Love, loss & the power of food.
Writing this isn’t easy. In fact, it’s taken me a good week to figure out how I would put this into words, how much I’d share and what my food therapy focus would be. So the other day as I ignored skype calls and text messages from worried loved ones and sat around in my living room as things began to pile up, I heard a voice inside say…
Get up Melissa, please, for the love of God, get up…you can do this.
With a heavy heart, I got up still feeling numb and began to clean on autopilot. But everything reminded me of him: the guitar sitting in the corner echoing sounds of music he’d write and the energetic void that ached and followed me no matter what room I went to. Which made me wonder, how do I escape the memories of him for just a moment to simply find a piece of comfort?
It had been almost a week after I had put together a garbage bag of The Carpenter’s things waiting for him at my front door to drop off my spare keys. Regardless of his big heart, I knew there was a demon that only he could fight and that had been chipping away at our relationship for the last month. So I had to step back, set my boundary and love and support him at a distance. For the first time ever, I would hand my relationship over to fate and…let him go.
I needed a distraction.
And while all these stories all have a food component, I wasn’t hungry, but I needed to keep busy or I’d crawl right back under the blankets muffling the sounds of my phone chiming…
Melissa, are you okay? Please text me back, I’m worried about you.
I stood at the door of my kitchen with sore eyes and heard the sounds of The Beatles playing as I saw us dance and cook together. The memories were everywhere.
Noticing a bowl of tomatoes, I began to slice them in wedges without thought topping them with garlic, good quality olive oil and spices. I remembered the Ayurvedic belief that tomatoes stimulated an outward motion and were given to warriors before battle. And there I was, a warrior battling with my emotions.
5 filed tomatoes chopped in wedges
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp Italian spices
4 cloves garlic
Sea salt and pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
I wasn’t sure what I was planning with this. I could jar these roasted beauties after drying them out for the afternoon and use them for bruschetta or gluten-free pasta or I could dry them out a little further and top them on sandwiches, crackers or puffed rice cakes.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t hungry at all. Somehow I think my hands were guiding me like a symphony with some master plan that about an hour later, there it was…a warming, savoury scent that flooded my kitchen. I realized at that moment that food had a much greater therapeutic power beyond taste that I had ever realized.
There was the power of scent.
It was like the comfort you get when you’re little and smell cookies baking in the oven, or when you’re sick and you smell soup bubbling on the stove. That scent would wrap my heart that day and whisper and entice me to have just one bite despite my heart being heavy. That scent gave me energy…
…it gave me power.
Despite not knowing if we’d ever get back together, I would muster this newfound power to love and support someone through their process and have the power to honour my own. So can we escape memories and heartbreak? No, because they weren’t meant to be escaped. Instead memories and heartbreak were given as a gift despite how painful it unravels. And once we unwrap every bit of grief, anger, fear and worry, we can find the gift that awaits us at the core of it all…love.