The Unrecipe Post


This started out as a post on holiday recipes.  Yea, holiday food!  Only, it isn’t working itself out to be that.  I think it’s about grief.  The kind of grief that haunts your life, just like you wish those who have departed would haunt you.  The kind of grief that steals your breath and pops up late at night while your children dream, so you can cry. The kind of grief that hates holiday recipes. 

As much as it hates recipes, and any effort to make them, I still wanted to do something good, make something good.  I must admit, I was having a horrible couple of days before I made this recipe called “Elf Munch.”  (Seriously, it’s a horrible name for a recipe.  I’m not an ‘Elf on the Shelf’ kind of mom.)  Things were so bad that I decided to fix my problems with Rice Chex doused in candy.  So bad, that when I committed to making the recipe, Walmart had none of the ingredients for my Elf Crack, and then, I almost cracked. 

Murmuring, in the aisle, to my two and five-year-old about how Walmart used to have ALL the ingredients.  So bad that I let the car songs wash over me, as I cried over all of my friends who have died in the last couple of years… I NEEDED the Elf Munch/Crack. The very next day, I stopped into HEB, and they had every ingredient –all three of them!  So, I’ll include/link the recipe When I make this recipe, I change the white chips to butterscotch and nix the pretzels and M&Ms, but you make your own choices.  I won’t judge, or even know.  Totally your decision. 

Back to a non-recipe blog post:

Do you know that quote by Plato, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a harder battle?”  I feel like that is something we all just forget about daily. Grief is like that; it’s sneaky. 

There should be a pamphlet to all those people who lose their best friends, and it should say, “You don’t have this.”  Period, End of story, Nice Try. 

The first days after losing a best friend are numbing.  I’ve lost two best friends in two years.  I’m not the type of person who has a large group of people who I trust.  I have a small group, and it is shrinking.  So, the first death was devastating.  I was pregnant with my second daughter and high-risk.  The memorial was many, many miles away and not in the cards for me.  I couldn’t go.  Heck, I was pregnant, I couldn’t even drink or self-destruct just a little.  I had another daughter to look after and to be honest with about why Mama was sad. 

To this day, it still feels as if my heart is being pulled from my chest when I think of my friend. 

But, Fate wasn’t done with me.  Another friend, who considered me a sister, died a couple months ago.  I found out through Facebook.  At least this time, I did not find out through a post on his wall.  (In case you don’t know, Facebook is death-alert central.  It’s where you learn of deaths and where others claim to have intimate knowledge of the deceased, even though they don’t.  It’s a weird version of fame for some people. Really weird.)  Instead, a mutual friend sent me a message [through Messenger] to call him, after he tried to call me.  We had never met, but were both admins on a page my friend had through Facebook.  When I saw the message, I knew.

After finding out [about a death,] you swim through the first days in a daze, crying in the car, always the car.  Kids can’t see much from the backseat, and songs are always playing.  You search the radio dial for messages from the departed.

At night, you pray will meet them in your dreams.  In the daytime, you wear your shirt on backwards to pick your daughter up from school and run errands.  You are mean to your husband in front of others, because maybe he just doesn’t understand or know how to deal with something as heavy as what you are going through.  You cloister yourself in the house and simultaneously force yourself to go out.  And, finally, you know that you are not allowed to self-destruct, because you have children.

You hate the phone, you hate Facebook. The Unrecipe Post- Bird of Paradise Painting- Corpus Christi Moms Blog

So, I guess what I want to say is that if you lose your best friend, next best friend, former student or favorite pet; it is supposed to be this hard. 

It is supposed to hurt. 

People won’t understand.  It isn’t their journey; it’s yours. 

Feel it when you can. Cry at inappropriate times to people you hardly know. (I did this in a group at a painting and wine party. There are people who probably still wonder why I was so upset over my ‘Birds of Paradise’ painting.)  

Understand that you will be forgetful, won’t be able to think clearly, and will probably wear your clothes all kinds of wrong to all kinds of places.

Invest in sunglasses and Visine and, above all, give yourself a break.  Your friend would give you a break.

Embrace the fact that the new song of your life may be Magnapop’s ‘Open the Door.’  Someday that door will open for you, but today, love your kids, try to enjoy every moment and cry often, preferable in a large group of strangers.  Might as well, give your dead friends a laugh at your expense.

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Bethany is a stay-at- home mother of two high-energy daughters, ages 5 and 2. Her husband is a busy ER resident. In addition to the two kids, their family consists of two demanding dogs, two demanding cats, and some laid-back fish. Bethany develops curriculum online during nap time or when the kids (finally) fall asleep for the night. She has a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Children’s Literature. She loves yoga and used to be able to do yoga every day. Now, she tries in vain to get through a couple sun salutations, before the girls laugh and climb all over her.  Bethany has been a vegetarian (sometimes vegan) since 1989, and her kids are being raised vegetarian, too. She has a healthy addiction to lilla rose hair clips and works as a stylist.


  1. This touched my heart today….I’m so sorry you suffered losses of best friends. While I haven’t lost a best friend, I’ve had some losses that stole a little piece of my heart.
    10/23/13 – my SIL
    10/29/13 – my SIL
    1/19/14 – a dear church friend
    1/19/15 – my SIL
    8/4/15 – my MIL
    11/9/16 – a dear church friend
    12/7/16 – my grandfather

    It isn’t easy. Somehow we manage to move forward. For me, it’s my faith that has carried me through. Without it I would surely have been lost. I will be praying for you that in the days ahead it gets a little bit easier…

    • Pam, I’m so sorry you’ve lost so many in such a short time. I am grateful for you and your kind words. And, thank you for connecting with me and sharing your journey. You are in my thoughts and prayers this holiday season!

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. Yes people love to be the first to share on facebook. It’s disturbing. My brother died in the middle of the night (unexpectedly) and another family member posted it on Facebook immediately… before I even knew. Thankfully my mom got to me in person to tell me first.

  3. I appreciate this post and feel I’ve been given a bit of a pass that it’s ok to grieve. As much as I know this is normal, the world does go on and I feel people have lost the art of carrying one another’s burdens, being ok with grief and not expecting it to be closed up and neat. It’s not, it’s messy and sad and beautiful all in its own right. I lost one of my best friends a month ago after a year long battle with cancer and walking her through her first pregnancy in the midst of her treatment. I feel lost without her, but I will grieve because it’s ok and good for me to grieve. May we all feel our loved ones this holiday season, in the magic of the lights, the music and the innocent joy from children around us.

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