About Lisa

Mom, wife, retired physician assistant and multi award winning home cook including Food Network CHOPPED CHAMPION

Post-Script

 

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Like a magnet to the North Pole I have been pointed back in this direction. My moral compass has led me to share a few more words in celebration of my son. The new stories from friends, family and complete strangers took me by surprise. As they emerge they will be preserved here rather than forgotten. While I thought I had nothing more to share there is a bit of wisdom left.

Mostly, the goal is to share the comfort of angels and assist those struggling in their grief. Hopefully, this blog will encourage mourning. Mourning is publically sharing your grief as opposed to grieving which is taking all your feelings and stuffing them into a container that no one else has access to. As much as you fear those judging you and not accepting you “moving on” my advice is to open up and just let them have it. Go public with your grief.

In the words of my lovely friend Mary Alice who recently lost her husband:

When people ask me how I am my response is, “I’m fine until I’m not”

Could 5 simple words be more courageous and empowering? It’s a right in your face invitation to have a natural conversation about the human capacity to give and receive love. Isn’t that God’s greatest gift? Accept the invitation to chat and you will breathe life back into the broken-hearted.

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thank you for breathing life back into those around you

Crossing a Bridge: The Final Step

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It’s been 2640 days since I lost my son.  Over 7 years has gone by in a blink of an eye, but in the last month there has been some kind of change. It’s hard to explain because I don’t exactly understand it myself. I liken it to crossing over some sort of bridge. How does one get to such a crossroad? It certainly isn’t easy and could not have been done without this blog or you celebrating him. And my goodness how you celebrated him…at your weddings, with the birth of your children, at country music concerts, on the lacrosse field, at the beach, at Will’s Bench and in the mountains….from sea to shining sea you all celebrated him. Thank you for all the messages and photos all these years.

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So, getting here. It feels like a hopeful place. It’s a destination where William is warm and alive and connected to not just my heart, but yours, too. I see it in my dreams. So many hearts . He is safely tucked in. This path over the bridge is one of remembrance of his love, his adventures and loyal spirit. With every step his love of family, friends and country is well preserved. I can see it all now. It’s all right here. The journey certainly doesn’t end, but it does become more quiet and private.

 

 

There is a bridge ahead; it’s been beckoning me to cross over. Filled with multiple conflicts it has been difficult to decide which way to go. The bridge appears sturdy and stable, but you know how those old bridges can be. Looks can be deceiving. It’s made of sticks like that Little Pig’s house and we all know how that one ended. Is it safe to say one will make it over? Maybe the best thing is to just stay put, but his favorite poem says, “take that road” and the promise to follow in his light weighs heavy.

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Some bridges are harder to cross than others especially if you are grieving.  The heights are frightening, the stability is often shaky and with no horizon in sight it’s a panic attack in the making.  Bridges can be deceiving, so take your time (however long). Then one day, much to your surprise, there will be a bridge that beckons with hope and peace on the other side. Not like one of those rope type bridges that wobble when one walks over it, but more like a guarded covered bridge. A stable bridge that feels safe. Take the first step and cross over. There’s someone on your shoulder going, too. Remember you are never alone.

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So this is it. The end of the very public grief of GoodGriefCook. The blog is not going away. The journey will always be here with the recipes inspired by the places I have been and the people I love. This celebration of life, love and the healing power of food will always be best read from the beginning, but this is the end as we know it. I think I will name this bridge “gratitude”. I love you William and am ever proud to be your mom.

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To all those thick in their grief just continue one step at a time. Celebrate your person and you, too, will find peace.

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Spirited Jam Session

 

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Who can resist an entire basket of fresh peaches for only $2.00? Not me! Husband immediately ordered up a peach crisp with the rest destined to be cooked into jam. First order of business is the peeling, pitting and slicing of the fruit. It is a days work, but very worth it. Sadly, peaches don’t peel themselves. To easily peel them they require a quick dip in boiling water and then a plunge into an ice water bath to loosen the skins.

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Now raise your hand if you have ever had the drink called a fuzzy navel? It’s a combination of Peachtree schnapps and orange juice. A sweet girly drink, served on the rocks, it was quite a popular libation soooo many decades ago. I happen to have a dusty (“cough cough” a very dusty) bottle of the schnapps in the back of the pantry and thought it just might mix well with the peaches in a jam. Amazing how liquor never goes bad and a spirited recipe comes to life. ❤

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Jam is pretty easy to make. Basically, all the ingredients into the pot, stirring and boiling until it is done. And it’s done when it passes the jell test. Place a few drops on an ice cold plate, wait about 10 seconds. Tilt the plate and make sure it doesn’t run, but stays in a bead form.

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not ready

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not ready

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READY!

Ladle it into sterilized jars and seal. Plunge the sealed jars back into a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Think about how good this will taste come fall and winter. A summer peach pick-me-up.

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Properly sealed jars will last for a year in the pantry.

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Spirited Peach Jam

4 pounds fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped (4 ½ cups after prep)

½ cup Peachtree schnapps

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups sugar

1/2 box (1.75 oz) Sure Jell Fruit Pectin for less sugar needed recipes

1-teaspoon butter

In medium saucepan, combine peaches, schnapps and lemon juice. Mix ¼ cup of the sugar with the pectin in a small bowl and then stir into the fruit. (Note: mixing the pectin with some of the sugar prevents clumping).  Add butter and bring mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly to avoid scorching on the bottom of the pan. Stir in remaining sugar and return to full rolling boil. Boil 1 minute and then test the jam for jelling. Ladle jam into prepared sterilized jars and seal as directed per Sure Jell instructions.

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Make plenty and enjoy. Happy 4th of July Week. I hope you are surrounded by those you love most. ❤