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A General Thank you From the Bottom of my Heart


Dear Fellow Hounds,
I haven't been on these boards much lately - as some of you may know, my son Michael (aka #1 son) died last Monday at the age of 27 after a grueling and courageous battle against a rare form of leukemia.
I want to thank the Chowhound community for a few different things. Mainly, just for being here. Clearly food is my big passion, and over the past few years it's been a welcome distraction to have that interest supported and diversified by all the different threads and opinions here. I've developed friendly relationships and actual real-world friendships that carried over, and have gotten such lovely support in so many different ways: when I was racking my brains out about what to try feeding him, it was 'hounders to the rescue. You also reminded me to try and nourish myself and my other family members at the same time. There were nights alone in the hospital during the past week where the time difference between here and my overseas friends was a truly welcome diversion - always, there was someone to talk to no matter what time it was. You've sent food and flowers and cards and love. Mainly, I just knew y'all were there in thought.
My big guy was kind of a chowhound himself. He liked really good food and wine and beer (although he preferred good hard liquor drinks more) so.....if you raise a glass tonight, please do it with a smile for Mike.
With Love and Thanks
Shalom shalom,

  1. I did not know, but I am so, so sorry!

    1. Shalom, Marci. We know you will be strong. Cry anytime.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo

        Even at the butcher shop? I think the other people there thought I was trying to curry favor, or move up in line, but that wasn't it. It's just that they had buffalo steaks on sale, and Mike loved the buffies so much.........

      2. What a fine, strong heart you have that opens up in gratitude when it could so easily and justifiably just knot in grief. Best, best, best wishes to you.

        21 Replies
        1. re: ninrn

          nirn, it is knotted in grief - but it is not bitter, it's purer than that. So what generally spills out of me isn't anger or rage - just justifiable pain, and y'all have helped me much with great words of friendship, compassion and total wisdom that take my breath away.

          1. re: ninrn

            PLEASE send me contact info.

            1. re: mamachef

              Hi Marci, Sent you contact info and got your email back. Thanks so much! I sent a reply to your email and another email after that, but I'm not sure if they went through. My Mom says she doesn't get my gmail and I wondered if the same thing might be happening with you. There was absolutely no need for you to reply, so please don't worry about that. Just checking if they reached at all.

              1. re: ninrn

                I was offline for a month or so....things here went straight to hell. I had to put my husband in a dementia/alzheimer's facility, and things are settling down some. I just want you to know that I thought about you every day and I'd love to know how you're doing. Love, Marci

                1. re: mamachef

                  Oh,mamachef, you've had way too much to bear. I hope you're being well cared for, too. My thoughts are with you.

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    Thank you for that, lovely lady. It's a lot to bear.....yes. But I am still standing, sense of humor pretty much intact. I missed you all so much.

                  2. re: mamachef

                    I can't tell how sorry I am to read this. My prayer for you is that you wil have the inner strengh to bear this latest trial, and I'm sure you will. ((Mamachef))

                    1. re: Gio

                      Love you, Gio. Thanks so much. You know that old saw, "G-d doesn't give you anymore than you can handle?" Well, whatta crock. Except for one thing - I seem to be handling it!

                    2. re: mamachef

                      Oh, honey....(tearily wraps mamachef in a patchwork quilt and a big bear hug, and hands her a mug of tea and something to nibbles, because I just have no words)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Thank you for lovies, sunshine. I really mean that, and if you were close by I'd invite you over for tea and fleece and bad reality tv, which are my drugs of cherce these days!

                        1. re: mamachef

                          ooooh I LOVE trash TV, it really does help one's self esteem. (as in sheesh I've never been that bad)

                      2. re: mamachef

                        So sorry to hear that. I noticed you were gone (or noticed I hadn't seen your posts and wondered if I'd just missed them) and thought you might be busy cooking for the frat. I'm sorry that that wasn't the case. My thoughts are with you, too. Glad to see you're back here.

                        1. re: chowser

                          Hey Chowser, thanks! Nope, I'm on a paid leave for now. (PAID leave? In a frat? Never expected that. Job there when I'm ready to be there. Thank goodness, or I'd be on here begging for food donations!!

                        2. re: mamachef

                          Oh mamachef, I am never on this board. I wish I saw this earlier. And I wish you were on the east coast, so I could bring you good food and good wine/liquor to sustain you. Or I wish I was on the west coast and could bring you Hubert to serve you good food and good wine ;)

                          I know the drain that alzheimers can cause--my thoughts and parayers are with you Marci.

