Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Daddy




I have some sad news to share with you today.
 
My father died suddenly about three months ago, on October 9th. He was surfing when his heart stopped. Just like that, and he was gone. He was in good health to our knowledge, which made it all the more shocking. We know now that he had an enlarged heart, which led to his cardiac arrest. He was only 64-years-old, and incredibly strong. My Dad, John Farrow, was the most wonderful father, the most devoted husband. My mother and him had been married for 30 years. He loved his 'girls' so much. Then the unthinkable happened, and we lost him.

There's so much I wanted to say here, but so little I can say well. It's nearly impossible, as you may imagine, to convey into words how much I miss him.  Living at home, I spent much more time with him on a daily basis this past year, and thus I feel absence even more acutely now. I think about him everyday; almost everywhere I look in the house, I have a memory appear in my mind of him, or of us - of our family. He is everywhere and nowhere all at once. 

Where, I've asked myself, do I go from here? What can I write that won't seem trivial and meaningless? I have tried to start this post so many times, but nothing sounded right. 

The truth is, for some time I felt I couldn't cook anymore, and even thought I wouldn't be able to write again. But as the weeks passed I got to a place in which cooking, or at least thinking about food, felt okay again.  At first, it was difficult to even sit at the dining room table without feeling the familiar pang of grief, arriving, as it does, in cold and heavy waves. It was hard, and still is hard, to make sense of a world without my Dad in it. He was our rock, after all - always there for me even in my darkest hours, and always ready to cheer me up when I was feeling down. He was so good at that. 

Still, I couldn't bear to leave the kitchen for good. In the end, I realized my Dad would've wanted me to stop loving the things that I loved, forever. Once the steady stream of visitors had died down, my mom and I were alone again, and there was space to think about the shape of our daily lives were beginning to take. So slowly, I started baking again, and making dinners. I made cookies to give away for Christmas, and I made bread. We've also been making soup a lot, like lentil and potato-leek, and comfort food like polenta with mushrooms and a poached egg. We began to crave such things that provided lasting sustenance: homemade chicken soup, boeuf bourguignon, pasta with creme fraîche -- rich, yes, but life-giving as well. It was partly the holidays that got me back into making things, and partly just time. 

 Staying warm and staving off hunger has been our main preoccupation these days, and I think it will stay that way for awhile now. Even when it seems ludicrous to think of food giving pleasure, we must eat anyway, and thus think of the best way to take care of ourselves in the most elemental way possible. I think he would want us to keeping finding little joys in life, however which way we can. I know this much to be true. 

Daddy, I love you. I miss you.

This post is for you.