Grandma's Butter Tarts
Growing through Grief

So what do grandma’s butter tarts have to do with growing through grief? I am writing this during the holiday season, which got me thinking about my Canadian grandmother’s butter tarts. Until I moved to the States I didn’t realized that butter tarts were a Canadian thing. Grandma’s butter tarts were out of this world and a main feature on the desert tray during the holidays.

butter tarts

(This photo along with a great recipe is from The Mini Baker.)

As I thought about the tarts, I realized that I have probably eaten the last of Grandma's butter tarts that I will ever eat. My grandmother now lives in a retirement home and no longer does her own cooking or baking. And I now live an eight-hour flight away from her.

Not only have I probably eaten the last butter tart, but I don’t remember the last one I ate. I ate it as absentmindedly as I have eaten any desert. How differently would I have eaten it if I had known it was going to be the last.

It makes me think of all the “lasts” that I had with John where I was oblivious to the fact that they would be the last. The last kiss. The last walk. The last dinner out. All experienced as if there were thousands more to come. How would they have been different if we had known they would be the last?

The day before he died, we had an argument—just one of those petty, ongoing arguments that pop up every now and then. Had we know it was the last, would it have ended? Would we have laughed at our pettiness? Would we have stopped long enough to realize we were arguing because we care?

So how am I growing through grief? It is teaching me:

  • to pay attention
  • to remember this moment is sacred—and it may be the last
  • to love the gift of life
  • to practice gratitude
  • to celebrate each and every funny thing my son says and does

So now I’m looking at my calendar and my check book. I want to make that flight. I want to take my grandmother over to my aunt’s house and say, “Let’s whip up one more batch of those butter tarts. I want to honor and remember sharing the last of grandma’s butter tarts.

How are you growing through grief?

Share it with us at Bereavement Stories. Or reflect on your own growth through Grief Journaling.

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