I checked in on my niece after receiving word that my brother died on Monday morning. She's a teacher in Texas and had returned home on Sunday after being with her mother since Wednesday following the death of her grandmother on Tuesday. My niece loves singing and adores Christmas music. Last week, I sent her links to previous Christmas specials from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was my way of reaching out to comfort her during this time of social distancing.
So it's not surprising that this is the return text I received on Monday morning when I checked in with her:
"I'm calm. Packing. Listening to Christmas music. I'll leave here when I'm ready."
She had an almost three hour drive ahead of her and her brother was with her mom.
And here's the reply I sent back to her:
"Good to hear from you. You know you had the best daddy in the whole world. You keep listening to Christmas music. I'm going to bake some cookies."
And her next text:
"Share pics of your baking. I'll be able to feel and smell the love."
Here's the first pic and accompanying text:
"Moving slow. Butter getting soft. This may take me all day."
Not all day, but it was an an hour and a half before my niece received this cookie pic.
And because I know you'll be asking, here's the recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, one of my favorites!
Notes: I only make half of this recipe (see penciled in amounts). I don't powderize the oatmeal in the food processor (who wants to clean that beast?), but just use quick oats I use walnuts instead of pecans.
Baking cookies is my go-to coping mechanism. After my father'
death forty years ago, I was often in the kitchen baking cookies while my
siblings helped my mom. They would jokingly say, "She's in the kitchen
And for those who are interested, here's a blog post about my brother, written as part of my #52Stories for 2020, "The Best Friend a Girl Could Have."
#52Stories is my attempt to write 52 stories from my life during the year 2020. At least one
story a week, in no particular order, to remember and document some of
the memories and moments of my life.