22 April 2014

Souvenirs from Cancerland

Tower of PIsa
Memories of Italy
My souvenirs from foreign lands come in many different tastes and sizes. From Havana I have a piece of art, from France I have a sweater, and from Cancerland I have Chocolate Chile Black Bean Soup.

It sits in our freezer in the Tupperware container in which it was delivered, almost two years ago. It is vegan, organic, and comes with directions (orders) to serve with sour cream, green onions, and avocado. It is homemade, and hand delivered by my good friend E.

Normally this is the kind of food that I would have dived into. At the time though, I was going through chemo and my taste buds had gone topsy-turvy. I was passing over savoury treats in favour of blander items like pound cake (a whole one), and potato leek soup.

Memories of Cuba
I am most grateful to be able to say that I received a lot of food at the time. Baked goods were showing up on our doorstep and there were stacks of individual pasta dishes in the freezer. The kindness of friends and family kept us well fed over the winter. If I were to rate them in order of deliciousness it would be an impossible task. Gratitude trumped flavour, so I ate with my heart, and everything was exquisite.

The Chocolate Chile soup fascinated me. Wonderful exotic yet a bit confusing in it’s pairing of chocolate and beans. I reached for it a few times, and then chose to save it for when I was a bit more adventurous. I even ran out to get the green onions and avocado with the intention of making it for dinner, then realized I forgot the sour cream, and decided to wait a little bit longer.

Memories of Cancerland
‘Are we ever going to eat this?’ Asked Wingman recently. (He‘d been eyeing it hopefully for quite some time). I assured him that we were, but secretly I wasn’t in a rush to do so. If we were to eat it, I would no longer be able to look at it in the freezer, and I’d grown to love its presence.

It took me a while to come to this realization – but I didn’t like the thought of not having it there. The chocolate chili black bean soup was the very last of our lovingly delivered meals, and I like to see it looking up at me. I never thought a green plastic lid would mean so much. I thought that my standout memory of treatment would be my baldness, but it turns out I’m not that shallow (who knew?). It turns out my standout memory is the kindness of other’s, and the efforts they made on our behalf. It is the memory of community, and friendship. And it has nothing to do with me being the centre of the universe (Okay, it does).

So in our little house we have many reminders of all the great people and places in our life. The cards,  the cranes, the fridge magnets, the photos. The soup is amongst them but it is meant to be eaten. To be enjoyed, And to nourish. 

So this spring I will get the sour cream, avocado and green onion (and whatever wine goes with beans) and I will crack it open. And will serve it up in style…

… just as soon as I have my next surgery.