mardi, août 30, 2011

vendredi, août 19, 2011

miscarriage and the luxury of grief

I heard this story on the way home yesterday and it touched me deeply.

It wasn't until I had a miscarriage that I found out that I was joining a club that so many of my girlfriends (and their partners) were already members of, but remained silent about. Their support, along with Leo's, were just what I needed to help me cope during one of the saddest times in my life.
After Miscarriage, Missing The Luxury Of Grieving
by Ken Harbaugh
All Things Considered
August 19, 2011

Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.

It has been three months since the miscarriage. We weren't far along, still in the first trimester, so only our closest friends knew we were expecting.

Annmarie, my wife, is fine. At least, her body is fine. There is something broken in both of us, though.

My wife and I have every reason to be grateful. The miscarriage happened early on. Annmarie was never in danger. We have two beautiful girls already. If we want, we can still have more. But the whole experience left us wondering how one deals with a tragedy that happens quietly at home.

A few weeks before we lost the baby, my wife's grandfather died. His funeral, like any other, was solemn. But also beautiful. Everyone came — all 10 kids, from across the country. Distant relatives, co-workers, people from church stopped by to pay their respects. They mourned alongside the family. We buried Grandpa Kel that afternoon, and woke the next morning with the memory of a beautiful send-off.

There is a reason that such ceremonies exist. Who knows if it meant anything to Grandpa, lying in his coffin, but it meant a lot to everyone else. I gave him my gold Navy wings, pinned to an American flag laid on his chest. He was the only other Navy pilot in the family, and I felt the need to solemnize that connection. Others said goodbye in their own way. Some talked to him, some knelt for a while by his side. Most important, we all said farewell together.

A miscarriage is tragic enough by itself. What makes it worse is the fact that no social custom has evolved to help us through the loss. There is no ceremony, no coming together, no ritualized support. Annmarie and I suffered alone, in silence. Most of our friends had no idea we were grieving. It took me two weeks to tell my own mom.

And it's not as if life stopped, or even slowed down to allow us a moment to reflect. We had jobs to get to, kids to take care of. Real sadness seemed an indulgence we could not afford.

In the months since, I have learned something about this kind of grief. It is not a luxury, but an essential part of healing. So this weekend, after the kids are in bed, Annmarie and I will do something that may seem a little crazy. We will head into the garden with a bulb we've been saving. We will bury it, say a few words, and hold each other. We will finally have our ceremony.

I suspect that watching the first green shoot push up through the earth will hurt. Every time we see it, we will be reminded of what happened to us. But that's alright. Grief cannot be buried forever. With enough time, and a little sunlight, it might just transform itself into something that aches a little less.

samedi, août 13, 2011


"This is your life. Do what you love and do it often.
Start doing things you love.
Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion." -- The Holstee Manifesto

pollo al ajillo

It doesn't get much better than this traditional tapas dish. Leo and I have a new favorite recipe for pollo al ajillo. We used skinless, boneless chicken thighs and loved this dish. Make sure you've got some good bread on hand to sop up the juices -- they are delicious.
Spanish Garlic Chicken
by Joyce Goldstein
Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain

Yield: Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, or 12 chicken wings, tips removed
Sweet paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed, plus 2 cloves, minced
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup fino or manzanilla sherry
1/2 cup chicken broth
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Rub the chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour or preferably in the refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not colored, 2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning as needed, until golden on both sides, 5 to 8 minutes. You want them nicely colored on the outside but not cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, and then arrange the pieces in a cazuela or baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.

Remove the crushed garlic from the oil and discard. Return the pan to low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook briefly. Add the thyme, bay leaves, sherry, and broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chicken.

Bake the chicken until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and discard the bay leaves and thyme. If the pan juices are thin, transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat until reduced, and then return to the cazuela. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve at once.


You also can complete the cooking on the stove top. Sauté the minced garlic as directed, return the chicken to the pan, add the sherry and broth, and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the chicken is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.