The definition of an anniversary: “the yearly recurrence of the date of a past event” (www.dictionary.com). Some we look forward to, such as wedding anniversaries and birthday anniversaries. However, there are those we do not anticipate. As much as I have loved the month of October, now it holds one of those dreaded anniversary days – the date of my husband’s graduation to Heaven.
For some reason, this year it has really hit me hard. I think it is because it is a fifth year; we tend to emphasize those when it comes to anniversaries and reunions. I am struggling with the idea that Bob has been gone for five years. It seems impossible, but I have to face the fact that it is true. The waves of grief that had appeared to settle down have been higher and deeper again.
Why am I relating my struggle? I am writing for those who are in the same boat as I am. For those who are feeling overwhelmed. For those who feel as if the next wave will wipe them out. I write to say that you are not alone, even though it may seem that you are. I write to say that there is hope. The storm will pass, and things will calm, at least for a while.
There are days that I strive to sense a purpose for my life now that Bob is no longer with me. I miss being a part of someone’s daily living. I miss having someone else involved in the decisions that I need to make. I miss the shared responsibility of marriage – now everything is up to me.
My path through this journey of grief has not been an easy one, but who would expect it to be? Nevertheless, I keep going on. My faith in the God who made me and the hope I have in Christ give me the strength I need from day to day (sometimes moment by moment). When I am feeling overwhelmed, I remember that I only need to take one step, then the next one, and the next one. The Lord has my future in His control. It’s time to take a deep breath, then trust His guidance.
As I choose recipes for Cooks’ Corner, I often go back and read prior columns to see if I can use something from the past. They often include Bob’s opinion about certain dishes, which causes me to miss my taste-tester terribly! Since October is National Spinach Month, I chose something he really enjoyed, plus an old favorite that I have never used before.
Fresh Spinach-and-Apple Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette
2 medium apples, thinly sliced
6 cups torn fresh spinach, washed and thoroughly drained
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine apples and spinach in a serving bowl. Whisk together honey and next 6 ingredients until well blended. Pour mixture over salad, tossing gently. Serve immediately.
For individual salads, divide spinach and apples into 4 salad bowls (use 2 bowls for a large dinner salad). Add extra ingredients, if desired. Suggestions: diced cooked chicken, toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, or pecans), dried cranberries, cheese crumbles.
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2-1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
1/4 to 1/2 cup processed American cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
Oyster crackers (optional)
In a 3-quart saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and nutmeg until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk and water. Add cheese; cook and stir over medium heat until melted. Add spinach; cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Serve with oyster crackers if desired. Yield: 5-6 servings.