i’ve thought a lot about why i want to call this blog The Soft Bloom or Bloom & Fade — i haven’t decided yet. recently in my life i have noticed many themes of gentleness, moderation, pacing, disciplined approaches to all. these are decidedly unsexy but nonetheless very attractive to me at this point in my life.
about 13 1/2 years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. the day i found out she was “having some tests done” was the day my youth was officially over. i was lucky and had had quite a wonderful, relatively carefree existence up until that point. all of that was about to change. i was 26.
she died five days after i turned 27. it was a horrible death. there is no other way to say it. she was the closest person to me and i watched her go, her will be broken, grief and sadness take over a person i thought was invincible, at least in spirit. i know now that death and the trauma surrounding it can temporarily change us all. she was the finest human being i have ever known. i say all of this because, of course, it colors everything that has happened in my life, by my choosing or not, after it.
from then until my son was born (more on that later) i have been in what i refer to as Emergency Mode. a lot happened in my family that made my life very complicated and fraught with anxiety and sadness. my father experienced intense grief at my mother’s death and began a slow and painful decline into dementia and illness. he died this past winter.
again, i say all of this because it is essential to what i have learned as result of all of this. it was not “all part of a plan” – a world view for which i have particular disdain because it trivializes monumental suffering – but i have learned that out of extreme pain, sadness, and grief comes wisdom, gratitude, and strength.
i am a very strong-willed person and for the last 14 or so years i have moved through life with either a joyous hedonistic flair or nihilistic narcissism, both of which served me quite well for a while. as my therapist says, when you’re in Emergency Mode you experience Fight or Flight response, those are the only two settings.
for many years i have wondered if i will ever again have an Ordinary Life, i have longed for it. this past year, despite many scary and sad things that have happened i have managed to to move to a place of Ordinary Life. i get now what other people seem to integrate with ease, or at least more grace than i have. but not all people have lost both their parents to terrifying circumstances before they turn 40.
i’m not here to feel sorry for myself – quite the contrary. i am extremely grateful to be here and living my life. and i see The Soft Bloom of my favorite flower, the Peony, and my stomach wiggles in excitement over its fragility and ephemeral beauty. i feel it, i don’t just see it. i understand that i do not have barrel ahead at 300 mph in order to achieve anything worth mentioning, or to get away from that inevitable decline, but that i can, slowly, carefully, little by little move towards goals, learning and living as i go.
we all Bloom & Fade, we all perish. we all yearn “to be wild and perfect for a moment, before we are nothing, forever” (edited). and this blog is hopefully to be a record of my attempts, failings, joys, questions. but it will probably be mainly about food because well, it’s delicious. and in the act of preparing food, there is love.