Connecting Thru Life’s Storms

This past week has been a reminder that no matter where you live we are all the same. Storms come and go. We might think we are different. Different cultures, different religions or different cuisine. But we all live our lives in our own little world. And sometimes it takes stepping outside of it, traveling to the other side of the world, to make us realize that we truly are the same.

This past week I have been baking. A Lot. Some of my experiments have gone well. Other? Meh. But I also baked a few old standbys. Things I have been baking for a very long time. And I learned to bake from my Mom. She always had cookies or cakes on hand. As a kid, I never remember a time when there wasn’t a full double layered frosted cake on top of the dinner plates inside the cupboard. It was such a thing at our house that it was weird going to other kid’s houses and discovering that they didn’t have cake at the ready. Or a freezer full of ice cream. Who were these heathens?

This week I had a load of bananas that had turned. I let them go a couple more days until they were nice and black. Then, it was time for banana bread. Lots of banana bread. Seven loaves later, I surveyed my bounty and realized that Jeff would never eat all this banana bread before it went bad. And I am allergic to bananas. I popped a few loaves in the freezer for later, sliced a couple of warm pieces for Jeff with some butter, then wrapped up a couple of loaves to take to the neighbors.

We have so many lovely neighbors. They have helped us numerous times. We are the recipients of vegetables from May through October. And some of them grow and sell their own herbs and the like. They bring me tea and allowed us to wash our clothes and take showers at their homes when our well was a bust in July. I hadn’t been able to return the favor while I had the food truck going. So, I slipped on my rubber boots and made my way to their houses with my basket of banana bread.

The first loaves were delivered when I stopped off at the last house. The neighbor was out in her garden when I called her name and waved. She turned and I realized she was crying. She opened her gate for me and wiped her eyes. My heart sank. I couldn’t imagine what was wrong and my Spanish is not good under pressure. But I asked her what was going on. When she told me we both stood there and cried. Her son was in the hospital after attempting suicide. A parent’s worst nightmare. The details were heartbreaking. He couldn’t be released as he had tried more than once. The heartbreak I saw in her face was gut wrenching. I know that young man. I met he and his girlfriend at a gathering they gave last Spring.

We have experienced suicide in our family. My nephew in October of 2014. It’s such an unthinkable thing. You are almost in a fog when you get that phone call. It’s so unbelievable. I don’t know how my brother and my sister-in-law were able to make it through those months. That year. The anniversary. A hole that never heals.

I told my neighbor I understood how she felt – although it is her son, not mine. Then, we stood in her driveway hugging as she cried for five straight minutes. It doesn’t matter that my Spanish or Gallego language skills aren’t great. We understood each other. Mothers always do. That’s all that matters. Eventually, she was able to gather herself. I told her that Jeff and I would do anything for her. Drive her to Santiago to the hospital. Anything. She just needed to tell us. Then I made my way home and told Jeff. He was stunned, too. But pain is pain. He understands that.

The Gathering Storm

My neighbor’s heartbreak was not the only reminder this week that we are connected across continents. An ocean. Whether we know it or not. Hurricane Nicole struck Florida last week. And then, yesterday it hit Galicia.

When we lived in the US, we would watch hurricanes strike the east coast of the US every year. Sure, they were terrible and they are getting worse as weather around the globe becomes more extreme. But hurricanes don’t hit the west coast of the US. We get a big storm there and there. But on the west coast of America we didn’t really worry about hurricanes, except as spectacle on the news. Yet today, we live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricanes affect us now all the time in Galicia.

Hurricanes form in the middle latitudes of the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa. Some run the shoot towards the Caribbean and Mexico. Others towards Florida and then up the east coast of the US. A danger to property and people. But I never paid attention to where they went when they were out of the headlines in the US. But that massive energy has to go somewhere. And often, even if it never impacts the mainland of the US, it heads to Greenland on the jetstream, which makes a sharp left turn and starts heading south, barrelling down the coastline of Europe. Pummeling Ireland and making its way to the northwest coast of Spain. Galicia.

On Saturday, we made a run up to A Coruña for some things we needed. The weather was clear and sunny, and we knew Hurricane Nicole was coming. The stores would be closed on Sunday, anyway. It was packed, as was the enormous shopping mall and IKEA. No masks in sight and everyone coughing. We got what we came fore and fled south to home.

The storm arrived late Sunday, as predicted. It is parked over us. The newspaper usually does a good job of communicating these big weather events. We were out early around the farm before it hit, getting some things done. Put away or tied down. The high winds hit first. Then the rain. You could hear it howling and the trees still have leaves so they were whipping around. We lost power a couple of times. In the midst we of this, I baked some American Chocolate Chip Cookies as best I could. My secret recipe. In a break in the weather I took some down the lane to the neighbor who is hurting. I wanted her to know we are thinking of them. She met me at the door. She is very sick with the flu. I imagine the stress hasn’t helped. The flu is ravaging Galicia right now. GP’s are overwhelmed with it. Health centers are bowing under the weight. We’ve swapped Covid for the flu.

I handed her the cookies and told her we are thinking of them. Then, came home in the blast of wind. Waking up today, I have the flu and Jeff, who is not sounding too good himself, is taking care of me. The winds outside the window are wild. Roaring. Raining buckets. Our palm trees are bending but not broken. Snow is forecasted for higher elevations. Just one more reminder that no matter where they originate, we are all just trying to get through the storms – in life. Which means, like a marriage, we need each other for comfort when things get rough. In sickness and in health. More than ever.

5 thoughts on “Connecting Thru Life’s Storms

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s