Bake holiday cookies to connect with those we miss
| Today Headlines | Local News
Two weeks after my grandmother died, her daughter Carol passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at age 63. Once again, my family attended a Zoom memorial service, squeezing our grief through the screen. This death from afar had no program of folding paper or a wooden bench to stabilize me or sweaty hands to squeeze. No heady odors of soap or perfume, no mothballs or bad breath. With this contactless funeral, it’s almost as if the deaths never happened. Memories cannot be imprinted.
Cold from the bodily, two-dimensional loss, I began to retreat into the three-dimensional world. I inherited all of my aunt’s knitting, her gigantic collection of mohair yarns. Knitting, something I had tried and failed to learn years ago, came back into my life like a balm when I needed something to do with my hands the most. As I studied the fluffy yarn, the hand-dyed magentas and the Smurfs’ blues and chartreuse, the orange that matches two of our cats perfectly, I marveled at my aunt’s choices. I had always thought of Carol as my favorite aunt, but suddenly I saw how little I knew her and how much I wished I had her. She sent us all the scarves she had made for Christmas for years in a row, and I laughed at them. Now I walk around the house draped in them, hugging them, missing the very idea of closeness.
The holidays are a time of mourning for many, when losses pile up and balk at the meager attempts we make to encourage each other. I’ve never had it before. In this year of no gathering, those who are long lost or suddenly gone seem to have shown up early. For the first time, I understand vacations as something I need to get through the year. I hold on to twinkling lights, snowflakes, any semblance of sparkle.
While my state of New Mexico was on lockdown in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I found myself scouring the internet for butter, sugar, flour, nuggets, fearing I wouldn’t get the quantities I needed. needed after the last wave of hoarding started. My mom had already finished her first 48 nuts, a family recipe for smaller pecan pies, and decided to skip the kolachkys, Slovak croissants with jam in the center, the kind I hated as a kid. Soon she would be squeezing green marzipan into her spritz gun with dyed green fingers and asking my dad to help her sprinkle the wreaths.
And I, meanwhile, ditched my computer, my responsibilities, my bath routine, and rush from oven to grill with tray after tray of ginger cookies, ruined piñon rosemary shortbread, sugar cats lemon. I sink my hands into the dough, savoring the slap of sugar that airs the butter against the side of the bowl, crushing chocolate foil as the blade of the knife slides along it.
Today Headlines Local news Bake holiday cookies to connect with those we miss