Italian Wedding Soup: Our Last Meal

I want to die, she said. Wait until I made you Italian Wedding Soup. I’m coming over this weekend to make you a pot, I said.

Jan and I love to watch the cooking lesson at the Food Network Channel. The recipe looks simple and easy enough to make. All I have to is change a few ingredients.

The recipe calls for ground pork or beef for meatballs and spinach for greens. This meat will definitely kill Jan. She only eats chicken or turkey. As for spinach, it will kill me. Spinach will activate the uric acid and I will die in pain. I’m not ready to die, Jan is.

I used ground turkey instead, made my chicken broth, harvested my rainbow Swiss chard and added shiitake mushroom, her favorite.

For a while, she forgot about dying while eating the soup. It was heavenly delight to taste every morsel of it and I must admit it was good.

Somehow cooking made her forget to die. The cooking channel is constantly on, I continued visiting her on weekends to cook for her not just soup. Sometimes, we just sat outside in silence, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, watched the swaying of the plants as the wind blows, waited for the hummingbird’s arrival, the call of the woodpecker or just simple be.

Assisted suicide or euthanasia is what she wanted. She thought that there is no dignity in dying. She can’t stand to see other people suffering. She can’t stand her own suffering. She wanted either me or her daughter to take her to Oregon or Switzerland for an easy way out.

Definitely, not! It was bad enough that she had first-hand experience with me when I wanted to die. She made me believe that life is too precious. We had long conversation and argument about death and dying. We discussed the benefits of going through normal life cycle. How many people will learn from us. How she can teach her family the importance of life.

Killing herself will deny other people by not able to spend the remaining days of her life and they will feel cheated. A lot of questions will remain should she carry on with her desire.

On a rainy fall night, it was her last day in Vancouver moving to the Island, I cooked the Italian Wedding Soup for everybody. It was our last meal together.

In three months, her wish was granted. She died peacefully on the day after the first day of the new year.

The question remains whether assisted suicide or normal death is the route to take.

3 thoughts on “Italian Wedding Soup: Our Last Meal

  1. What a powerful piece of writing ~ both the idea of looking and dealing with the concept of death (so permanent and such value is teaching/learning/loving) and then most powerful was your role in being with her and ‘giving her life’ with your cooking and friendship. Beautiful.

Please share your reflection. Thank you.

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