This story was so touching that we wish we had the lovely recipe to go with it!
“The weeks leading up to Gramma’s passing were long and stressful. Choosing to stay in California with our kids while much of my family surrounded her bedside, subsisting on frequent texts from cousins and hourly phone calls for updates, any update at all, wasn’t entirely unlike peeling a band-aid off hair by hair. Knowing she was in so much pain, so close to crossing over into the life she’d spoken about for decades with the passion of a deeply spiritual person–it was hard to understand why she was hanging on so long. Two days before Gramma finally let go, I was able to talk to her one last time, the phone held snugly to her ear by my mother. Although I knew she could no longer speak or respond, I wanted to talk to her one last time. But what to say? How do you even begin, when someone has given you so many small things that all add up to something so spectacular that words fail you every time you try and explain it?
So I told her I loved her and I wished I was there with her, and told her I loved her again. And then I told her that my daughter and I had made a big plum cake together the day before, and that it was so good, we wished we could send it to her. I told her that making it had made me think of her, because of the stories she’d always told me about my great grandmother, and how growing up they’d had a big Italian prune plum tree in their backyard, so every day in September there was always a freshly baked upside-down plum cake for dessert, to use up the bounty. I said the cake we’d made had almond paste and lemon instead of lots of cinnamon like the one she had always described, but that I thought she would like this one even better, especially with her coffee. I told her I would always make plum cakes every September and think of her. I said I loved her again. And then I said goodbye.”
We are certain that your Gramma lives on in all of your memories (and delicious looking cakes), Shauna – you pay her a beautiful tribute!