I’m making poached eggs right now. My little family is taking a walk around the neighborhood, so it’s very quiet. I hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I stayed behind to eat. And I ended up thinking about connection while I ate.
Here’s the thing about me and poached eggs: they make me think of my dad. He loved them, and made them a lot, or at least enough for me to associate them with him. He had two egg-poaching contraptions that I remember. One was metal and, I believe, used to cook them on the stove. One was white plastic and used to cook them in the microwave. I don’t really remember him eating them, just cooking them. But I do remember that I didn’t want ANY part of his yucky eggs as a kid.
It seems that his love of poached eggs continued after I grew up and moved away. When he passed, one of the things I got from his house was a pair of green silicone egg poachers. You crack the eggs into them and put them in boiling water for a few minutes to poach the eggs. I occasionally use them on the weekends now to make myself breakfast. No one else in my house likes them.
Now, making poached eggs to me is a connection to him. I’ll always miss him, but I don’t grieve him the way I did when he first passed away. Then, all the Things that he was got all mixed up and seemed important. Now, all that’s important are the memories of my Dad. All those Grown Up Things that he did and was simply don’t matter. Poached eggs is my way of remembering who my Dad was, in our kitchen.
It’s sort of become a ritual:
Set water to boil
Put piece of bread in toaster
Pull out silicone thingies
Coat them in olive oil
Crack eggs into silicone thingies
Drink coffee, wait for water to boil
Drop eggs in water, cover
Push toaster down
Toast goes on plate
Eggs go on toast
All the while, I think about my dad, all the good things: him puttering around the kitchen, laughing at & with us, staying up late waiting on me to get home, generally being interested in everything about my life. I remember him making coffee in his weird coffee percolator that now sits on my great grandmother’s pie safe in my living room. I remember him making us breakfast every morning while we were in school. And the time he almost burned the kitchen down.
And I send up love and information to him. No conscious thoughts go into it. I imagine he’s seeing me and my family, understanding what’s going on with my career and kids. It’s my way of connecting to him, not exactly grieving or being sorrowful, just extending the relationship that we might have had. I like to imagine, that were he still alive, there would be a day where we would sit at a table and connect over poached eggs and coffee.
I miss the threads and themes of our conversations. They were unique to our relationship, just as the themes of conversations between any two individuals is unique. I realized when he passed that there would never be anyone to fill that void. Now I realize that that’s okay. My poached egg ritual helps me keep the theme alive.
I hope everyone gets to this point with grief. As Rocket Raccoon so eloquently says in Guardians of the Galaxy, “Everybody’s got dead people.” I think part of the dealing with loss is keeping the connection alive. My Mama used to play hymns on the piano in the living room and cry. I asked her once why she was crying. She told me it was because those songs made her think of her daddy, who died before I was born. It scared me a little to see an adult cry, but now I realize she was sending love to her daddy, just like I do now when I make my poached eggs.