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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grocery Store Blues

Yesterday, Chris came over to sit with Bob so I could run some errands. I had to return a pair of shoes that I bought for Bob (which didn't fit) to a store on the other side of town and on my way back I stopped at a grocery store to pick up a few things.

Now this store is a bit out of the way, but I know it well as Bob and I used to shop there frequently pre-stroke. They have, for one thing, a great meat/seafood department with the best fresh shrimp and always good deals on things like poultry. In those days, I loved to cook and Bob loved to eat. It's been awhile since I had been to that store.

Last week, Bob had another swallow video test which, unfortunately, showed no improvement from his last one a year ago. I must admit I wasn't holding my breath, because, truly I have not seen any improvement in his swallow and he still complains that his right cheek and right side of his tongue and throat are "gone" meaning numb, with no feeling or movement. And it seems to me that his feeding tube is no longer a "temporary" thing.

Anyway, I walked into that grocery store, which was decorated for Christmas and the Christmas music was playing and a couple entered behind me, laughing and talking.  I grabbed a cart then stopped to take off my sunglasses by the pharmacy, where Bob used to fill his prescriptions and suddenly, quite suddenly, tears welled up in my eyes as all these memories flooded over me.

So there I was, between the pharmacy and the "special sales" aisle, as I fought back the tears and fumbled to extract my shopping list from my purse.  And such a pathetic shopping list it is, like a single girl's, consisting of cat food and ready-to-eat meals. I remembered when I used to arrive there, with Bob, and a long list of ingredients for the recipes he loved, like my special meatloaf and creamy ranch chicken and shrimp scampi with pasta...

Some days, I tell you, it is just so hard to look back and remember everything we've lost.

But for those of you who love to cook and are lucky to have mouths to feed, I'd like to share one of Bob's old favorites. He won't be enjoying it anytime soon, but perhaps someone else will.

Creamy Ranch Chicken

6 slices of bacon
3 skinless chicken breasts, boned and cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 packet dry ranch dip
1/4 cup milk
egg noodles (or other pasta)
shredded cheese (any kind)

Cook pasta, drain. Meanwhile, fry bacon, remove from pan. In same pan (pour off excessive bacon grease, but leave a small amount --enough to coat bottom of pan), cook chicken until done. Sprinkle with flour and dry ranch dip. Stir in milk. Cook and continue stirring until bubbly. Add bacon--crumbled. Serve over pasta, sprinkle with cheese.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the's now in my recipe file to fix for dinner at a later date.

I know that feeling you are experiencing when you went into the grocery that brought back so many good memories. It is the same for me when going to particular places where my wife and I had special ties. It's tough, and it does hurt in so many ways. I think the biggest thing that always takes place is the "why"? And though there is pain, there are still those good memories to relish. Enjoy every one of those good memories, even as the tears come.

You are in my thoughts and prayers,
Hugs, Dan

barbpolan said...

Evidence of our losses is everywhere, and I suspect it will never go away ... regardless of how much we recover, we will always have this huge and painful period in our lives. Yes, Dan, relishing the precious moments relieves some of my pain, but usually not enough to outweigh the pervasive loss.

Anonymous said...

Your recipe sounds good ! If I had a dollar for all the times I teared up in stores...maybe wouldn't be rich, but I'm getting there.


Joyce said...

When I have those tearful times I try to think about a quote I heard that went something like this-- " don't cry because its over, instead smile because it happened". Helps a little, but there are some days it just hurts a lot, no matter how I deal with the losses.

Jenn said...

Make a special meal for yourself. Celebrate you. Your strength, your abilities. Embrace the memories (without the holiday music...which, even to me, is depressing). Doing this for yourself is staring those memories in the face and saying "well then, okay". Like facing all the overwhelming challenges thusfar.
Thnaks for sharing the recipe : )