It's coming up on the second anniversary of my mother's death.
When she died I was in a daze. Not myself. I don't remember a lot of the detail now. I was just somewhere else. Disengaged. Suicidal. Heavily medicated. Propped up by family and friends and medical professionals.
Organising the funeral was strangely easy in many ways. I guess that was what I'd done before, organised films, events, made decisions.. but for myself there was nothing left.
When my sister came down to be with me she brought, as well as her love and her practical good sense, a cook book (Nigella Lawson's Feast) with recipe's in it for funeral food. In it was also written a beautiful passage about loss and that the act of leaving a funeral and going and eating together is the first act that truly separates the living from the newly dead and begins the grieving process. It's perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our companions at such a time. I was strangely moved by the good sense of it.
So I baked. Rosemary for Remembrance cakes. Subtle delicious and wonderfully fragrant. Healing smells.
I've baked them numerous times since for remembrances of my mother and friend. They are perhaps the best way I can share my great grief with others so that it doesn't isolate and engulf me. I still welcome the smell of them, the kindness of sharing of that fundamental celebration of life lived, remembering that there will one day come for all of us a feast that we will not partake of, but that for me, that time is not yet.