Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Something as simple as jam

About a week ago, Austin asked for jam with his peanut butter sandwich at lunch. A seemingly normal request except this kid hasn't asked for jam with his peanut butter in months.

So, I ran downstairs to my stash (yes, that stash of carefully arranged mason jars that sit on my office shelves full of the goodies I cooked last summer) grabbed a jar of what I thought was my strawberry jam and ran back upstairs.

And opened it.

That's when I realized that it was sealed with wax instead of the way I seal my jars (I can't explain the difference and I'm not going to bother for the purpose of this story). There's only one person that I know of who could've made that jar of jam if it wasn't mine. Ryan's grandmother. Nana.

Nana died less than two weeks before I opened that jar. She had given us an assortment of jam and sauces just this past Christmas yet this was the first jar we opened.

Now, she wasn't my grandmother, but for the last 15 years, Nana treated me as if she was. I was a granddaughter to her just as much as her other grandchildren. And she had many grandchildren -- and a handful of great-grandchildren.

So there was something very special in opening that jar of jam that day. It was raspberry jam by the way -- not even strawberry jam like I thought it was before I actually read the label. It was our last jar of Nana's raspberry jam.

And damn is it good. I enjoy making jam and have done so for two years now, but I could've learned a lot about jam making from her. It's just one of the many things I'll miss about her.

Austin, who was at the funeral and was alternatively fascinated and sad during that time, was a little confused at first as to why we had Nana's (or in his case, great-Nana's) jam. When I told him she gave it to us before she died, his matter-of-fact response (in only the way a 6-year-old can) was "well that was nice of her".

But raspberry jam wasn't her speciality. Peach jam was. Everyone who is anyone in the family (or newer to the family like me) knows that.

We have one jar of Nana's peach jam on the shelf from the presents she gave us last Christmas. I don't know when I'll have the heart to open it. Because when it's gone, she can never make us another jar.

I'll miss you Nana.


Jamie said...

This was a great post! It's hard to let go of those last few items because the memories attached to such a item are priceless. If I were you, I'd always hold onto that jam!

Christine said...

This is a really beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. I too would hold on to the jam!

Kristen said...

what a great tribute.

Krista said...

I had to open my jar of peach jam for Alex this weekend because she had to have Peach Jam. I have 1 jar left of the red currant jelly we made together years ago. I don't think I will ever open it so I understand what you mean.

Ducky said...

The things we will miss and the memories that creep into those vacancies to hopefully fill up the hurt with smiles.... I do that with my sister.

I admire your strength. Had it been me, I likely would've been in a huge heap on the floor ;o)

Beautiful post!

Shell said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Di said...

How great that you had something special like that which lets you hold onto her for a little bit longer!

Nancy Downard said...

To all of you who are holding on to that last jar of mom's/Nana's/great-nana's goodies, please think. Is that what she would want you to do?? She made all of those jams and preserves for us to enjoy, so......please enjoy them. When they are gone, we will still have our memories and that is what is important, not a jar of something. Not even something as special as peach jam. (And Deb...not fair making me cry so early in the morning)

Tiffany said...

That was a very sweet poignant post about your nana. I think she wanted to you to open that jar up, to remember her in a good way, even if by accident.

Carole said...

A lovely post, Deb. And I love Austin's comment: it is so exactly right!