I’ve never brought home a new baby, but I hear that when you do, friends and family shower you with love and affection and food. It turns out, the same thing happens when you get injured, minus the bit about staying up all night and changing poopy diapers. Suffice to say, I can’t think, yet alone write, about my concussion recovery without thanking the friends and family who showed us tangible love and grace throughout the journey.
The first week after my injury we all assumed I’d be better within days. Yet still I was brought figs, risotto salad, muffins, homemade pizza…as you can see my memory loss hasn’t affected the food-memory part of my brain.
While Varun juggled work, household chores, being my personal attaché, keeping me company in non-brain-stimulating-ways and sometimes sleeping, our friends heaped on the meals.
It’s hard to describe the immense blessing these meals were. While he is gifted and hardworking, food preparation is not Varun’s strong point. For him, the prospect of weeks of meal prep was daunting, to say the least. And for my brain, cooking was out of the question. On Canadian thanksgiving, 6 weeks after my injury, I was home alone resting and endeavoured to cook a simple rice and lentil dish. I set out my ingredients, turned down the lights and over the course of two hours cooked it up. What followed was one of the worst headaches of my entire recovery.
Over the weeks, friends and neighbours continued to show up at our door bearing love in culinary form. Although I couldn’t entertain guests, attend social gatherings or chat on the phone, the meals and cookies were like a nibble of much-missed friendship.
The funny thing about having people cook for you is you don’t get to choose what you eat. Luckily, Varun and I will eat pretty much anything. Except fish. I’m not a huge fan and Varun has met very few fish he liked. Suffice to say when this gourmet-looking salmon ended up on our counter there was some hesitation.
Not one to turn down a meal, I threw it in the oven and dug in. Varun, however, opted for leftovers. As soon as I tasted it, I knew it was a game-changer: the sweet and spicy sauce made the salmon a delight. I offered Varun a bite. He flatly refused. The next day, we sat at the table, me greedily enjoying the salmon, and Varun taking care of some leftovers.
Varun: Ok. Let me try a bite.
Me: Ok. (At this point I was pretty attached and didn’t want to share).
Varun: (Bite of salmon) What?! This is amazing! You’re eating 5-star food and I’m eating leftovers?!
Me: I did try to tell–
I glanced down to observe the better portion of my salmon being swapped with lentils and rice.
So there you have it, Brenda; you have made a fish-lover out of Varun.
For 13 weeks, this care continued. As I started to feel better, I was excited and eager to begin cooking again. But buddies, 13 weeks of meals. We are surrounded by some pretty loving and fantastic people.
Each meal brought to our door gave Varun freedom to care for me, keep the household running and continue his job hunt. Every bowl of soup or package of goodies gave me the space to rest, the encouragement to choose joy, and the grace of knowing I’m deeply loved.
I’d like to say a heartfelt Thank You to all of our friends and family who brought meals, sent packages and cards; not to mention everyone who faithfully prayed for my recovery, wrote kind emails and showed love in many other practical ways. Y’all blessed me more than you know!
That was great practice, everyone. Now I know that when we do finally bring Baby Rana home from India we’ll be eating sticky buns and ginger-glazed salmon for weeks. Win!