If you are someone who knows us personally, or you’ve read Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude, you know something about why these two plates matter to me.
The plate on the left (with grapes) is one of our “date night” plates. As many of you know, one of our rituals as a couple has been a weekly date night at home. We have done it every week since we moved in together in 1992 with one exception — we did not have a date night the week Sam died. Back in the 1990s, it often was a simple and quick meal such as nachos. Over the years, the meals have improved, but the sentiment remains the same. Date night started as a time each week where we sat down together at the table, shared a meal, and remembered all the things about each other that caused us to fall in love in the first place. When it started, we had young children in the house, and didn’t have the money to go out, or the money to pay a babysitter, so the ritual of the kids having a special dinner (frozen pizza!) and a movie while we had our dinner was born.
A couple years into the ritual, I went into the local TJMaxx, and saw the grape plates. They only had two dinner plates and three salad plates, so I bought them all, and they became our date dinner plates. Our children and their friends and our parents have all come to recognize that when those plates come out, we are going to have our time together as a couple. Time to talk, to dream, to mourn, to plan, to laugh, to cry, to look both to the past and the future, and time to bask in our love.
The other plate, the white one, is equally important in a different way. Our very first date was dinner at Boves in Burlington. Boves became our family restaurant. We celebrated report cards, championships, getting into college and so many other things there. The first place we went out to dinner after Sam’s death, almost three months after he passed, was to Boves. We laughed and cried that night as we ate spaghetti, remembering our first date, and all the times we’d been there with our children. We toasted Sam’s love of the wallpaper there.
When it was announced that Boves was closing, I cried. It was as if another part of our lives with Sam was leaving us. So I reached out to the owner, as asked for some plates, which now proudly live in our house. We only use them a couple times a year, but each time they come out, they exude love and memories.
These plates represent love, memories, hope and rituals. One of the things I have learned on our journey is that rituals that speak to your love of others helps keep you grounded and connected to others, and I am so glad we have the ones we do.