Milestones Measured in Pizza

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This past weekend I made ‘home-made’ pizza. Now you may not think this is anything special; you may make pizza from scratch every week or two, but making pizza last weekend marked a milestone for me. You see, it is the first time I’ve made it since my husband died.

We always made pizzas together. Always. Gary’s main responsibility was preparing the dough and cooking the ground beef, and mine was chopping veggies, grating cheese and greasing the pans. While we worked we chatted and often sipped wine (me) and diet cola (him), and before you could say “Jack Sprat could eat no fat”, our pizzas would be in the oven.

Our production-style method of preparing pizza worked great for us. We never quibbled over who should do what–we knew what had to be done in order to enjoy this delicious weekend supper and over the years our roles in making this meal morphed into ones that complemented each other.

After Gary died I wondered if I’d ever again have the energy or desire to make pizza, and up until this past weekend I didn’t. I thought about it sometimes, but then panic would set in and I’d start hyperventilating, so I never even bought the ingredients to have on hand.

But last Friday I went to the store and bought pepperoni, green pepper, fresh mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce, just in case. I thought maybe Friday night I’d make it for my son and me but by the time the supper hour approached the thought of making pizza overwhelmed me, so we ate pasta.

“That’s okay,” I thought. “I can always try again tomorrow night.”

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So Saturday afternoon I decided to use my bread machine to make the dough. Figured if I didn’t make pizza with it I would maybe make garlic fingers. Then over a glass of wine I went to work and chopped vegetables and sliced pepperoni. My son and his girlfriend joined me in the kitchen and my son offered to grate the cheese. The three of us chatted easily while I prepared the meal, and when I paused a couple of times to wipe my eyes with a tissue because I didn’t think it would be good manners to have tears drip into the pizza sauce, nobody made a fuss.

I knew that making pizza would bring a lot of memories to the surface again for me, and it certainly did. But I realize now that I needn’t have stressed about that; the memories are good ones, about happy times my husband and I spent together doing the simplest of tasks and enjoying each other’s company.


When Saturday night’s pizza came out of the oven and I sliced it and announced that “Pizza’s ready,” I had a lump in my throat.  And even though my first bite was bittersweet and it seemed as though I had to chew it a lot more times than I normally have to, it was very good pizza, and I knew that Gary would be pleased that this milestone was now behind me.

Image by terren in Virginia via Flickr

I’m going to make it again sometime soon, for sure when my daughter comes home in December for her Christmas break. Maybe I’ll also make Gumdrop Cake for Christmas this year; Gumdrop Cake was Gary’s absolute favorite holiday treat, and every year he searched the stores for the brand of gumdrops we preferred and helped me cut them into thirds and flour them.

So what if I need to wipe my eyes a few times while I’m working in the kitchen this Christmas? I’ll be sure to keep a tissue nearby because I don’t think it would be good manners to have tears drip into the Gumdrop Cake batter, but one milestone at a time, one milestone at a time.


34 thoughts on “Milestones Measured in Pizza

  1. This entry touched me, not only because I’m truly sorry you’ve lost your husband, but I lost my mom last year, and the thought of making Thanksgiving dinner this year breaks my heart, it was something we did together, she would teach me new things, and I’d be her taste tester, and now the thought of doing it alone is almost to much to bare, but like you said, one milestone at a time, and I know my mom will be in the kitchen cooking right along side me. If you can reach a milestone like this one, then I can too. Thank you Sylvia, for having the courage to make that pizza, so I can now cook Thanksgiving dinner 🙂

  2. So glad you passed the “pizza” night hurdle and especially pleased to hear
    that it brought back happy memories of Gary for you. Thanks for sharing this special milestone with us. Beautifully written!

  3. Definitely agree making fresh Pizza is so much better than those takeaways such as domino’s and Pizza Hut. We have a family old receipt which we are currently trying to take to the market which ensure restaurant quality pizza dough everytime but you still have the fun of putting lots of topping on.

    A get story, thanks!

  4. A wonderful story, Sylvia. I never thought I would find such courage and love in a story about making pizza. You’re amazing. I’m sure the pizza was made better knowing your dear husband was in your heart and hands as your prepared it.

    And what’s a little extra salt from tears in either cake or pizza? Call it your “special ingredient”! 😉

  5. Hi Sylvia,

    That is definitely a major milestone and I know that Gary would be very happy to see you conquer another hurdle in the grieving process. I hope that you will find the strength to tackle that other milestone, the Christmas gum-drop cake, as I am sure that he would be proud of you for that as well – and by the way, perhaps you could send half of it out west, just so that we can make sure that it’s up to your usual standards.



