10. Missing Greg and 5 Spice Ribs

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Since I moved out of my deep all-consuming grief, perhaps a few weeks before starting this blog, I think I’ve been fairly adept at “coping”. I’ve written about my growing confidence and ability to interact with the world around me again, and now I actually feel pretty normal. Sometimes I surprise myself that I am coping so well, that I feel so fine.

That’s not to say I am not sad. Relatively frequently some small thing will trigger a moment of sadness – it might simply be a second of space in which my mind can think. I feel sad, but I carry on. I don’t break down or wail; I just shake the thought away and carry on. If I’m somewhere private and safe I might sit with the thought a while longer, maybe cry. But still, this has all been in quite a restrained way – like the way a heroine might cry in a Hollywood movie. A few quiet tears. I’m not holding back deliberately, it’s just that this is mostly all that has happened.

But earlier this week, out of nowhere, a violent and utter sadness hit me. It threw me completely off balance and all I could do was curl up and weep. It has been almost 9 months now and I’ve not seen or heard from Greg. I have no way of contacting him, either. It’s true that I feel him with me in a way that I’m not sure I understood before, and I imagine that’s how I am able to carry on at all. But it’s not the same; I miss him.

I want to see him shimmying in the kitchen. I want to tell him about my future plans. I want to hear his views on the state of the world. I want him to surprise me into fits of laughter. I want to make silly, playful cooing noises down the phone to each other. I want to share stories about our family members. I want him to mercilessly take the piss out of me. I want to be annoyed by his shoes blocking the front door. I want to reassure him and look after him. I want to congratulate him on his degree and I want to be excited about him going travelling.

I miss him more than I can possibly express, so I’m not going to try any further.

*

The Cooking – 5 Spiced Spare Ribs

My Dad gave me a wonderful chilli plant recently for my birthday, and I wanted to use some of the chillies in my next cooking adventure. This Lorraine Pascal recipe is from her ‘Home Cooking Made Easy’ book and uses chillies alongside fennel seeds, star anise, lime zest, honey and soy sauce.

Ribs have always been a firm favourite of mine and Greg’s. When we were younger T.G.I. Friday’s was the birthday restaurant of choice, and ribs the chosen meal. More recently Greg made a habit of testing his appetite with ‘all you can eat’ rib nights. He told me the trick was ordering your next batch before you’ve finished your first, to prevent your body realising you were full. Gluttony at its finest. I believe he got to two full racks, which I found quite disgusting, but apparently his friend made it to four!

This is a pretty simple recipe. Grind the spices together in a pestle and mortar to form a dry rub, coat the ribs in it, then stick the ribs in the oven. Separately, make a honey glaze with honey, soy sauce, chilli, etc. and brush this onto the ribs just before they’ve finished cooking. We ate the ribs with salad and potatoes. They were lovely, very sticky and very messy. The flavours were more savoury than sweet, and very Chinese in style. Easy to make, difficult to eat, but one for the weekly menu. Greg would have loved them.

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3 thoughts on “10. Missing Greg and 5 Spice Ribs

  1. I am sorry that you will not be able to do those things with Greg again, but this is a fine way of keeping the memories of him alive. X

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  2. Those everyday things you did together must compound the grief, when you know Greg won’t be there to share them with. Very sad, poignant piece Katherine, but the ribs a fitting tribute, given Greg’s rib eating contest! With much love xx

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  3. Grief is so complex and those feelings of overwhelming sadness and distress can happen when we least expect them to. Greg is still with you Katherine, albeit it in a different way. I have no doubt that you are helping many people with your candid and eloquent blogs – all beautifully written of course. And as for the recipes, what can I say? Those ribs look absolutely mouthwatering and divine! Look forward to seeing you soon. Lots of love xxx

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