November 2022: On grief, gratitude, and festivities
It was hard not to contrast this year's Thanksgiving with last. At last Thanksgiving's dinner table, when going around to share what we were thankful for, I drew a blank. It wasn't that I didn't have anything to be thankful for. Of course I did. But (there's no nice way to say it) about 4 months prior, a best friend of mine died on a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon. So when reflecting on the past year, I just couldn't see the warmth in it. I couldn't find the gratitude I think I expected the second holiday season after Rebecca's* death to be easier. Anyone who knows grief can tell you that it's not. If anything, the more time that passes, the more it feels like this cruel sting. A reminder that, no, you still can't talk to them. This Thanksgiving did feel different though. When asked what I'm grateful for, the first thing that popped into my head was this little community we're building right here. I'm so grateful that you are open to trying these cakes and trust me with your celebrations. I'm grateful for the people this little cake shop has brought into my life, and that it's given me a way to stay connected to Rebe.
It's hard for me to untangle whether or not Lady Flour would even exist if she hadn't died, and that's both painful and beautiful to think about. Rebecca was obsessed with food. She would share her creations on her Instagram account, Uglyum, and I'm so grateful for long-winded, at times absurd, food rants she left us with. I still read through them frequently to hang out with her.
One time in 2018, she posted a picture of her dinner (see spaghetti squash) and upon seeing it, I texted her a photo of the exact same meal that I had just prepared. She posted my dinner photo and captioned it: "Shoutout to my #soulsista and #nametwin @beeshap who coincidentally made the same dinner as me. This is what it's all about! Connection via nourishment. Wellness for the people." Ain't that the truth. How lucky we were to have food to keep us connected at 20 years of friendship. After she died, I couldn't get myself to cook. I'd cry in the condiment aisle at Sprouts because she fucking loved vinegar. I didn't want to cook anything if I couldn't send her a picture and detailed description of how I made it.
I could bake, though. Baking was the only thing that grounded me. It also gave me an excuse to show up at gatherings with new friends, which, having just moved here, I desperately needed. I quickly became the girl who always showed up with dessert, and I didn't hate it. If anything, I loved that part of gathering people. And so did Rebecca. And that's how Lady Flour was born. ...just kidding. There have been a lot more twists and turns than that, but the best things never run in a straight line. I just wanted to tell you a bit about my friend Rebe and why baking for you means so much to me, especially as we approach the holidays, which can be a difficult time for many of people. If you're also missing someone, I'm with you and giving you a hug. Thank you for continuing to be here. Always gratitude, always from the bottom of my heart. *Yes, we had the same first name. We were destined to be either enemies or soulmates, and phew I am glad it was the latter because you did NOT want Rebecca Copeland as an enemy.