What is The Vegan(ish) Experiment?

Our family (me, my husband D, and our four-year-old Molly) started 2009 with a mostly-vegan, macrobiotic-inspired diet (although I have to admit, the strict macro rules have pretty much gone out the window). I have seen a marked improvement in my chronic migraines, and I'm enjoying proving that we can make amazing, mouth-watering, memorable food without animal products. For a more in-depth intro, click here.

I stopped updating this blog quite awhile back, when life got in the way. I'm still keeping a mostly vegan kitchen, though, and loving it. Have fun browsing my recipes!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Death in the Family

This is D with his mom, Helen. We lost her yesterday, at the age of 62. We have spent an awful lot of time in the hospital the last few weeks, and the Internet has (rightly) taken backseat. I will return to my frequent comments, tweets, Facebook updates, and (semi-)regular blog posts soon, but I'm not sure when.

I met Helen six years ago today, only three weeks after meeting D. We already knew we would end up married, although it was over two years before we did it. I didn't feel like I knew Helen well until the last several months, though. She was slow to open up to me, and I suppose I was in return, until she became sick and we both started to reach out to each other.

I am so grateful that I was able to really know her, to love her as family, before she died.

I am grateful that Molly loved her Nana and got to see her often.

I am grateful that D and I were by her side when she took her last breaths, and that she was so peaceful and free of pain as it happened.

I am grateful for the ICU nurses, who learned the family members' names and greeted us every time we came to visit. It takes a very special type of person to work in an environment where the private grief of families is so prevalent. They were amazing.

I am grateful for last Sunday, Easter, when Helen had a very good day. She was talking, the breathing tube out for a few days. She knew where she was, and she was able to see and talk to four of her grandchildren. Her room was a celebratory place that day, with Irish folk music playing so loudly that it must have entered the rooms of patients halfway down the hall.

I'm grateful for the funny memories that keep popping up, like when D told me about how his mom used to put him on the handlebars of her bike and ride him to Cub Scouts. And yesterday, when we passed a Christmas Tree Shop (a discount store full of trinkets, figurines, and the like - not all holiday-oriented), and I commented that we should have her memorial there, because she loved it so much. D said that they'd see a dip in their sales now, and we both laughed and cried at that.

We are exhausted, and it hasn't completely sunk in yet. We're discovering that, although we know she is gone, believing it is something altogether different. The belief comes in waves, and I think it will gradually build over the months. Some day, her death will be fully real. I think we're all kind of glad it's not yet.


  1. i am so sorry for your loss. keeping you in my thoughts!

  2. Very sorry to hear this, Becki. My thoughts and prayers are with your husband and family.

  3. That's a beautiful tribute, Becki--makes me cry.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. Found you via C. Beth although I have seen you around on other blogs and comments and thing- I always seemed to get your picture mixed up with C. Beth's too- you two really look alike! :) Sending my regards to you. I'll pray for your family. Lovely post.

  5. Oh, Becki, I'm sorry. What a lousy year for Donal especially -- I hope you guys are able to rest and start healing. Is the funeral going to be here in this area? Let me know if there's anything I can do for you. I'll be happy to pitch in.

  6. Becki, I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. That was a beautiful tribute. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  7. What a touching, lovely tribute, Becki. My deepest condolences to D and you. My heart goes out to all. What a tough year for D, you, and the rest of D's family. As soon as I saw the photo, I could tell that was Molly's Nana. What a blessing they were able to spend time together. Miss Etna

  8. Virginia - Thank you! That means a lot from someone who I just last week connected with in the blogosphere.

    Cate - Thank you. I appreciate your virtual friendship.

    Beth - I cried buckets writing it, but it was cathartic. I had to take a step back, though, when Molly said, "Mama, don't cry. Don't cry."

    Dani - Thank you. I feel I know you well from your comments on Beth's blog.

    Rachel - Yes, we just found out that the memorial is going to be on Saturday. She wanted to be cremated, with no viewing, so we are able to wait several days for all of the Ireland relatives to arrive. I will let you know if there's anything you can do. I appreciate your support and friendship so much.

    Janell - Thanks for the comment. I'm so glad we've renewed our friendship over the last year and a half.

    Etna - I know you know, better than most, what D's dad is going through right now. Another person who really understands is my grandma. It's just too early. I will always be thankful that Molly was able to know her. And I hope she will remember her - Sean has faint memories of Cabbie, and he was a month younger when she died than Molly is now.

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  11. And by the way--fantastic pic of D. He looks so handsome and debonair in it. :)

    Sorry for the repeated posts. I posted D's real name, then realized it. So I copied the comment, deleted the original, and posted it again--without changing it. So I deleted it, tried a third time, and remembered to switch to "D." I assure you that I OF COURSE wasn't REALLY being so ditzy; it was just an attempt to make you laugh. ;)

  12. Sorry for your family's loss.

  13. Found you via C. Beth and just wanted to say sorry for your loss.

  14. So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I wish you, your husband, and the whole family much strength in the coming days, weeks and months to get through this hard time. Take care of yourselves.

  15. I'm a friend of Beth's and just wanted to give you and your husband my condolences. Beautiful tribute to your mother-in-law!

  16. sometimes it takes a sense of urgency to generate a relationship.

    she was so young.

    yes, to have something so private take place in front of strangers...it does take an exceptional nurse to know when to step in, and when to quietly step back.

    my heartfelt condolences...

  17. She will never be totally gone as long as sweet memories like those you've related are still in your hearts and minds.

    You have my sincere sympathy.


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