Cauliflower Parmesan

Michael is on my mind more and more these days. This Friday he should be turning 60.

But he is forever 51 years and 150 days old. That’s the first time I’ve done the actual math of how much time his presence graced the world.

I suddenly feel the urge to cry just writing this. Why? It’s been almost eight and a half  years. His birthday is also his half deathiversary. I didn’t even mean to fall down this rabbit hole. All I wanted was to share a newish recipe I created for The Spruce Eats. Here’s the link to the recipe if you’re not up to taking this journey with me.

Cauliflower Parmesan | In Jennie’s Kitchen

If you’re hanging around, though, thank you. As time goes by, and as I grow older, it’s hard to make sense of my world as a widow. I was 37 when Michael died. Our girls were 3 and 8 years old. It sounds so much more relative or maybe sympathetic is the better word, than a 46 year old woman whose daughters are now 11 and 16. I feel like I should be more developed at this point, my grief somehow more nuanced, less, well, grief-stricken.

Cauliflower Parmesan | In Jennie’s Kitchen

But that is not the way grief works.

Life is a series of cycles.
Some good.
Some great.
Some eh.
Some bad.
Some we wish to never experience.
A ferris wheel in constant motion.

I began writing this post two weeks ago, and then decided to step away from it for a bit. I’ve been trying to do that a lot this last month. Giving feelings time to, well, be felt. To consciously act on them instead of simply reacting to them. Even though I’m feeling less raw than when I first wrote these words, I decided to still post this because I thought someone out there might benefit from reading them.

Cauliflower Parmesan | In Jennie’s Kitchen

One of my bosses commented recently that we introverts spend a lot of out free time thinking. That’s never been more true than the last few years. I find myself gravitating more towards silence to delve deeper into self reflection. When I’m capable of looking at it holistically, my grief has become less a burden and more a gift in the way it’s allowed me to find true thankfulness and gratitude in all of life’s moments.

I hope the weekend was restful and the week ahead provides pockets of peace amidst the usual chaos.

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  • Carol Cameron

    Thanks for the recipe…I love cauliflower. It’s an introspective time of year. I’m also an introvert which often feels lonely; but I value being one. Grief is a journey that is unique to each soul. Perhaps at this time you are meant to focus on your girls as they move toward adulthood. You strike me as very responsible, and I admire the way you’ve made a warm, cozy home for your little family. Your passion for cooking and gardening activities are so healing, and beneficial to others at the same time. At almost 66 years old, I’ve passed through many seasons of life. I believe it all comes right in the end.

    Blessings in this new year of growth.

  • Carol Cameron

    Dear Jennie,

    Generally I forego making comments on blogs if I don’t personally know the writer. Reading your email and thoughts when I had just awakened, and then commenting, resulted in a bit of a ramble that I don’t feel helped you during this special week of remembering your husband, Michael. Please forgive me. You have a wonderful grasp of your own journey. He sounds like a fine man, husband and father. All best to you and the girls this week and always…
    Respectfully, Carol Cameron

  • Jennie

    Carol, you didn’t ramble at all. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, and taking the time to read mine. -Jennie

  • Michelle

    Jennie, I don’t know if you ever get over it especially when it is your soulmate you lost. I went to grief meetings but nothing can heal that loss. I think it is okay for us to feel sad when we have memories happen that remind you of him, it is only natural.

    I tell him goodnight every night and leave the small light on in the living room where his hospital bed was until he passed away 10 months after his Glioblastoma brain tumor was diagnosed. It is still a shock to me as he was so healthy and that this happened to him.

    My husband was cremated and his ashes sit on the entertainment center in a beautiful wooden box. When my time comes my children will take his ashes and mine and plant a tree at my daughter’s home.

  • Susan

    Jennie,
    I have red your posts for many years. I remember your first post after Michael’s passing. My heart hurt for you and your girls. Whenever you write about Michael it touches my heart. My son passed away five years ago at the age of 37. The cause of death was listed as Aortic Dissection. A heart attack caused the aorta to tear away from the heart. An operation was done immediately to try to insert an artificial aorta, but was not successful. The day before he died was snowy Sunday. I decided to make Cauliflower Soup. My son decided to watch to learn how to make it. Sadly, he never had a chance to make it. Your Cauliflower Parmesan recipe reminded me of the last time I made Cauliflower Soup. I am always glad to read that you and your girls are doing well!

  • Jennie

    Susan, I’m sorry to hear about your son but thankful that you planted the seeds of his memory here by sharing your story with us. Thank you for that. -xoJennie

  • Anna-Karin

    Hi from Sweden!
    Did your lentil-ricotta “meatballs” that you did 10 years ago. Just found you on Instagram.
    They where absolutely lovely your meatballs! I just regret I didn t made some more…
    Thank you for being so inspiring! I will try many more of your recipes 🙂
    Anna-Karin

  • Ady

    I’ve been reading you for years now, and love your posts, both in sadness and happiness. And your lovely recipese are staples in my kitchen.
    Ady in Tel Aviv, Israel

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