Well, I never did find the green chili powder, so my daughter and I gave the recipe a whirl without substitutions. I am glad we did. The aroma of roasted pork fused with oregano and garlic with hints of green chilies wafted throughout the kitchen. It was an amazing warm stew-type dish. A bowl of the hearty meat mixture went well with soft corn tortillas and queso fresco cheese.
When I had completed the cooking, the eating and was driving home with my share of the bounty; I felt disappointed. I had envisioned the experience as one of fun and laughter, like many family cooking adventures. I went into this project with the full knowledge that I was dancing around the grief process and could get burned. Anyone in the grief process knows what I mean. You crack your heart open and start stirring the pot of feelings, memories, etc and you are going to get singed by the rawness.
As the emotional event percolated from my soul through my mind, I realized I was experiencing a letdown of sorts. I couldn’t reinvent a day and experience my sister. Yes, I could take her favorite recipe and think about it and talk about her, but in the end she wasn’t here to cook with. In my memoir, I call it “yearning”. We do things to connect with the person who is no longer here. For the first time since her death, I was more disappointing then soothing. In some ways, it made me feel sadder and even more aware of the emptiness that she once occupied.
The craziness of grief is I will probably keep doing things to feel close to her. Reminisce with my mom; talk with her kids, and other activities that bring her back into my life. No matter how disappointing or fleeting it may be.