My mother died young; her death was unexpected, unnecessary. We were distraught. The day after her death, nearly forty years ago, my cousin Gloria arrived at my father’s door with a fish chowder. It was beyond delicious; it was comforting, sustaining, life-affirming. When we brought Bill home from the hospital last week, a friend had a chicken soup waiting for us. It too was beyond delicious.
I have lost my appetite only once in my life, when I was in the hospital, very ill with pneumonia. I hadn’t appreciated what people meant when they told me they had lost their appetite. I thought it meant that they were full or that they didn’t particularly like what was put before them. When I lost any interest in eating, I was scared. I thought I might die, leaving Bill with three young ones to raise on his own. I have heard of people who at the end of their lives don’t eat or drink. That must mean that their will to live is gone.
Years ago a friend of mine gave me a Chinese recipe for chicken broth that was alleged to be particularly life-giving. It requires a fowl, not an easy thing to come by here, and fresh herbs, now easy to find but at that time impossible to buy in the winter. I must get out the recipe, find a fowl and make the broth.
Bill is on the mend for the time being although there are hurdles down the line. I have been blessed with the gift of living one day at a time. I hardly ever look more than a few months away, don’t “borrow trouble.” I weighed him this morning, and he has gained twelve pounds in one week. A lot of the weight must come from his drinking Boost three times a day.