Turkey Stuffing Makes Me Cry by Valerie J. Patterson

Who knew?  I mean it’s not something that’s ever happened before.  I had no idea that stuffing and I were so close it could make me cry.  But it did.  In a very big way.  And I was caught unaware right there in the aisle of the grocery store.  Unaware and unprepared for the force of emotions that washed over me and left me sobbing and left my husband bewildered.

It was a very innocent trip to the store to stock up for Thanksgiving dinner.  Had everything in the cart and turned down the aisle with the bread crumbs and the premixed stuffing selections and the seasonings.  I looked up at the canister of bread crumbs and instantly, tears began to stream down my face as I choked back sobs.  Steve came beside me, placed a hand on my back and rubbed gentle little circles between my shoulder blades.

“What’s wrong?”

“S-s-stuffing…”

“I don’t understand.  What happened?”

“I saw the bread crumbs and it reminded me of my mom.”

“Okay…”

My mom passed away October 20th, and I’m in that phase of mourning where just seeing something or hearing something brings a flood of tears.  Mornings are the worst for me.  I’ll be getting ready for work, see the time on the clock and break down.  But stuffing caught me off guard.

From the time I was old enough to wield a knife, I sat in the kitchen with my mom and dad and–while they did other things–I chopped onion and celery into microscopic slivers for my mom’s homemade turkey stuffing.  Mom liked the flavor of both in her stuffing but hated biting into chunks of either one.  After I got married and moved away, my dad took over my dicing duties unless by some stroke of luck we arrived early enough for me to do the honor.

It’s been many years since I last chopped any onion or celery in my mom’s kitchen, which is why I was taken aback when, right there in the aisle, I was overtaken with emotion.  I guess I just never expected a canister of bread crumbs to affect me in quite a personal way.

Mom was an excellent cook.  She was the best friend I never expected, but was blessed to have.  She was strength and grace and beauty and charm.  She was warm and funny and loving and tough.  She was heart and soul and faith and light.  She was generous and giving and sympathetic and compassionate.  She and my dad were active participants in my life and I have equal parts of both of them inside of me–of the person I am.  And because of all of that, stuffing can make me cry!

I miss my mom.  I will miss her for the rest of my life, but we will meet again, and what a reunion that will be!

2016 has been a year of hard knocks and loss, but it has also been a year of great blessing, and I have much to be thankful for.  And I am indeed thankful.

Until next time, may you always be able to see the blessings in your life and may the memories you share add flavor to your days!

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8 responses to “Turkey Stuffing Makes Me Cry by Valerie J. Patterson

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s been 12 years since I lost my mother and I still miss her. And, I’m thankful that I do. Thank you for sharing, may memories past, and the new ones you make bring you loving peace this Thanksgiving.

  2. I lost my mom the next week. I know how you feel. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner was one of the few activities I shared with my mother. Making my grandmother’s stuffing was a major part of that meal. I just can’t deal with it this year. Think I might just skip it this year.

  3. Such an evocative story. Your line about the tiny celery dice made me think of Grandma; she always used every scrap of food and I recall seeing those little hands carefully slicing the tiniest stalks of celery to go into tuna salad for lunch. And you’re right, you will miss your mother forever; my mother has been gone since 2008 and I still occasionally say to myself, “Oh, I must tell Mum–oh…..”

  4. What a beautiful memory to share. Heartbreaking but thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. Oh, Valerie, I’m so sorry to hear this. It never matters the age. Mothers are special. And it sounds like yours was pretty darn amazing. You know what? It’s okay that stuffing makes you cry. It’s a sign of how special your relationship really was. I am sending you blessings from afar…and shedding a tear or two with you.

  6. I’m sorry to hear your sad news. It is the little things that trigger the memories and tears. Good luck and thinking of you.

  7. I am so sorry to hear your sad news. It hurts, no matter how old and in what circumstance. And it is the little things that trigger the biggest emotional memories. I still shed tears at the stupidest of things that remind me of my father whom we lost nearly 20 years ago. So shed the tears no matter where, they are needed, they are good for you. Sending you a big hug across the Pond along with my warmest wishes. And thank you for sharing such lovely memories. 🙂

  8. Hugs on the loss of your mother. That has to be hard and it sounds like you had a wonderful relationship with her. So sorry for your deep loss. Jillian

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