As a Bereavement therapist for hospice I spend most of my day listening to stories about loved ones who have passed away. Morbid, I know. But it’s beautiful. Or can be. I hear about love stories. About resilience. About forgiveness. And about sadness. It challenges the way I think about my husband, my family, and myself. It challenges me to think about my life, the way I live it, the way I … love. Most of my clients are: A) Women B) Talkative. But a recent client wasn’t either of those. And what he said challenged me to think “What Equals Love?”
Let’s paint the picture: He was a 60-something year old man. A blue collar type of guy. Not that talkative kind. The simple kind. Grieving the loss of his beloved wife of nearly 40 years. He told me about her flowy brown hair, her thin stature, and her passion for cooking. He shared with me how they fell in love, where they met, and the life they built together.
Typically this kind of discussion progresses into “I miss her so much.” “I wish she was still here with me.” That kind of thing… which makes sense, of course. But what he said was:
“I am never going to have her potato salad again.”
Huh. That’s interesting.
It got me thinking… I wonder what Brad would miss. Especially curious what dish have I made that he would miss? Please tell me all the Pinterest pins of 5 ingredient recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less hasn’t been a complete waste of time. Maybe I’m setting myself up for disappointment here.
Given, before we got married over two years ago I had never cooked anything that wasn’t pre-made/frozen/free/made by my mom. If you remember from my Life as a Resident’s Wife post I candidly described my life as the 1950’s wife I never wanted to be… and as a good 1950’s wife would, I provide some kind of meal for my man on a regular basis. I do try. I do. Not super hard. But I try. There’s always some kind of food to eat. Something. Usually… ANYWAY…
But I did ask him. Brad, if I died (yes this is a normal conversation starter at our house), what food would you miss the most that I make?
He looks at me with sunken eyes, as if he is hoping lightening would strike to distract me and get him out of this awkward position. But no such luck. SERIOUSLY BRAD! What would it be?
“Umm… your food is not on the list of reasons why I love you.”
YOU CAN’T NAME ONE THING? I am officially fixated on the fact he can’t name one damn thing I’ve made… What about the lasagna I make sometimes?
“Honey, sometimes those noodles are hard.”
WHAT?! WHY WOULDN’T YOU TELL ME! I would change the recipe! (for the record, I don’t taste test these meals because I’m allergic to wheat and corn. So I have no idea what my meals taste like. This may be my biggest problem haha)
“Because it doesn’t matter. I love that you love me enough to feed me. You don’t love it but you do it anyway. I love you for so many reasons and that is one of them. I don’t care what it tastes like.”
Ok. So that’s love.
It’s easy for us to get distracted by comparing ourselves to our coworkers large bouquet of flowers their significant other sent on their anniversary. Or to the friend whose spouse surprises her with Beyonce tickets. Or the couple that hold hands as they stroll throughout the mall… they are also the ones that share dinner plates, which frankly… puke.
But my relationship is special. My potato salad is no good. Or my lasagna. Or my chicken… etc. etc. And I’m thankful.
There’s so much more that equals love.
So I leave you with this. Appreciate each day.
Cheers to that, y’all. Happy weekend!