Making Salsa and Remembering

For the last two weeks I have thought about making salsa.  I could not get this off my mind. Our tomatoes in our greenhouse are ripening nicely and so are the onions in our vegetable garden.

So, last Friday I shopped for the rest of my ingredients to make my salsa and decided to make fish tacos as well. My husband has caught a lot of Halibut this year.  We are blessed to live on the Oregon Coast where fresh fish is bountiful.  Our freezer is full.

As I started chopping the ingredients for the salsa, my heart sank. I remembered.  I remembered on this very day at almost the exact moment, one year ago, on a Friday afternoon, this is what I was doing when I had to leave my home and rush to find my mom close to death after a series of frightening phone calls. I was speechless, my mouth dropped open and I really could not believe the irony of which I was witnessing. For a moment I was frozen.  I knew the anniversary of my mother’s death was approaching.  She is on my mind daily.  This act of making salsa was not a conscious effort on the very day, one year later after finding her. I was instantly flooded with memories, smells, sounds and heartache.

My mother died from complications due to poor health, poor diet, and lack of exercise. How she died and what she died from will haunt me for the rest of my life. In my wildest dreams, I would have never thought she would have died from an infection.  An infection that took hold fast and killed her very quickly.

One year later, here I am in my kitchen cooking with love as I always try to do (try it, your food will come out amazing) and facing the memories of one of the worse days of my life. I could have stopped. I could have walked away.  I could have gone into an emotional breakdown.  I did not.  I finished that salsa, I kept my appointment with my therapist, I came home and I finished an amazing dinner for my husband and I.

A lot has happened in this past year.  I have chosen to pursue a mountain of personal growth.  I have chosen to learn and grow from not only what I experienced with my mother’s death, but also the deeply frustrating relationship I had with her. I have become dedicated to helping other’s through my experience.  I am a better person.  I am paying it forward.

When my mom died, I had been on a path of Clean Eating for several months. My mind was clear and my heart was happy at this time. This is one of the greatest benefits of eating clean, mental clarity. I could give you over 100 reasons to eat clean, if I had to choose only one for myself, it would be the mental clarity.  I could not have faced my mother’s death and what I witnessed without the ability to focus.  Focusing on so many levels and having a clear mind.

I will continue to make salsa.  I will do it with love.  I will remember wiping away the tears with my fingers that were coated with what felt like fire from the peppers I had just chopped, making the tears flow faster and harder.  I will remember the love of family and friends around me at this horrid time.  I will remember and I will continue to be grateful.

12 thoughts on “Making Salsa and Remembering”

  1. It’s amazing the simple acts that bring the tears, memories, and that moment of overwhelming grief that is always followed by a sense of peaceful clarity. We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of losing my dad, September 23rd. I still mow his lawn and try to match his pattern, but I still can’t get it quite right. Allow the tears to wash away the grittiness of grief, it’s the only way I’ve found that really helps.

  2. Beautifully written Shelly. I know your heart and I can feel your vivid memories. My time of the year is not making salsa but at Thanksgiving…I am usually wiping away my tears as I baste my Turkey. I feel my moms presence in my kitchen because that is where we always worked side by side preparing food with love for our family that we adore.

  3. This is a AMAZING and Touching story Shelly—-It made me want to stay on track—My mother is in nursing home and doesn’t know who I am–i do believe if she had taken better care of herself and been healthier she would not be in this situation–I also know sometimes i will get in a down mood because I wish i could be closer and be there–Thank You Shelly for the post—Smells are a amazing reminder and memory flash backs

  4. I believe in angels. It was meant to be, and it was. Jackie is happy, Jackie is where she had wanted to be for many years. Jackie is with Frank. You and Eric are what they were always proud of. You and Eric are fine.

  5. Shelly – You have been on my mind. Your mom was a sweet, funny sarcastic, kind person. You will miss her forever. Keep making salsa and let those tears roll.

  6. So amazingly and beautifully said Shelly. dealing with grief is a hard and burdomsome thing, and sometimes simple acts help to clear the grief and put it into perspective. I feel that same way remembering my grandmother as I cook in the kitchen that was hers and is now mine, or when I find myself using a phrase or word my Dad used to say. It brings sadness, but also a sense of bittersweet remembrance; a toast to their memory.
    Beautifully said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *