Masthead header

Dinner for One

 

I am cooking tonight.

 

Cooking isn’t unusual for me – I try to cook dinner for my kids several nights each week, and we have our big family dinner every Sunday, so cooking is regular. But tonight, I’m cooking alone. Tori and Tess have things going that adult kids tend to have.  Josiah is at church.  I am alone.  And I don’t mind being alone – in fact, after a busy, people-filled day, the introvert in me is happy to sink into an evening filled with solitude and good food.

 

But, the thing is, I can’t stop my mind from running ahead.  It keeps racing out of the here-and-now, to a day not so far away, when this will be my normal.  Tess gets married in January. Tori moves into her own place in February.  Josiah goes to college in 2 & 1/2 years and is gone a whole lot even now.

 

I look at the six, fat bratwurst browning in the skillet and remember how my grandmother squirreled so many leftovers away in her fridge.  She just couldn’t learn to cook for one and I’m not sure she ever really tried.

 

I try unsuccessfully to deflect the feelings I’m unprepared to process.  I am fifteen years younger than my grandmother was when she was widowed. It seems I have a long road ahead, and that road is apparently filled with a lot of leftovers, which makes me wonder if I’ll hate being really and truly alone.  Almost as soon as that thought bubbles up to the surface, my mind starts racing for solutions which include, but are not limited to:  1) Have friends over for dinner  2) Have homeless people over for dinner 3) Stop eating dinner.

 

But I love to cook. It’s therapy for me.  And Steve loved to eat what I cooked.  It was therapy for him. I would give about anything for the chance to  keep making moussaka and curry and shepherd’s pie for that guy for the next thirty years. But plans change and people go and then we have decisions to make about why we do the things we do and what it would mean if we stopped.To stop cooking would be to hand more of my life over to the greedy abyss that is ALS and I just will not, cannot do it.  It doesn’t get to win this one.

 

Dinner is ready. Sausage, maple glazed butternut squash, roasted broccoli, and way too much of it.  But it is delicious and I feel warmed and fed in a world where so many will go to bed tonight alone and hungry.  The minute I lose sight of that, I’ve become the very thing I swore I would never become (starts with a v and ends with ictum.)  Again I’ll say: ALS doesn’t get to win this.  It doesn’t get to slap labels on lapels. Not without a fight.

 

So, cook I shall. For many or for me.  For life.  For love.  For Steve.

 

It’s just the right thing to do.

 

With hope,

 

Bo

October 21, 2015 - 10:32 pm

Katrina Monaghan - How about cooking dinner for other widows?

October 22, 2015 - 5:01 am

Debbie K. - I love to cook as well and use the leftovers for my lunches during the week. Love reading your post.

October 22, 2015 - 8:58 am

Kim - I remember several years ago when my life changed drastically, it felt so powerful to still claim what remained and what was my normal. And one of those was good ole southern cooking. I was a party of “0ne” but God blessed me with unexpected guests in all sorts of ways!! I once read that grief is just love with no place to go…. Pour that love in cooking and everything and everyone that remains in your life.

October 22, 2015 - 1:32 pm

Dani Meyer - Love this post and you Bo! You are welcome to come cook with me and help me wrangle these two wild toddlers at the studio anytime you like <3 <3

October 22, 2015 - 3:10 pm

Terri - Bo Your words again touch so deeply in my heart, and at the same time give me chills. You have such an anointing to write and share your journey with such truth and wisdom and grace. I have gone thru the valley of empty nesting, and it was a very Deep and Dark place for me. But God did some amazing work in me during that season~ mostly making me see that “He” is my all. I want you to know you encourage me and enspire me and have shown how God is there in the toughest of times. Blessings! From your sister in Christ ~Terri

October 24, 2015 - 4:44 pm

Jody Collins - Thank you for letting us in on your self-talk and your triumph, Bo.
Yes and amen.

October 25, 2015 - 11:27 am

Molly - I’m feelin you on this one. This is the exact post that I had seen coming from far. Praying grace, strength, courage, joy and hope for all such moments. I like the idea of cookin for others…..homeless or friends. Or cook away and then share with someone who is in a hard place in their life. I know that’s what I would do! Love you and thanks again for sharing!

October 26, 2015 - 3:15 pm

Shari Norris - I am relating to all you have written about eating alone. Since my Steve died of ALS 2 1/2 years ago, I have had my kids and their families living with me one at a time for various reasons. the 1st one for 9 months, then the next one for 4 months. Now my youngest daughter and her husband are buying a home and moving out. I will finally be alone for the 1st time. I’m not sure how that will be. I still cook for everyone every Sunday, 18 of us now, and I love it but what do I do during the week?

October 27, 2015 - 7:26 am

Meg - Your house always smells so good because of your cooking! If you find yourself with to many leftovers I’ll make the drive to your house and make astonishingly quick work of those leftovers. Moment of honesty here, it’s not even 7:30am and I’ve eaten breakfast twice. Praying for Jesus to fill your kitchen, and be present in the sights, sounds, taste, and scent of good food.

November 5, 2015 - 6:55 am

Debbie - Bo,

Your strength is amazing, I know the pain of loss. I was at a conference that happened shortly after Steve’s diagnosis and have followed your blog since then.

You have touched my live more than you will ever know. Your life radiates your love and trust in God.

Thank You, and may God bless every meal you make.