeping baby hung in my room my entire childhood, since my birth I'd guess. I hadn't seen it for many years now, and was surprised to find it in that guest room. My mom & her beloved's home is very modern and super pretty. Full of new, modern, pretty stuff. Yet she still had this ancient painting that doesn't seem especially amazing to me. And I wonder so much why she hung on to it? I wish I could ask her.
I also brought home this nice rooster guy that guarded her clothes washing machine. That ceramic bunny there on the right is a treasure from my grandma who passed away, also from cancer, in the year 2000.
And, my aunt suggested bringing home a quilt. That would be a special way to remember my mom- by wrapping myself in one of her cozy quilts. I just snapped this photo of the quilt I chose tonight, so pardon the flash. My husband had been lying there reading from Carla Emery's Country Encyclopedia, yet again. I've said it before- this book is the most useful and helpful book we've ever found for crazy homesteaders like us. My husband was looking up a tanning sort of a question I'm sure.
When I first came home from being with my mom, mostly I just cried. I really needed to come home and sob out my grief and shock to my dear husband. I had missed him sooo much. I had never been away from him! And never been away from my kids either. They were so sad when I was gone, and cried on the phone just about every time we talked. I think my 3 year old had the hardest time. I've been home over 2 weeks and he still daily brings up how much he missed me "when I was at the airport" and how sad he was that I "couldn't read him books at bed time".
Grief is such weird thing. Honest to Goodness I go straight from feeling deep overwhelming sadness that my mama is gone, gone, gone and I will never hear her voice when I pick up the phone again, to total unbelief in the very next moment. Unbelief that she is gone- she can't be, right? I can still hear her laugh and her voice and picture her smiling at me perfectly. She's not gone, that just doesn't compute in my brain! I have moments I think to call her, or think of some silly thing the children are doing that I will put in my blog for her to see... and then I remember.
I also think of her all the time. My brain replays her last days all.night.long every single night. It's quite strange. Whether I am asleep and dreaming, or up for one of my many nighttime bathroom visits, I am reliving her passing, my airplane trip, my last conversations with her... And during the day as well I am constantly thinking of her whole life, my whole life with her, my whole future without her...
I think that is one of the reasons I need to hear from others that have lost their mother/parents- I need to hear how they grieved, that I am not alone in my grieving process, that I am not completely bizarre.
And then began our very first adventure in pig butchering and meat processing. A lot of meat processing! We have chopped, sliced, ground, stewed, marinated, canned and frozen piles of pork these past days. I am very grateful for all that good, clean, home raised meat of course- that is why we do what we do, to have our own animal products we know are healthy and safe, but I do get bored of the monotonous meat cutting tasks all the live long day. It feels SO good to get to the very end of a mountain of meat, to stand back and enjoy looking at the fruits of our labor- all that awesome food.
Here are some quarts of ground pork sausage, cubes, and lard. I am so looking forward to making a pie crust from our very own lard! I've been reading for years about how delicious pie crust made from lard is. ;)
I used a recipe for sausage from, big shocker- Carla Emery's book. ;) I mixed the spices and put them over the meat, as you can see in the cute picture of this little girl. I mean, as you can see in the bowl there on the upper right of the photo.
Then ran it through our meat grinder.
After that I shaped the ground meat into sausage shapes and froze them in piles with waxed paper between them. (They are soo yummy)
A busy kitchen photo. Pork broth is stewing there in the big pot, the broth in the open jars is awaiting canning, there is bread rising next to that cozy warm stew pot, and a batch of freshly canned broth in the background behind the graham crackers I'd just taken out of the oven. The roasting pan in the far back had the "cracklins" left in it after lard rendering (Cracklins are the bits of meat left after melting down chunks of fat into lard). Just FYI- I'd always thought one should never ever render lard in your house because the smell is super terrible, but I found that pork lard doesn't fall under that rule. :) It smells really good, like bacon. But sheep tallow on the other hand- never ever render that in your house, it smells super terrible! ;)
And that is what I've been up to my eyeballs in. Grief, and pig. ;)
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