It has been quiet here on the blog for the last few weeks. And yet, comments came in every day on my last post , all of which touched me very much. Exactly a week after this post was published, I was holding my mother’s hand as she took her last breath. She was lying on the sofa in her beautiful living room, “like a queen,” as her family doctor once remarked. The days and weeks before had been very difficult and heartbreaking, but also intense and full of love. Many people who were close to me have died in my life. But I never had the opportunity to prepare to say goodbye and to hold her hand until the end. I am infinitely grateful for this experience. It took away the fear of death that has accompanied me all my life since my father died very early and suddenly. This time I was allowed to be there consciously in every moment, to breathe through the pain, to be grateful and to dedicate myself to my mother with all my heart and all my might. That was very nice and changed me on a deep level. I can’t say exactly how yet, but since her death there has been great calm and strength and love in me. I experience the loss of no longer being able to hold her in my arms, of being able to write messages or send her photos. But at the same time I feel enveloped and comforted by her, quite inexplicable, but good.
Actually, I would write my Valentine’s Day post today. And in the end I do that too, because at the moment of dying there is one thing that matters above all else: love. Shortly before the funeral service for my mother – or celebration of life, as a dear friend put it much more accurately – I read that the Indo-European root of the word “courage” also means “the willingness to feel”. I find this meaning beautiful. Because how often do we try to numb or distract ourselves so as not to feel. But when we are ready to be really present in the moment, no matter how hard, sad or disturbing it may be, we are rewarded with a new intensity that makes life fuller and more colorful. My mother and I – we were ready to feel at the end of our earthly life. We were very open to each other. A few days before her death, my mother said: “I feel like my insides are inside.” Not only was it pleasant to be so open. But for me it was the greatest gift. And this willingness to feel is still one of the most important guard rails in life for me. Because without this willingness, life tastes bland and loses all of its colourfulness. Dealing with death can help us become more courageous and feel more deeply – ultimately, death helps us really live.
In many ancient cultures around the world, it was part of growing up to face death. It was considered certain that one only really lived if one was ready to die at any time. We have lost this view of death. But we can win them back. And then we notice that love is always there, on this side and on the other side of the fine line that separates earth life from what comes afterwards.
My recipe of the week
Bread is the food of all food. It is supper that mother made for us. It’s the loaf around which family and friends gather around the big table. It’s the scent that whispers “childhood”. It is a sign of love when shared. It means friendship when given away. It is what it is – like love. This bread was the last I baked for my mother. We ate it together on the days when she still had an appetite.
It is a bread that is high in protein and contains no yeast. The recipe was given to me by a friend of my mother’s, who in turn had received it from someone. I changed it to my liking and added a lot of spices. I hope you too will love it, change it and pass it on again, just as we humans have always done. Perhaps while eating the bread you will think about the infinite cycle of life. Maybe you will decide to get braver. Maybe to face death a little more openly and embrace life even more lovingly. Because it is good and can only get better – with the willingness to feel.
PS: the bread contains yoghurt and eggs and unfortunately cannot easily be made vegan. If you are looking for a vegan alternative, you will find it here: my gluten-free wholemeal bread , spelled oregano bread or gluten-free flatbreads .
- 400 g dicker Schaf- oder Ziegenjogurt alternativ Quark
- 5 Eier
- 300 g Haferflocken Kleinblatt (bei Bedarf glutenfrei)
- 100 g gemahlene Mandeln
- 4 EL Leinsamen
- 50 g Sonnenblumenkerne plus 1,5 EL für die Oberfläche des Brotes
- 2 Päckchen Weinstein-Backpulver
- 1,5 TL Salz
- 1,5 TL Fenchelsamen
- 1,5 TL Kümmelsamen
- 1 TL Schabziger Klee gemahlen
- 1 TL Koriander gemahlen
- Optional: ein paar Pekan- oder Walnüsse für die Oberfläche
- Den Backofen auf 180 °C Ober- und Unterhitze vorheizen.
- Joghurt und Eier in einer Schüssel glatt verrühren. In einer zweiten Schüssel alle anderen Zutaten vermischen. Die Joghurt-Eiermischung unterrühren.
- Eine Kastenform gründlich ausfetten und den Teig einfüllen (falls die Beschichtung der Kastenform nicht mehr intakt ist, die Form besser mit einem Backpapier auskleiden. Den Teig einfüllen. In der Mitte mit einem Messer einen senkrechten Strich ziehen. Mit Sonnenblumenkernen und optional Nüssen verzieren.
- Das Brot ca. 1 Stunde backen.
- Aus dem Ofen nehmen und abkühlen lassen. Aus der Form lösen.