an Italian cake and grief

by cakeduchess on September 12, 2013 · 65 comments

sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries cakeduchess

Everybody grieves in different ways. You can’t tell someone that they are grieving the wrong way. Because there really isn’t a right way. Is there a length of time that is the correct amount of time to grieve? Some may grieve over a loss for days and some live their whole life grieving. I am learning that grieving is a process. My mom was recently telling me stories of her mom. She was having very vivid dreams of her and the houses they used to live in here in the States and in Hungary. My mom was just 20 when her mom passed away. Hearing her reminisce about her mom you would think she was without her for a much shorter time. Hearing her share her stories let me learn a little more about my grandmother I never had a chance to know.

I’m grieving and it’s been 8 months since my dad passed away. Is it wrong or ok? My daughter was surprised a few weeks ago. I was having some tough weeks after we came back from our trip to Italy. I couldn’t shake the sadness that was holding on to me with a tight grip. I tried to make it go away every day and some days it was stronger than me. I did my best to hide it from the kids. Who wants to see their mom cry? But one day I had to explain my not so happy demeanor and explained that I was sad because I miss my father. My daughter asked me, “You’re still upset? Why are you still so sad about it?” How do you explain to an 11 year old that you probably never stop missing or feeling sad when you lose a parent? I did my best in expressing my feelings. I believe my explanation was satisfactory.

I think about my dad constantly.  When I’m grocery shopping, I think about walking through the aisles with him. I hear his voice at every turn as I make my weekly trip: Don’t buy the dented cans. Check the prices. That brand is too expensive, buy the other one. Did you bring your coupons I gave you? He’s always there with me. He’s there with me when I bake and cook. He’s there with me when I drive. I hear his lessons at every stop and turn. Always look out for the other drivers. Give yourself enough time to arrive at your destination so you don’t speed. Always keep a full tank of gas. Innumerous little life lessons I stifled these years are now presenting themselves with every step I take every day. I did know my dad was sick and would pass away, I just wasn’t ready for how empty my life would feel without him. I suppose people just assume your parent is old and if they are sick, well they lived a long life and it was their time. It seems to me almost as if the loss of a parent is  taken lightly more lightly than other losses. Especially if you are an adult and lose your parent. I’m not expecting my friends to hug me every time they see me and ask how I am. But grieving sucks.

I feel it is up to me to keep my dad’s spirit alive. There are so many things my dad’s own family didn’t know about him. I was talking with one of his older sisters in Sicily the other day and asked her if she knew my dad had cancer for the first time in 197o’s. She didn’t even know he had cancer a second time.  The first time the doctors gave him 6 months to live. I remember my mom breaking down crying. She was desperately wondering what she would do without him and two little kids? My dad made it and he also beat cancer a 2nd time in the 1990′s. He was a fighter like no one I’ve ever met.

I hope you don’t mind if I sometimes share some photos, sometimes a story and a recipe that remind me of my dad.  Photos from this past January when my brother and I brought him home to his beloved Sicilia to be laid to rest. Photos from this summer when we got to spend a week there. Oh, there are so many photos I could share here and you know what…it will help me heal and deal with feelings. It will help me to grieve. After all my dad was the ultimate foodie.  He was a farmer from Sicily. He had restaurants here in Florida and was quite the chef. Dad was very picky about food and loved to help me with my baking and cooking. He adored my baking and every single recipe I look at from before January reminds me of him. He tried every single cake, bread and pie. I will keep baking and will keep thinking of him. Sharing some things in Project Sicilia will be a way for me to keep the memories of my father alive. This will be a connection for my kids to my dad. One day they may look here and read a little about him and where he came from. Not all of them are sweet stories. But it is a connection to me and my story. This is the 2nd quote on the list he started.

 non fare agli altri ciò che non vorresti fosse fatto a te stesso

do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Matthew 7:12

My dad collected quotes. He left them in a notebook and wrote that it was : La verita’ della vita-the truth of life. He wrote that we should think about them and remember him. There has to be about 1,000 of them that he was working on assembling in one place these last few decades. He had some of his Italian friends helping him with them. They would write them down on a list and give them to him for his collection. Some are written in Italian and some in Sicilian. I’m thinking about him when I look at his writings. It’s like an explosion of all the lessons he tried to teach us during his lifetime compressed in this manila folder. This post is really difficult for me to write and I keep vacillating back and forth between do it and don’t do it. Crying and wiping my tears saying do it because I can’t keep avoiding his things. Even though it is so hard to face.

