Early morning phone calls always make me jump. Why would someone be calling my phone at 6am? The light vibrating of the phone on my desk woke me from a room away. I’m in a daze trying to figure out what’s going on. The phone stops and then the vibrating immediately starts again. Chris’s phone is next to start vibrating on the kitchen table. I’m fully awake, as if I just slammed 3 shots of espresso and am now running to the phone. A few missed text messages and a voicemail were flashing on the screen. I called my mom back and heard her choked up voice telling me grandma only has a little time left. “What? Seriously? An hour or two?” Unfortunately, yes. Tears streamed down my face as I tried to actually absorb what my mom was saying.
My grandma was 88 years old and in a nursing home for the past 2 1/2 years with [some form of] dementia. It started slowly years ago but she held her own for quite some time. While a nursing home was the best option for her care, she was always pretty dang healthy. Sure, she was old but she wasn’t sick. And how could it happen that fast? I mean, like overnight fast! My uncle was just with her the night before and said she was her adorable, sweet self and seemed totally fine.
It was a blur for my mom and uncle as well because at first her only symptom was that she was non-responsive. They said her vitals were that of a 20 year old. While they were scared they had no idea just a few hours later the doctor would tell them there was nothing that could be done. For some reason her body decided it was time and was quickly shutting down.
And that is the point that the phone buzzed on my desk. I’m grateful my mom called me before she passed and was able to hold the phone up to my grandma’s ear for me to say a few final words. I told her I loved her. I told her she was amazing. I thanked her…for everything. I told her she was the best.
And then about an hour later my mom called again. The entire immediate family was there when it happened [minus myself]. She went peacefully and without pain. And she went nearly a year to the day from when her husband, my grandpa passed.
Gosh, am I going to miss that sweet, smiling face. But there are so many memories to fill my heart with happiness during this hard time.
If there were three things my grandma wanted in life it was for her family to be happy, healthy, and well-fed. More than anything she loved getting together to eat as a family. While I’m not sure what she’d think of a giant kale salad—she was more of an iceburg lettuce gal—she would be thrilled to know how much I also enjoy sharing food with friends and family.
We love you, gram, and miss you dearly…already.
Thai Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing gluten-free, vegan // yields ~2 servings
for the dressing:
- 2 1/2 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hemp oil, or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari, or soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
- Place the peanut butter, vinegar, oil, maple syrup, and tamari in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Whisk in the orange zest, ginger, and garlic and then let sit for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to come together.
- Taste and adjust if needed. Add more peanut butter for a thicker dressing and vinegar [or a splash of water] to thin out. Store dressing for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the fridge.
for the salad:
- 1 head lacinato/dinosaur kale, stemmed + chopped
- 1 cup shelled edamame beans
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped peanuts
- bean sprouts
- Place the kale in a large bowl and massage desired amount of dressing into the kale until evenly distributed.
- Add the beans, pepper, and carrot and toss to coat.
- Plate salads and top with peanuts and bean sprouts.