  6. Oh Sylvia, your post brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy for you that you made the pizza and I know that though it was painful the wonderful memories probably made you feel comforted. I’ve never heard of gumdrop cake, I do hope you will write about it when you make it. Sending you a nice big hug!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment, Ginger. I posted the recipe for Gumdrop Cake on my blog and when I make it this December I’ll be sure to take pics to post, too. Thanks for the hug…it felt good. 🙂

  7. What a touching and beautiful “love story with pepperoni.” I admire your strength and courage. I suspect now that you have crossed the first pizza hurdle, it will now become as it was before, a celebration of the nourishment we receive from good food, good times together and most importantly, great love. How appropriate that you shared that moment with your son, and will share it with your daughter when she returns home… I suspect that Gary guided your hand in the kitchen on Saturday night! What a beautiful experience to be able to so tangibly embrace that love!

    1. Thank you, Carol. I’m not sure about having any strength or courage…it’s taken me a long time to get this far, but I tell myself that everyone’s journey is unique and I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. I really appreciate your comments, though. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks, Claude, for coming out of lurking to leave a comment today. I am doing the best I can and it changes every day. Decided it may be time to write about it more on my blog so this was a start.

  8. Great blog Sylvia. I’m sure lots of eyes have been wiped while reading it, including mine! It reminds us all of the special times we shared with those we love and how those good memories can carry us forward. I admire your courage.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Barb. It really is the small moments as much as the momentous ones that affect me in my new journey. Forget courage, though–that’s not me at all…I’m just trying to learn to breathe in, breathe out…
      It was great seeing you recently. We’ll have to do it again soon.

  9. My mother passed away just three days before last Christmas. This has been MY year of firsts too. Every occasion this year has been a new “oh!” We can hold hands across the universe if it will help even just a little bit . . .

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Tess. My condolences on your loss. My mom died six years ago and it is still difficult to realize that she isn’t here and that I can’t just pick up the phone and call her. Holding hands across the universe sounds lovely to me…thanks so much.

  10. Oh, yes, this is what healing is all about, Sylvia. Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing the discoveries in your own healing journey with us. Will be thinkng of you the next time I have pizza. Hugs.
    Janice, HSP

    1. Thanks, Aurora. The healing journey seems to be a very long one for me, but I’m trying to cut myself some slack now and just accept that it’s never really going to be over; it will just become less painful (I hope).

    1. The ‘little moments’ certainly add up, don’t they–I guess it’s because life is really made up of many many little moments and only a few ‘huge’ ones. Thanks so much for your comment.

  11. Sylvia…I am so happy to read your blog but what I really want to say is how proud I am of you for making that pizza!! It takes enormous courage to go through what you’ve been through and in my eyes you are a hero…You are strong but most of all very special…and I agree with Linda…Gary was right there beside you…and always will be!! I know you can make this gumdrop cake and it will be truly delicious…wish I was still working in Sackville to get a piece…lol…All the best to you…and please know that you and your family are often in my thoughts!!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Josee. But I’m certainly not courageous nor am I any kind of a hero (unless there is such a thing as a weepy, wimpy hero)…Wish you still worked here in town too…but if you’re still in Moncton let me know which branch and I can drop off a piece of gumdrop cake for you in December! Gary would be very happy if I did that!

  12. A few tears are shared with you!! As I read this story I thought about the many times “Home & Schoolers” and Royal Bankers met at your house!! Also remembering the great “Brunch” including nothing but the best…champagne and orange juice!! And what does it matter if there’s a few tears in the mix :))

    ’til later…

    1. Linda–you’re right–those were wonderful times…and I remember the champagne and orange juice brunch…should do that every weekend! Congrats, too, on becoming a grandma again!

  13. It’s ok Syl Gary would not want you to stop he would keep goin if something happend to us it is hard for all of us and you were away for years. I remembered yesterday how every Christmas for years and years you Guy’s would come home and Dec 24th at 2am 3am 3:30am 4am….ect we finally were aloud to call and get you down to watch us open gifts which took hrs. our lives with you guy’s were all good although Shane and Erin did not grow up among us they are here now I also remember often the time I went to NFLD and met John Palfree and Audry which I believe is married now do you ever hear from them I believe the husband was Al??Just take your time tthis you need to do by yourself remember the Morice’s are all only a call away love ya

    1. Thanks, Deb. I know that I am very lucky to have family and extended family that care about me. And yes, Gary and I loved going to your place early Christmas morning to watch you and Darrel destroy (I mean open), your presents…a long time ago now, but still good memories.

  14. I think the tears would be a added bonus. I shed one or two for you as I read this. Whenever I cook which is often these days I tell my kids a little love is in every bite. Thanks for your lessons.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. ‘A little love’ in every bite is a perfect way of explaining why mothers cook for their families. Not sure about any ‘lessons’ from me, but if anything I write touches you then I am happy.

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