birthday2

This past weekend I had a birthday. It was eerily quiet here the morning of my birthday. There was a huge storm the night before full of rain and lightning that seemed to strike right above our house.  In the middle of the night the mangoes were hitting the roof almost like little bombs one after the other from the wind and the rain. It was weird to not have my first “happy birthday” call be from my dad. The first year ever I didn’t hear his happy voice telling me buon compleanno and that he loved me…ti voglio bene. I was doing my normal thing the whole day and kept busy with delicious food that was made for me and cheered by the sweet messages my friends sent me. But the sadness was overwhelming at some points of the day. Maybe that storm passing in the middle of the night to wake me was him saying hello.

This is a cake we made in Italy for my father-in-law’s birthday this summer. It’s a cake I make pretty often and recently am just filling it with our mango jam that we made this summer. This particular one was decorated with some gorgeous berries and grapes and had a lovely strawberry filling.

sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries cakeduchess

 

project sicilia cakeduchess

When we were in Sicily this January everywhere we went my cousin Alessio would stop at a vendor and bargain.  Alessio is my father’s cousin that he grew up with in Sicily and also lived with for a period in America. Alessio’s parents brought my father over to America from Sicily in the late 60′s.

Alessio loved the bantering with the fishermen. They never had the right price. He would argue in Sicilian at every single fisherman’s cart. It was rare to find a fish that looked good enough for what he wanted to make for us.

project sicilia cakeduchess

 

project sicilia cakeduchess

Here is the Chiesa San Domenico . San Domenico is a Baroque church from the 1600′s in my dad’s hometown. Just one of the many incredibly beautiful churches that you will find in Sicily.

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My cousin Alessio and my brother leaving the cemetery this January.

project sicilia cakeduchess

I adore Sicilian pizza. Here is Sicilian pizza at a bakery where my cousin Alessio gets his bread every day. The owner/baker let us barge into the kitchen and take a few photos. He was beaming with pride over his bread and every thing else they were selling. Alessio got him to give us a sample of every thing. “What do you want to try?” he asked my brother and I. I was embarrassed to say what I wanted because I never ask for samples of any thing in Italy. Even in an ice-cream shop I feel embarrassed to ask for a sample because it never was customary to do as it is here.  Alessio kept insisting. “Come on! They love me here. I get my bread here every day. They don’t even give me a bill when I leave. Go ahead. Prova…try” So we started with some sesame cookies and finished with a pizza.

project sicilia cakeduchess

The photos of Sicily were taken by me when we were there this January.  Thanks for following along my little project: Project Sicilia is what I’ll call it.  There are so many recipes that remind us of people we loved and lost – a mother’s cherry pie, grandmother’s famous fried chicken, a father’s favorite meatloaf.   Baking and cooking is a way for me to create memories with my kids and also to remember certain things my dad loved and shared together. What is the right way to grieve? I still have no clue. One thing I do know is that creating food in my kitchen is helping me to deal with my grief.

Torta di Pan di Spagna, Panna e Fragole -Sponge Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberries

Ingredients

  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 5 eggs
  3. 1 cup flour
  4. 3 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. for the filling:
  7. 2-lbs of fresh strawberries (1 ½ box for filling. Other ½ is for decorating)
  8. 1 cup granulated sugar
  9. Juice and zest of one lemon
  10. stabilized whipped cream:
  11. 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  12. 1 Tablespoon cold water
  13. 1 cup cold heavy or whipping cream
  14. 3 Tablespoons sugar
  15. 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

