Chocolate Cream Pie
As you know, I have spent the last three weeks in Florida with my Dad after he suffered a “major” stroke. At first it seemed that my Dad would have surgery almost immediately to clear his carotid artery, but the doctors have decided that they would like to give my Dad more time to heal and so his surgery has been postponed until mid-May. And since my Dad’s condition appears to be improving each day, and because I had committed to a few catering events, and because I missed my husband, I decided to come back home for a while.
In the days before I left, I tried to wrap up all the loose ends for my Dad that I could: arranging for the payment of bills, handling of laundry and mail, and most importantly, his health concerns and future care. One thing that I considered tremendously important was to convey to the nurses and aides that I want (more likely need) them to watch over my Dad when I am not there to do so. How could I do that? Well, being me, I thought a pie might do the trick.
My nephew Wayne and I shopped for the ingredients after we had put my Dad to bed one night and two days before I left Florida I brought a chocolate cream pie to the nurses in my Dad’s wing. They smiled and thanked me but I felt that something was wrong. And after thinking about it, the best explanation I have is that those nurses don’t know me at all; they certainly don’t know, or care, about my pie blog and they just might not trust food from a stranger. And though I truly hope this isn’t true, I don’t believe that the nurses ate one bite of that pie.
In retrospect, I understand; why should they trust me? Perhaps I should have just bought another pizza, but the “pie lady” in me wanted to show my gratitude with a pie that I had made. And it was an experience making a pie without my usual accoutrements (cuisinart, pastry bag and tips, etc) but I figured it out and was proud of the final product… and even if the pie wasn’t eaten, it was given in the spirit of gratitude, and that’s all that matters.
On the day that I left, I arrived at the airport and was told that my flight was cancelled. Thus began a 33 hour odyssey to get back to southern Oregon. I’ll spare you the details here, but will mention that I spent time in six different cities before I arrived home (including catching a late night nap in a major west coast city). What I do want to share is that I met three lovely people (angels?) on my journey… each of whom had a parent who had suffered a stroke.
The first was a man that I met in Fort Lauderdale who had just lost his Mom. His name was Steve and we spent an hour or so (our flight was delayed) talking about our kids, our parents, and this crazy system we call “health care.”
The next angel I met, was a lady named Connie. She was my seat mate for a few hours and as we talked (and prayed during the most turbulent parts of the flight) she told me about losing both of her parents. She knew the path I was traveling and was willing to listen to me as I rambled on; she was a great comfort simply by being there.
The last angel I met was a man named Matt. He was born in London but now lives in northern California. We struck up a conversation as we watched our flight time change over and over. His Dad suffered a stroke 18 years ago and has survived; unfortunately, their relationship has not. What was most amazing about Matt was that when we realized that I was not going to make my last connecting flight, he offered to take me home and introduce me to his wife and child so I would not have to spend the night in the airport.
Tonight, I am deeply grateful that my Dad survived his stroke… and also very grateful to those people who I met along my journey home. I wish that I could give each of them a pie… but because I cannot, I hope that my sincerest thanks will do. Each of them has reinforced my faith in humanity… and that is an amazing gift.
It is by suffering that human beings become angels.