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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

In Memory of my Aunt Barbara

Updated: May 30



I flew to London a few weeks ago for the funeral of my beloved aunt Barbara. Barbara was Mom’s younger sister. It was wonderful and painful to be part of the mourning process. I am so glad I was able to support my cousins in their loss and act as a proxy for Mom, who obviously could not be with us. But perhaps the hardest thing of all was when I visited Mom on my return and realized she comprehended nothing of her sister’s demise.

 

Dad and I had several conversations about what was more optimal: passing away from cancer, as Barbara did; or barely existing in an Alzheimer’s fog, as Mom does.

 

We clarified that there were many answers, one based on how we felt, another on what it meant to suffer from one (or both) of these diseases.

 

I must admit that having physical contact with Mom, hugging and kissing her, was therapeutic. She is still here. She may not be the mom who raised me or the woman she once was, but she has a physical presence in this world that I can draw comfort from.

 

On the other hand, I mourn my loss in an endless cycle. There is no closure with persistent or chronic grief.

 

If we had the power to see into the future, and a way to respectfully and blessedly end our lives before we suffered, would we have wanted that for Mom? Would I want it for myself?

 

We don’t have that luxury.

 

The next best thing to knowing what life will throw at us is how we deal with the cards we’re dealt. My Auntie Barbara was a powerful force in the world. She lived life with a passion, despite her illnesses. She found love twice and was tremendously devoted to her four grandchildren. Sometimes I felt closer to her than to my own mom, as if she could understand me better. And, as a young girl going through puberty—changing, growing, becoming—perhaps she could.

 

As Barbara visited over the years, she would go up and down in weight. Once, she became so skinny that her doctors decided she needed to fatten up. With this last medication, she gained a lot of weight, so much so that in her direct, pragmatic way, she told me, “It’s better to be fat than dead!”

 

That’s my lesson. Live life to the fullest. Find the positive. It is this spirit that I want to take with me when I visit Mom who is locked deep inside herself with her constant companion, Alzheimer’s.

 

 

 

I haven’t been posting much lately (an understatement) but I have been eating. Once in a while I even try daring new recipes like the one here. I think you’re going to like it, too.

 

Summer Squash Carpaccio

I love this recipe. It is delicious and different and looks beautiful. Just the right amount of sweetness for lunch on a hot summer’s day.

 

Ingredients:

3 small yellow and/or green squash/zucchini sliced as thin as possible

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup lemon juice

2 Tbsp minced red onion

2 tsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp date honey (or honey)

4-6 dates, pitted and finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Chopped parsley for garnish

 

Directions:

Slice squash/zucchini as thinly as possible then arrange in a circular pattern in a bowl with a relatively flat middle or a platter with sides (the container needs to have sides). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss on chopped dates. Make a second layer of squash and repeat. Mix dressing ingredients in a closed jar. Pour over squash. Cover and let marinade in the fridge overnight or minimally for up to two hours.

 

 

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