    to prepare the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or spray with baking spray) two 9-inch round cake pans. Beat the eggs all at one time with the sugar on high speed until it is nice and frothy. Beat in the vanilla.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together.
  3. Beat in the sifted flour on low speed in small doses. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and incorporate the flour. When finished adding all the flour, fold it together a little more with the spatula to make sure it's mixed together.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. (Teresa didn’t butter and flour it. She put it in dry on parchment paper and peels it away from the cake when it has cooled.)
  5. Bake the Pan di Spagna for 20 minutes, until it is well risen and feels firm when pressed gently with the palm of the hand. Check the cake after the 14 minutes to make sure it isn’t getting too brown. Every oven is different. My cakes were ready at just about 17-18 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, add gelatin to cold water. Let it dissolve.
  7. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream for about 1 minute.Add the gelatin and the confectioner’s sugar. Beat until it gets thick and starts to form peaks.
  8. To prepare the strawberries:
  9. Hull and slice 1 ½ box (reserve the other ½for decoration) of strawberries. In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, strawberries, juice and zest of one lemon.
  10. Cook until strawberries get soft and macerated over medium heat. As soon as they get thickened, add the slices from the additional ½ box of strawberries. Fold and incorporate with the macerated strawberries in the thickened sauce.
  11. Let the strawberries cool down for a few minutes and spread on one portion of cake. Spread 1/2 the whipped cream on top of the strawberries with a spatula and top with the second layer of cake. Spread or pipe on the remaining whipped cream. Decorate with strawberries and if you have like grapes, go ahead and add some sliced grapes with the strawberries on top.
http://www.cakeduchess.com/2013/09/project-sicilia-1.html

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie September 12, 2013 at 9:49 am

<3 In the Jewish religion, there are 7 imposed days of grieving, 7 days in which we can sink into grief and memory. And then we must get back to life as life is more important than death. Life does need to go on. My dad passed away two months before I marry, but it is my brother's death that has been the hardest to deal with. Like your dad and you, Michael is with me wherever I go, every minute of the day. Like you, a birthday without a card and a phone call from him is not the same. I leave my thoughts of him buried just under the surface of every day… because pulling them up and facing them head on is still too painful. We each must deal with it as best and any way we can. Happily, you have those photos and letters and memories… do not ever let them go. And see your dad every day in your children. I look forward to seeing your photos…

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cakeduchess September 12, 2013 at 9:56 am

I love to see your photos and read your stories of Michael, Jamie. It has been helping me a little each time I see one of your posts. merci xx

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Jett Whitfield September 12, 2013 at 9:50 am

Hi there – I love reading your blog when it comes to my inbox!! I lost my mother in January of 2005 and still wish I could call her to tell her about cakes, pies that I made. Our church offers a Grief Share program that helps. The human side of us misses the person. Know your daddy is with you in spirit. I have Italian relatives too! What a wonderful trip and pictures!
Thank you for sharing!
Jett
@get2whit on Twitter

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cakeduchess September 12, 2013 at 9:58 am

Thank you, Jett. I’m so sorry you lost your mother. I appreciate your support.

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Galina V September 12, 2013 at 9:50 am

My Dad died 13 years ago, and there are still moments of raw grief that come from time to time. When I look at my sons, I grieve that they would never meet their grandfather, who would have been so happy to see them.
Love your photos! And the cake looks glorious.

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cakeduchess September 12, 2013 at 9:57 am

I’m sorry you lost your father. Thank you for your sweet comment.

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Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious September 12, 2013 at 9:57 am

I will be following your Project Sicilia.

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cakeduchess September 12, 2013 at 10:27 am

thanks, Dorothy…

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Kristina September 12, 2013 at 9:57 am

happy birthday my dear friend.

please continue to share your father here with us – it is a beautiful thing to keep his spirit alive. sending all kinds of love and comfort your way. XO

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cakeduchess September 12, 2013 at 10:27 am

thanks, Kristina. love to you. xo

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Liz September 12, 2013 at 9:58 am

You had such a special man as a father.xo

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cakeduchess September 12, 2013 at 10:27 am

thinking of you, Lizzy. thank you xx

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Brian @ A Thought For Food September 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

Your father will always be with you, a part of your past, present and future… and I’m sure that he would want you to live your life happily. This a beautiful, honest post… I’m sure it was hard to write. But sometimes getting these words down helps. Another part of the grieving process, I guess, is getting to the point of being able to express your emotions.

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cakeduchess September 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

thank you, Brian. It’s a process…a long process.

