Thursday, December 10, 2020

Sharing Our Stories and #52Stories 49/52: Coping Mechanisms

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 getting therapy." 

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."

To savor the magic of story, link your post at Sharing Our Stories.

#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.


  1. My condolences to you and your family. Man, your niece is lucky to have you. So lucky. Some things have happened in my family lately that make me so appreciative of relationships like this one. God bless you.

  2. I agree with Dana. She is lucky to have you and I think a silver-lining in all of this pandemic is that we have found ways to support each other despite our distance. I am so sorry for your family's loss.

  3. Ramona, words cannot express my feelings reading this. You are the aunt and sister extraordinaire. Your family is so lucky to have you by their side in sorrow and joy.
    Those cookies look amazing, I will copy that recipe and try it. You know I love a good cookie. :-)

  4. Ramona, I'm sorry about your loss. That's hard and it's hard at Christmas and it's hard in a pandemic. Yet, your light shines. I imagine those pictures soothed your niece's soul. You seem to always know the quiet and powerful way to show love.

  5. I am so very sorry for your loss. I am sure your pictures and your love gave your niece comfort that she needed. Praying for you all.

  6. "She's in the kitchen getting therapy." Hugs to you.

  7. Ramona - Your post to your niece was wonderful and calming. Such sadness mixed with such love. Karl is smiling down from heaven. You were the best sister he could ever have!

  8. Cookies have the smell of love - I like the idea, I agree with it. Baking gives comfort.

  9. oh my ... so lovely ... I wept. :) thank you.