Thursday, January 26, 2012

What will they say about me?

Summer 2010.
I like this picture of me, at the beach, my husband up and about,  he and I taking turns taking pictures of my grandchild and her friend frolicking in the water, on the trip back to the airport in Eureka.
I'm the doting wife in this shot, the loving grandmother, forever the educator.  Right after this visit, I started the cooking blog, a continuation of classes for my grandchild, a reminder that cooking and family go together. (I doubt she frequents the blog, but it is there for her!)

My son Brian used to call me on week nights, when he was preparing a meal and needed substitutes, or a way to enhance a dish.  We'd talk for a second or so. When my husband asked about the call, I'd say:
Brian is cooking.
What's new with him?
He's making spaghetti sauce and has no tomatoes.
What else?
Nothing else.
What did you tell him?
Saute' any vegetables he has with lots of garlic and peperoncino, drop a tablespoon of vinegar and serve over any pasta he has.

I don't remember ever calling my mother, or my aunt, to ask about any dish I was preparing. I cook by improvising, and that's something that is not easy to teach.
All through my life, I never thought of myself as a good cook until I began entertaining here in my new home, after retiring, and having people ask about my techniques.

I'd hate it if my obituary said anything about my cooking!
I love to write. But, I'm not a writer for hire. So, that too, will not end up in my obituary.

People who write obituaries are in a hurry, constrained by time and cost, (yes, each word costs money), and most of all by grief. Grief entombs us.

What do I want to be remembered for?
I better ask my friends and line up the answers I like.


  1. Good question, Rosaria. I'd like to be remembered as a mom who loved her kids and did the best she could in raising them. I would like to be remembered as a good wife who was blessed by a wonderful husband, the second time around. I'd like to be remembered as one who valued education, reading, and writing. I'd like to be remembered as a woman of faith who tried to keep the faith even when it seemed that my faith could never stand up against the realities of life.

    Obituaries cost money. I didn't care when I wrote my father's. It took me an entire day to write it. I wanted it to be one that reflected him and one he would like to read because he thought obituary writing was becoming a lost art. It cost a fortune to publish. Thankfully, my mother allowed the cost and paid it.

    You, I will remember as a treasure who inspired me with your writing, your take on life, your cooking, and the way you honestly faced your great grief and walked through it.

    You are a practical poet. I like that. You think deeply and your reflections resonate with others who are in similar situations in life. Reflection is a good thing because it allows us to learn about what we are experiencing. I learn from your reflections.

    You are my teacher. You are the consummate teacher in many areas of life. That is how I will remember you.

  2. Love that your Brian called for cooking tips ... I used to call my mother often and still have a collection of her hand written recipes. I treasure them.

    I consider you a 'woman of substance.' A woman with intelligence, strength, empathy .. a force to be reckoned with. A woman who tells stories well .. who writes beautifully .. and yes, our teacher.

    Your photo is quite lovely .. the header photo amazing!

  3. Well, it won't really matter since you'll be gone when it's written, hopefully by those left behind who care for you. But even if not you or what remains of you will be off on your next journey and won't care.

  4. I really like this picture of you Rosaria. You shall be remembered as the woman who could. Who could do what counts, regardless. That is how I see you anyway.

    I honestly don't care what people say about me when I'm gone since I'll be gone. I would like my family to remember me kindly of course, for their own benefit, but I try to place no value on what was and is no more. At the same time, I understand your sentiments.

  5. I used to worry that there wouldn't be much to write in my obituary; I had an insecurity about my lack of accomplishments, and I was putting emphasis on that. Now, honestly, I'd be plenty happy if the only line was: she sure did enjoy her grandchildren!

  6. I like this picture of you very much -- The baseball cap, the sand and sea way in the background, and most of all the look of happy serenity on your face. I have three sons and all of them call me for cooking advice and recipes -- almost always at an inconvenient time and for some reason I always stop what I am doing and try to answer. Not always easy when it's say Christmas Eve and you are trying to explain how to make a Christmas log!

  7. oh, rosaria, i love your exchange with brian! what else is new with him? your husband asked and you answered, he is asking for sustenance. he is my child. i am answering. what more is there in life, rosaria? this is your story. this is the best story. screw the words that come after:) look at you in this photograph! most definitely screw the words that come after. your granddaughter should stand and read recipe after recipe. someone else should stand beside her and read your memoirs, your poems. let everyone stand and read a leaf of you. no one needs to understand. this is a beautiful life!


  8. i loved reading about your phone calls with brian. just a moment to share between mother and son and how precious he could take your wisdom and weave it into a dish.

    erin said it best - your life stands on its own, stands for itself. understanding by others may never be completely possible, will it? your words in your memoir echo for eternity, your recipes will be absorbed into the wisdom of your granddaughter when she lights a fire on her stove. one day, it will happen.

    what can be said? yours is a creative soul, and creative souls cannot be described. only loved.......and celebrated for all the light they let come streaming through.

  9. Why is it we wait until we are older to appreciate ourselves? It is good to do so before we die, and for others to do so with us. What I am so struck with here is that you are an improviser. No tomatoes? Ha! I thought, how can you make spaghetti sauce without tomatoes? But the irony was quickly forgotten when I read what you actually told Brian. It's what we do with our life, and the stuff we are given, that amounts to anything. Maybe each of us should wish for an epitaph like this: S/he made a beautiful life with what s/he was given."

  10. Ladies, these thoughts of yours are decorating my walls today. Thank you for your generous spirit.