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Susan September 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

I am a new subscriber to your blog. I stumbled across one of your recipes; it appealed to me, I saved it and subscribed. Today is overcast and dreary, and as I was checking my mail, your headline of “Cooking and Grief” caught my eye. My father died 20 years today, on a glorously beautiful Indian summer day, and I traveled back there in my mind reading your post. Your father died so recently, and you are still trying to find your way with this process of grieving, but you seem to have a lot of instinctive wisdom about how to do it. One piece of advice, however; don’t try to push your sadness away. Yes, you need to function, and be present for your children, but as you have already learned, children experience grief differently. Keep your children close to you, cook with them, and tell them about your father. Your love for him is a beautiful thing. You don’t want to share the gut wrenching moments of grief with your children, of course, but quietly sharing your memories and stories will mean a lot to your children, and will help keep his presence alive in their hearts. Cooking and love and grief are all inextricably intertwined. How fortunate you are to have such a rich family life. Savor your father’s presence in spirit. The first several years without your father will be sad, but the grief eases with time, and becomes sweeter, less bitter. Your stories and recipes here are a beautiful memorial, and a source your children will treasure as adults. I feel honored to share these moments with you!

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cakeduchess September 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Hi Susan-Thank you for subscribing to my blog. Your comment was lovely and very encouraging. I am sorry for the loss of your father. It is so true that cooking and love and grief are all intertwined.

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Mari @ Mari's Cakes September 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

Lora, the memories will always be there. My dad passed away six years ago, and I still miss him so much. Those tears down my cheeks everytime I missed him are inevitable, but it is a way of knowing he is still in my heart. I am glad you have found baking to help you deal with your grief.

Hugs

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cakeduchess September 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

gracias, Mari. It’s true that the tears remind us that they are still in our heart. I’m sorry that you lost your father. xx

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Lana September 12, 2013 at 10:54 am

I have been asking myself the same question since my mom died last summer. I don’t think I will ever stop grieving, but at the same time, every tear is followed by a smile, as I have so many wonderful memories of her, enough to fill several lifetimes. I miss her every single day, but she is very much alive in my heart.
Just like you, I know that my children will read the blog and get to know their grandmother much better, from my perspective, and learn about the days we spent together.
Your father, like my mom, will keep on living for many, many years to come, and that is what has to make us smile whenever we think of them. They lived a life worth living, as they are so many people who will remember them and think of them smiling.
Abbraccio:)

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Wendy Read September 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

Beautifully written. I have lost both of my parents, I am an orphan in the world. The grieving process is so personal— and for me, I still cry. My Mom has been gone 22 years and it is just yesterday that I was with her in my mind. Sometimes I am able to dream of her and it is wonderful that I get to enjoy her again. Be kind to yourself, it is a process and you are handling it with grace and perfection, even if you don’t feel that right now. Much love to you.

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Jersey Girl Cooks September 12, 2013 at 11:22 am

What a nice post! Losing a parent is so hard especially since you were so close to your dad. I hope time heals your grief and you keep the wonderful memories you have of him.

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Annamaria @ Bakewell Junction September 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Lora,
It sounds like you were so close with your father. When someone is such an integral part of your life, it’s a much longer grieving period. Plus he beat cancer twice which makes it harder to believe he’s gone. I wish that I could say something that would make it better but there really isn’t any one thing. In time it should get easier but time is relative. Do whatever helps you get through the tougher days. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
Annamaria

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes September 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I think project sicilia is a wonderful idea. Blogs are quite personal, but we forget we should write for ourselves as much as for others. Grieving is so very different for each of us. I had my worst meltdown more than two years after my brother died, and to this day I can go back to feeling the pain if I stay in silence for 5 minutes and remember a specific moment. But time does make it easier, it’s just that there will be a little broken place in our hearts forever.

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Chef Dennis September 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm

hi Lora

Its hard to get over the loss of a parent, I understand that all too well. Writing about it does help, and remembering all of the good happy times that you had together helps. You can’t keep remembering them in death, you have to remember them in life, its how they lived and loved that we carry with us. That’s how I remember my mom and dad.

Dennis

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Stacy September 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Oh, Lora. I don’t even know where to start. You are right in the very first paragraph. There is no wrong or right way to grieve. I truly believe that we never completely stop grieving for those we love deeply. The pain and the sorrow may lessen over time but the ache of what’s missing will always be there. Your cake is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing it and your heart with us. I look forward to many more installments of Project Sicilia.

