Saying Goodbye … With a Cheesecake

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. – Unknown

My heart aches. A close friend of my family, Elayne, passed away peacefully in her sleep Saturday morning. It was sudden and unexpected, much like when my grandfather passed away a decade ago. She leaves behind a wonderful husband, daughters, grandchildren and so many friends.

Elayne was a wonderful woman — a warm, welcoming presence who made everyone feel special and important. She lived fully. When I first met her as a child, I was drawn to her. It’s a well-known fact among our families and neighbors that back then I would leave little notes for Elayne on her front porch. I’d dash down the sidewalk, feeling so stealth, and drop the notes on her mat. She never minded — in fact, she cherished them and recently told my son about what I used to do.

I have so many fond memories of Elayne — both as a child and an adult. As a tween and teen, we talked often about my future. She urged me to combine my passion with something that would support me. She was right. And when I was married, she was there with a wide smile and the kindest of words.

So, why a cheesecake? Another infamous story about Elayne and I recalls how one summer evening when I was 10 or so, she appeared on our doorstep and asked me if I wanted to walk to a nearby restaurant for dessert. It was a short walk, but I felt so grown up doing it. We ordered cheesecake to share. It was special.

One of the last times I saw Elayne was a little more than a month ago — before Hurricane Irene. I was off for a ride on my pink beach cruiser with my brightly flowered helmet. As I passed her house, we exchanged hellos and she complimented my gear. I giggled. Little did she know that it was her daughter that influenced me to start wearing a helmet again — however reluctantly. Losing Elayne … there just are no words to explain what a tremendous void it leaves.

I am better for having known Elayne, and for that I am grateful.

(No recipe today … I’m still working on it. The first try wasn’t perfect … ok. Far from it. Half the cheesecake ended up on the baking sheet. The flavor was awesome … the method was flawed. Stay tuned. It’s coming.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *