After several days of procrastination, my ‘apology’ for a real Christmas cake is finally in the oven, baking gently and moderately. That done, I can now take time to celebrate my mother’s homecoming from hospital which happened this past Saturday morning. And what a cause for celebration that is. The past few weeks have been full of pain and struggle but, at last, thanks to the loving care of my sister and brother, she is home again; home to convalesce.
To convalesce ; to recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness; to spend time healing; to grow strong….no busying and bending to a hospital routine; no poking and prodding and monitoring and measuring; no scrutiny from doctors and students and x-ray machines; only rest, deep rest,
food that pleases, gentle movement, and time, to heal the pain and weariness ; that is ‘to convalesce’, from latin, valeo, be well.
Convalescence, a forgotten way of life, perhaps, in a world that constantly sells us the idea of eternal wellness and vigour and exhorts us to either be healthy or healthier; that urges us to grasp ease without acknowledging dis-ease; that disallows our physical and spiritual need for times of frailty, by plying us with pills and potions and remedies for a rapid ‘cure’.
In older times, when illness, and home-based care of it, were more commonplace, recipe and household books often had sections with special dishes for invalids or occupants of the sick room. It’s hard to imagine someone like Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay producing a best seller containing recipes for the ‘InValid’, but our best-selling New Zealand Edmonds Cookery Book used to offer helpful hints like this…
And our famous Nurse Maude, founder of our community nursing service, suggested, in her book, oatmeal drinks and gruel for the patient’s sustenance.
I am not sure how well I would do on Nurse Maude’s diet but I would love a tray, such as this one, to arrive, in the early light, at my place of convalescence. Fresh flowers from the morning garden, blackcurrants from the home bush, creamy yogurt and strawberries, to nourish the body, and blessings and calm to nurture the soul.