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Meagan September 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I am so sorry for your loss, Lora. And your first words are so true: everyone does grieve differently. I so appreciate your honesty and I know your dad would have appreciated this lovely cake. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

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Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom September 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Lora,
This is the most beautiful post. . please keep writing and sharing stories about your father. . he is why you are the beautiful person you are today. I am sitting here teary eyed after having read your entire post. . but I loved this. :) I hope each day gets easier for you, Lora. Keep remembering all of the wonderful things your father taught you. . your father sounds like a wonderful, loving and caring man. . I look forward to many more posts and stories you share about him here.

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foodwanderings September 12, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Beautifully written heartfelt post, Lora. I am looking forward to your project Sicilia. Such wonderful photos. Hugs. Shulie

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Maureen | Orgasmic Chef September 12, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Everyone who has lost a parent or two understands this grief that can come in waves for a day, a week, a month or more. My dad died 27 years ago and he’s still on my shoulder. He will be there forever. That’s such a pretty cake.

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Sue {munchkin munchies} September 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I am so glad you pushed “publish”, Lora! This is beautiful and has caused a lump to form in my throat. When my mom died 27 years ago, I felt like I was 5 years old and all I wanted was my mommy. Even though I knew she was going to die(as with your dad), it was shocking to me at what a huge impact it had on me when she actually DID die. You are so correct, there is no “one way” to grieve. We are each different. It took me at least a year, and it got worse before it got better. My sister died 8 years ago, and I miss her a lot. Take your time. I am so glad that you are sharing with all of us. I feel privileged to come along with you on “Project Sicilia”. <3 Sounds like your dad was an amazing man. I love connecting with family and cherished memories though special food/recipes. Your cake is stunning! XO, Sue

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laurasmess September 12, 2013 at 11:22 pm

You write so wonderfully Lora. So real, raw, honest and reflective. I am glad that you shared these experiences with us also. It makes my heart ache, thinking about the pain that comes from losing one whom we love so much. I’ve still got both of my parents but I’ve gone through similar grieving phases with other members of the family. It feels like a hole appears in your chest that will never be filled again, as the person who occupied it no longer dwells on the earth. I believe that your dad is in a much better place now. I’m glad that you have his things, his quotes, letters and other pieces of his existence to keep close to your heart. You are beautiful, inside and out. I am humbled to read your writing xx

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Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories September 13, 2013 at 1:32 am

Lora, I too am glad you pushed “publish.” This post is beautiful, as was your first post after your dad died. My dad was in his 80′s when he died, but I still miss him. That sense of loss of the “protector” who you knew would be your safety net and defender forever is so difficult to process. Much love to you. I love the photographs and the stories, and look forward to seeing your project develop. xoxo.

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Lizzy (Good Things) September 13, 2013 at 5:03 am

Lora, I am sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved father. This time comes to us all, but that in itself does not ease the pain of losing a loved one. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to grieve at it takes you. Celebrate your father’s life as much as possible by sharing here, you have so many stories and memories to share, I’m sure. Sending hugs.

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Renee September 13, 2013 at 7:16 am

What a heartfelt post Lora. It could take a while to go through the grieving process. It is different for everyone. Talking and writing through it helps. I also miss my dad and I get tears every time I write about him or think of him during the day.

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Christiane ~ Taking On Magazines September 13, 2013 at 8:43 am

Oh, this put an ache in my heart. I am so, so sorry for your loss. My father’s almost 90 now and still in good health, but have a shudder of absolute dread every time I think of the day that’s coming. You give me hope, Lora. Days will go on, life will continue, right? Hugs.

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Susan September 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

Lora. The heart and mind are such deep places and your father and family are so deeply embedded there that he(and they!) will always be there, coming to you in just the right moments. That is a welcome joy … don’t you think? The grief over loss is yours and there is no beginning or end … just a leveling or balancing. The sense of loss and the joyful remembrance. I hope you find that balance sooner than later, but find it in your own time, my dear… and enjoy the sweetness of the cake and its memories!

Virtual hug from a long-time reader and admirer of you, Cake Duchess!

