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My husband always appreciated my cooking, but he did not like cooked carrots. His taste differentiated things much more specifically and subtlety than mine. Carrots were sweet, so they did not belong in stew. Crab did not belong in eggs but was okay in a crab melt sandwich. Pineapple did belong in coleslaw. He liked to use Five Spice in a stir-fry. He preferred jasmine rice to basmati.

In some cases these specifics were not a problem, but it did make for interesting meals as his tastes and those of the rest of the family did not necessarily match up — just as all four of us did not always agree on things. That’s okay. Family is about sharing our ideas, likes and dislikes, and adjusting to each other for household harmony. Our household did generally have peace and harmony in all areas — not just in food! Not always but generally. When he made a stir-fry and used Five Spice I ate it. Sometimes when I made stew I left out the carrots, but sometimes I put them in anyway — but only a few. When there was disagreement and lack of harmony we, all four of us, worked it out.

After almost 45 years of marriage, Glen died. He had been diagnosed with liver cancer 11 months earlier. I miss him. My life has changed a lot. Some changes are huge. At 68, I’m living alone for the first time. I recently moved to a studio apartment were it is just me. Some are less obvious — the music playing is my choice. I miss him. I don’t buy multiple kinds of rice as it does not make much difference to me. I miss him. I don’t think twice about leaving the house, as how long I’m gone is no longer a concern. I look for ways to be busy and among others, as I miss him and am lonely.

On Mother’s Day Jenn, the younger of our two children, and I watched “The Fifth Element.” This was a favorite movie of Glen’s, as well as a family favorite. Jenn and I shared pork stew with yummy bread and salad at my new apartment before the movie. Life is still good! And there is a future out there; I’m just not sure what it looks like. One thing is for sure though — Jenn and I both like them, so there were carrots in the stew.

Rebecca DeShaw

Although retired, Rebecca continues to be an active web and instructional materials designer and data systems specialist.

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