"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." - Helen Keller
It's been a while since I've last posted. And I've missed connecting with all of you on Pass Me Some Tasty or through one of PMST's social media pages. But sometimes life requires us to take a pause from one part of life so we can be more fully available for another. And when it's a friend, who happens to also be my soul sister in the midst of life's hardest times, things like the blog are put on hold.
Everyone needs a best friend.
If you have one consider yourself most blessed. If you don't have one, try to find one. Do whatever it takes to work through the feelings of awkwardness, vulnerability, and insecurity that arise when reaching out and initiating with others until you find that person. That friend who without even verbalizing the words let's you know that they are for you and standing with you in life's valleys and singing for joy alongside you during life's mountaintop moments (even if your singing is out of tune).
Best friends are beautiful gifts to be treasured. And I was gifted with a most beautiful friend named Shasta. My dear, sweet, young friend was diagnosed with breast cancer almost fours ago and after a long, brave, and fierce fight with that evil disease, her body said no more and two weeks ago cancer stole her away.
And I'm grieving, and processing (which writing this post is part of), and deeply missing my friend. And my kids are missing her like crazy too. Yesterday, my younger kidlet began coloring a picture and paused to stare at it and said, "Mommy, I wish I could give this picture to Ms. Shasta. She would like it." Yes, yes she would sweetie.
Twelve years ago, Shasta and I were just two single ladies looking to travel, desiring to play our part in making the world a better and more loving place...and of course, looking for good food along the way.
Our soul sisterhood began in Italy as roommates. I regularly took the opportunity to embarrass her (or maybe I just embarrassed myself) by singing bad 80s songs from our Italian 4th floor back patio terrace overlooking a busy promenade and she regularly cooked really good food for me and brought a depth of conversation to the table regarding life, faith, politics, and personal reflections all with an air of humility and grace.
And we would laugh. Laugh about the Italian hairdresser who decided through my broken Italian that I was asking him to give me a mullet. Shasta got out her scissors and came to my aid laughing...and offering a better haircut.
And when Shasta broke her ankle in a freak basketball accident and was told by the doctor at a hospital with a post-war era ambience that she needed to have a syringe jabbed into her hip everyday for six weeks to avoid blood clots, she laughed and said, "Hey Shannon, guess what I need help with!?" So everyday for 6 weeks I jabbed a needle in my friend, and every day I came close to passing out. And when my face turned pale followed by deep breathing exercises and nausea her expressions of gratitude were always filled with some laughter at my debilitated state.
We laughed at movies. We laughed at each other and with each other. We laughed at my wedding as she stood by my side as one of my bridesmaids. We laughed together when both of my daughters were born. And she laughed with my kids as she watched them grow and listened to them tell only the type of jokes, stories, and revelations that young kids have to offer. Shasta loved to laugh. And I loved to laugh with her.
And we cooked. Together. A lot. It might have been our mutual love for food and cooking that made us both realize that we were meant to be best friends. Shasta was a phenomenal cook and we'd regularly talk about what produce was coming into season, tasty dishes that we needed to make, or new cooking discoveries. We'd hop on our mutual soapbox when discussing processed foods and how the government could permit certain ingredients with known carcinogenic characteristics to be allowed in what we eat. We talked about new restaurants we discovered. I'd tell her about the best chai latte I found while she'd tell me about a new coffee bar she stumbled across and a new gelato flavor she couldn't get enough of. We enjoyed savoring good food but mostly we just enjoyed sharing the many little moments and blessings of life together.
I remember the first time when someone asked my husband about the connection between Shasta and I and he responded by saying that she was family. Shasta and I weren't actually related, but yet in some sorta sisterly way it was kind of like we were. We were practically a part of each other and when that happens you become grafted into the family. We were often asked by strangers when out and about in public if we were sisters, which always made us smile and laugh followed by a reply of "no, we're just really close friends." But we were really unbiological sisters and I was the lil' sis admiring the depth of wisdom, gratitude, kindness, and soul of her big sis.
There is so much to say about my bestie. It's hard to know when to allow the keys to stop typing. As soon as one memory floods the mind, another quickly follows mixing together in a flood of tears, laughter while remembering the fun times, and an abundance of thankfulness for the years I was given to call such a special person my best friend. I am partly the person I am today because of Shasta and because of all the joy, love, wisdom, laughter, and time she invested and poured into me.
And Pass Me Some Tasty is partly what it is because of Shasta's voice of encouragement when the blog was nothing more than an idea. Her love for good food, her influence in how I've come to cook and view tasty food, and our story as friends found its way into the nooks and crannies of various posts and recipes on this blog. Unlike all the other posts on Pass Me Some Tasty this post doesn't end with a delicious recipe. It is really just me giving myself permission to share and to remember. And a gentle reminder that time is so very fleeting and friends are so very precious.
Oh, how I will miss her on this side of Heaven.
In Loving Memory of Shasta DelRae Kramer
April 19, 1974 - August 25, 2017