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) September 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Thinking of you, Lora! I don’t think you can put a deadline on grief… everyone is different and grieves in different ways. I love your photos of Italy and your pretty cake. Sending a hug your way! xo

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Gina September 14, 2013 at 1:10 am

Lora Sweetie, I’m sorry your birthday was so hard. I can tell you for a fact there is no time line, it’s like a wound with a scab it’s doesn’t take much to rip it off and feel the pain all over again. I’m lucky my kids are a little older and if I’m crying they can just accept I’m sad. Cry when you need to and don’t feel bad about it. Part of it is the culture and that we feel we need to keep that strong front up at all times, but the truth is if you need someone to give you that hug don’t be afraid to ask for it. Sending one your way. He will always be there in heart don’t forget that either.
xoxo Gina

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cakeduchess September 15, 2013 at 11:26 am

Thank you, Gina. It is like a scab…you’re so right. I appreciate your friendship, sweet Gina. xo

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candyz85 September 15, 2013 at 2:51 am

There is no length to grieving. My father has been gone for 29 years and in some ways it still feels like yesterday. Thank you for sharing your story. Now, Lori,when I make this recipe of yours, I will think of your father and mine.

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cakeduchess September 15, 2013 at 11:27 am

I’m so sorry you lost your father. They always have a place in our hearts. Thank you for your support.

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Rosa September 16, 2013 at 3:38 am

A beautiful post. I am ever so sorry to hear about your loss. Grieving is a natural process, but it should not last for years without end, otherwise it’ll destroy you…

This cake looks amazing and ever so delicious!

Cheers,

Rosa

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Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen September 16, 2013 at 9:01 am

Lora, my heart goes out to you over the loss of your father. Your post exudes such love and affection for him. I just know, in my heart, that he is smiling down on you and your family. And, I’m sure he is especially proud of all of your kitchen triumphs! I look forward to reading more of your Project Sicilia posts. I read this post yesterday afternoon, but then had to leave (shopping and dinner out), so it was rather ironic to wake up early this morning and you had visited my blog and left a comment…on a recipe with tortellini in it no less! Thank you for your support, my friend. Bakers are special people and I look forward to getting to know you better. Hugs! xoxo

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Charlotte September 16, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Hi Lora,

I just found your blog, searching for a yogurt-apple cake, and clicked on Project Sicilia.

We lived in Sicily several years ago and I still miss it. I encourage you to return often and celebrate your father!

I lost my dad when I was 8, 34 years ago. Mostly I live my life. But every once in a while I am brought up short by how much I wish he were still here to celebrate, to mourn, to enjoy cake.

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cakeduchess September 16, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Hi Charlotte-So happy you found my blog. How wonderful you got to live in beautiful Sicily. I can’t wait to return. I’m so sorry you lost your dad when you were a little girl. I appreciate your thoughtful comment.

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Valerie September 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Lora, thank you for sharing fragments of your feelings, your photos, and your grief. I don’t think anyone ever gets over the loss of a parent, there are always going to be good periods and bad periods…eventually the good will outnumber the bad. Promise. XO

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Kate@Diethood September 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm

I can’t hold back the tears, Lora, but I want to thank you for writing this beautiful post… you are going to help so many people… you’ve already helped me. Thank you, my friend. xoxo

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Nancy @ gottagetbaked September 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Lora, I actually started following your blog around the time your dad passed away and you had just gone to Italy to lay him to rest. Your baking is incredible but it’s the way your write and express yourself that hooked me immediately. Don’t ever apologize for feeling the way you do. That’s the thing about grief. People deal with it in different ways and on different timelines. If it were me, I’d rather let it all out as opposed to stifling it, where it’ll linger and fester and grow. This is your space – you use it in whatever way you want. As a faithful follower, I’ll always be here to sympathize, to marvel over the beauty of your photos and drool over your delectable recipes. Your dad sounds like an incredible man and the depth of your love means you won’t be finished mourning for a while. Take all the time you need, Lora! Big hugs, girl.

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts September 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Lora – everyone grieves differently, and I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I hope you can find some solace in sharing your stories and pictures here!

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Suzanne September 19, 2013 at 2:39 am

Lora, I almost cried reading this post. You are right grieving is something different for everyone and there is no right amount of time. I feel for you and the sweet closeness that you had with your dad is so touching. Most people do not have such close relationships with their parents as adults, how wonderful for that. I am very close to my parents and do not look forward to having to say good bye someday. Your daughter’s reaction sounded so familiar. When I was young my mom lost her sister she was only 40. Mom was very depressed and sad for about a year and I thought she would never be the same again when I was a child it really bothered me. She finally was able to go through her things and get through the grief but it took a very long time. I think it’s so important that you can explain this to your children and it will help them to have tender feelings and show compassion to others if they know how sad and hurt their mom. Hang in there, keep doing what makes you happy and sharing about him. {hugs} xoxox

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Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} September 19, 2013 at 3:01 am

Lora – it is such a personal situation – there is no wrong or right answer – it is what is best for YOU! I am sure your Dad is looking down on you and watching over you and I am sure he is proud! What a lovely post and a beautiful cake!!

