Yesterday, I saw this headline on the local daily newspaper:
And for a moment, I couldn’t breathe. Really? Fentanyl is a major killer in Vermont? I didn’t know that! Yes, I am being really, really sarcastic.
Fentanyl killed Sam. Not illegally imported fentanyl from China. A legally prescribed pain patch killed Sam. Yes, he took it from the patient. And it killed him. And it wasn’t the first fentanyl death in Addison County, but the others had been kept out of the press because of the county’s desire to keep its pastoral, safe, healthy image.
I read the article in sadness, reading of how this evil drug is killing Vermonters (and others across the globe), and I was sad. So very sad. Sad for the loss of life, sad for those who mourn, sad that we can’t figure out how to fix the problem.
Yes, this was grief. But not the kind of grief that drives you to your knees, or makes snot run out of your nose. This was grief that was slow and constant and heavy, just pressing down on my shoulders, making every step hard.
Later that day, still feeling the weight of that sadness, and missing Sam so thoroughly, I realized that I needed to do something that would help me remember good memories, and I made no-bake chocolate cookies.
Huh? What’s the connection between grief and the cookies?
When Sam was in high school, he dated a young woman for a long time, and we spent a lot of time with her. And often, she would bring over a plate of no-bake cookies, one of Sam’s favorites. So last night I made a batch, thinking back to evenings filled with macaroni and cheese and cookies, love and laughter. I remembered laughing until my sides hurt, watching TV together, holidays together, and love. Just love.
And when I scraped the pan, and stood by the dark window eating the cooling batter, I gave thanks for love.