But that’s what happened this weekend when we attended the memorial of our dear friend’s partner. Robert waged a valiant battle against liver cancer for a year and a half, but even his optimism and joie de vivre could not keep the inevitable at bay. Robert was a renowned chef with a passion for bringing friends together around a beautifully laid out table and an expertly crafted meal. He also had quite a cookbook collection.
Friends who came to the house after the service were encouraged to take one of Robert’s cookbooks with the hope that every time we prepare one of the recipes, we would think of him and carry on his zeal for sharing good food with good friends. This was one of the most beautiful gestures I’ve ever seen, and got several of us talking. A buddy of almost 20 years (who we rarely see anymore) told of the pocketknife he had gotten from his grandfather when he was a little boy. His grandfather said, “Every time you use this, think of me.” That request didn’t mean much to a 7 year old, but it means something now. To this day, he can’t use the knife without reflecting fondly on that relationship.
It got me thinking – what is the legacy that I will leave? What gift can I pass on that will be cherished by others and spread cheer?
This was the first time we were faced with the loss of a friend’s significant other. It felt very profound, and I hope it’s a long time before we stand next to another friend and mourn his or her life’s love. All the bickering and the pettiness that often accompanies married life – it’s just not worth it. Better to let it go than have it taken from you.
Robert, we will think of you every time we raise a glass of wine and dig into a scrumptious meal. Bon appétit, our friend, and rest in peace.
Blessing – As awful a reason as it may have been, it was wonderful being together again with so many friends from our early days in NYC.