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Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings September 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm

It’s never easy to lose someone so close to you. But I know you have the strength in you to overcome these sad feelings. Not that there is anything wrong with grieving a loss and crying to let out those pent up feelings; but it’s also tough for other family members to see their loved ones feeling sad. It’s going to get easier, but in the meantime, rest assured, you father is in a good place – he may be in a state of joy that’s even beyond our earthly happiness!

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francesca September 26, 2013 at 9:19 am

hello, I’ve always been a silent reader of your blog, I never did leave a comment.
This time I felt like i had to tell you that grieving is okay. I lost my father in march, it was a sudden and scary fast illness, two months from diagnosis to death. He wasn’t even old, I’m not even a full adult myself. He was from Sicily as well, and we went on a trip there with my brother during the summer to see some places he would always talk to us about. I still feel like everyday I wake up I have to realize that my dear loving father is dead. That I won’t be able to call him to tell him how my life is going, how my new job is going, that I’ll be soon getting married. He will never get to see my house, meet my fiance, meet our future children. People think there’s a time to stop grieving. Thruth is, there is not, it’s different for everyone. Time will heal, but nothing will never take their place. I’m sending you a big hug. <3

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cakeduchess September 29, 2013 at 11:22 am

ciao Francesca-Thank you for reading my blog and for leaving me a little about your story here. I’m so sorry you lost your father. How wonderful you had the chance to go to Sicily and see where he was from. I also send you a big hug! xo

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Bunkycooks September 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Hi Lora,

I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time with the loss of your father. Extended periods of grief are completely normal and I think writing about it and sharing your photos will definitely help you to cope with the situation. I look forward to hearing more about your father and family and hearing about the food memories you share with all of them.

xo

Gwen

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cakeduchess September 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm

thanks, my friend. I appreciate you being here for me through it all. I know you know how it feels. xo

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Kim Beaulieu September 30, 2013 at 12:43 am

Lora I think it’s very brave of you to admit you’re struggling. I think some folks think we can just move on, but anyone who is close to a parent is going to have a tough time adjusting. It’s perfectly normal. I lost my mom when I was 15, that was almost 30 years ago and I still miss her every single day. I lost my dad in 2007 and again, I miss him every single day. I live in their home and even though we’ve made it our own there’s still things that will take me back on any given day. Memories can flood for any reason, a flower my dad loved blooming, baking with my mom’s favourite spatula. I think it helps to share and I’m glad you’re doing that. Just know you’re not alone.

I got your email and will be in touch this week. Been so much going on. Looking forward to touching base and catching up. Big hugs to you my friend. If you ever need to talk feel free to skype me. xx

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cakeduchess September 30, 2013 at 8:47 am

You were so young when you lost your dad. You must have some great stories to tell the kids living in your parents old house. I appreciate your friendship. xx

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Jean | lemons & anchovies September 30, 2013 at 11:13 am

Lora, your father’s spirit and goodness continue to live in you. You reflect the qualities you love about him and I can’t imagine that you’ll ever stop missing him. I can only trust that the pain will subside over time but until then, we appreciate that you choose to share some of your special moments with us. Thank you. :)

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Ellen September 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Oh, you just keep on remembering. Some days it will make you cry. My dad’s been gone 30 years–he died 3 months before our wedding. I wish he could have met my children. It seems silly, but I keep things with his handwriting (as awful as it was !) because I can’t bear to part with it. The hurt goes away, but it takes a long time. For at least a year, I felt like he was on vacation and would come back…sigh. The hurt goes away, but the memories don’t, so keep making delicious things and treasure the memories that those foods bring you–sweet ones and bittersweet ones. Hugs to you!

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cakeduchess September 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Hi Ellen-So sorry to hear you lost your dad and just before your wedding. I know what you mean about the handwriting. I come across little notes he left for me and other things he wrote and think, he won’t write me any thing new…so I must keep these. Little reminders. Thank you for sharing a little about your dad here. hugs to you xo

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