hello, there.by caroline
Hello, my lovely cupcakes, dearest readers. I hope you have been well.
As some of you may have noticed, I have taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging and recipe creating for the last six weeks or so. I know I didn’t make a grand announcement about where I was going, but I have to be honest –– it all happened quite unexpectedly.
The end of the month of May marked a bit of a break for me. I had been attending events every weekend since January, getting to know all of your lovely faces and relishing every moment. But the upcoming month of June was going to be a bit slower –– a few events here and there, albeit at a much slower pace, leaving me time to get back in the kitchen and start creating new recipes.
But as Carole Radziwill writes in her book, What Remains, “But the night was ordinary. It usually is, I think, when your life changes. Most people aren’t doing anything special when the carefully placed pieces of their lives fall apart.”
Dan was trying on his outfit for our friends’ upcoming wedding in Nederland, Colorado. He was going to be a groomsmen and we were debating about whether or not the color of his brown shoes was, “the right color of brown.” My phone rang and “Rich” flashed across the screen. Rich was our friend Bekah’s lovely partner. Bekah had been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for eight years and he had been caring for her during her latest treatment, an allogenic transplant that required the stem cells of another person, in this case her brother, Jake.
My heart caught in my throat and I felt my entire body begin to shake as I prepared to answer the phone. I had just spoken to him the night before and he had updated me on her health –– there was an infection, she was still unconscious and had needed dialysis. The list was long, but we both agreed she was a fighter and we were certainly not giving up hope.
I told myself to get it together –– at the very least I wanted to get it together for him.
He told me that at 5 p.m. on that evening, June 8, 2014, our dear, sweet love Rebekah Furey had passed away. She was 30 years old.
To say our hearts were broken is a vast understatement. So many of my thoughts did and still do revolve around, “It’s so unfair. She was so young. She was so close to winning this battle. Why, why, why?”
When I spoke to Rich, he asked me to promise that I would allow Bekah to live through me. That I would continue to live my life for the both of us, doing the things she can no longer do. And so, we went to Colorado and celebrated our friends. We rejoiced in their happiness, and climbed mountainsides to take in the view for ourselves and for B. Our hearts were heavy and I swear there was a persistent lump in the back of my throat, but we tried to find the beauty in everything. One of Bekah’s favorite quotes came from Martin Luther King Jr. and it said: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” I carried that with me as we journeyed through that week.
But here’s the thing about life: It doesn’t always know when to raise a white flag, offering peace in the midst of a raging battle. And so, when we returned home, I found out my grandmother’s health had greatly worsened. She had been suffering from dementia for several years and had seen a sharp downward spiral in the last year.
I went and said my goodbyes. I told her all of things I would have wanted her to hold in her heart as she passed on. She held my face in her hands and smiled. On June 20, 2014, my grandmother, Shirley H. Bicusky-Shannon passed away. She was 81 years old.
In one of the last emails Bekah wrote to me, she said, “Caroline, you change so many of our lives without even knowing it. I have dipped and dabbled in so many different ways to eat and although I am pretty sure I’m G-Tolerant, I still feel BETTER eating your food, and what you create in the kitchen. Thank you for making this world a better place by being you, and sharing your love of cooking and healthy bodies with all of us. Love you and thank you so much for the book! xoxo, Bekah”
I re-read that email yesterday and, while I know my heart might not ever really be healed, I also know it is time to start fully putting one foot in front of the other. This time has been much needed and it has helped me put into perspective the things that matter most to me, including each one of you.
These last six months since my book has hit the shelves have been some of the most joyous, even in the midst of sadness. Today, I am celebrating that. I sat last night putting together photos from so many of the events where I had a chance to talk to each one of you. Every photo made me smile. I am so very grateful for the people in my life who not only make what I do a reality, but one helluva journey.
So, for now, here are some of those photos. There is music attached to the slideshow, so be sure to adjust your volume! THANK YOU for taking the time to read this post and for being a part of my life. I am forever grateful. ♥ Starting next week, I will be featuring all new recipes, expert interviews and more information about what’s next for me –– so stay tuned!