                          1. re: gaffk

                            Thank you for the love, gaffk. I am getting so much support, and I am so, so very grateful. ((you))

                          2. re: mamachef

                            oh Marci - there are no words. It sucks! Just not fair. I don't believe that stuff about you only get what you can bear - who needs to be tested to their limits? It seems that you certainly have given so much of yourself to all that are fortunate to be in your world - and that includes all of us out here in CH universe. I am going to temple this weekend as it is my first husband's yarhzeit - I will say my own prayers for you and those you love.
                            Keep your strength and your smile.

                            1. re: smilingal

                              smilingal, I didn't realize how close this was to you. I am so sorry to hear about his passing. Yahrzeit can be such a beautiful and communal healing process for you and for the whole community. If I lived close, I'd offer to host the Oneg. That must mean the unveiling is imminent too, yes? My arms are just so tight around you right now. My dad died in very early November many years ago, and Mike's birthday would've been 13 November, so it sounds like these fall months are difficult for us both.
                              There are just no words, honey. I will be going to synagogue as well. If you'll e-mail me his name, I'd like to speak it at temple as well, and my prayers will likewise be with you. Please, feel free to write me at my regular e-mail (on profile) if you want to talk or to vent. And meanwhile, know that you have a friend in me.

                            2. re: mamachef

                              Oh Marci, there are no words adequate for what you have been going through. I am not even going to try. Sending you a big hug and much love and prayers. xoxo

                              1. re: mamachef

                                Oh mamachef, I'm so sorry to hear this. I know your loved ones (family and friends) will continue to support you during this time and I hope that you use them to lean on when you need to. Your incredible personal strength is much admired.

                        3. mamachef, I'm so sorry to hear this. I knew from an older post that you were dealing with illness but did not realize it was your dear son you were cooking for.

                          So glad you have found friendship, distraction, and comfort here. You and yours will be in my thoughts and prayers, mamachef.

                          My husband and I will make a point of raising a glass (hard liquor, then!) in Mike's honor this evening.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: fern

                            I am sorry for your loss mamachef.

                          2. Marci, I am so sorry for your loss. I am fairly new to CH and did not know about your son. What I have learned about you in the past few months is that you are a lovely and generous person who freely shares your love and knowledge of good food with others. Knowing the very challenging circumstances you have faced all this time just makes your generosity that much more meaningful.

                            God bless you & your family,

                            1. Best wishes to you. Hang in there.

                              1. My sincerest condolences, Marci. I am relatively new here and trying to find my place and it encourages me to hear about all the support and love you have gotten from our fellow Chowhounders and that there is a heart and soul that can be loving and supportive. God bless.

                                1. Oh no Marci, I did not realize what you were going through. You and #1 son are in my thoughts and prayers.

                                  I will have a nice, neat whiskey in his honor this evening while I ponder your unfailing courage and thoughtfulness.

                                  1. My heart goes out to you, Marci, as well as my thoughts and prayers. Isn't it curious how people across the universe can connect and empathize and pull us through life's most difficult moments.
                                    With deepest sympathy,

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Gio

                                      "Isn't it curious..." - Yep, Gio; curious and curiouser. ((hugs))

                                    2. Blessings, peace and comfort to you, your family, and Michael's soul, Marci. And no less gratitude to you for your generosity of knowledge and spirit despite your struggles.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                        Dear Marci, such sad news. In reading your posts, it has always been so apparent that "mamachef" is much more than your c.h name, but very much who you are - a caring, nurturing, cooking, loving mama.

                                        Peace, love, comfort - Jane

                                      2. Marci, I am so sorry for your loss. Blessings to you and your family

                                        1. Sorry for your loss. You'll be in my thoughts.

                                          1. Thank you....so much.....from me, and from all of us. In a small way, writing about Mike here helped so much, that there were other people out there who knew his story and cared.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: mamachef

                                              I am so sorry for your loss. My #1 son is turning 25 this year, and has dealt with leukemia and all the side effects of chemo and radiation for the last 15 years. He was diagnosed hen he was 7. We allowed him to move back home after his stroke, because we honestly do not know how much time he has. I sympathize and give you big hugs! He loves to cook and follow after restaurants, and he enjoys a good cooler. So we will all be thinking of you and your family at this time. It DOES help to write about it. HUGS

                                            2. I'm so sorry for your loss.

                                              1. (((((marci))))) cyber-hugs to you and deepest condolences to you and your family...no I did not know either...what a tremendous loss.

                                                1. Marci, I'm so sorry to read the news. How heartbreaking for you and your family. I want to thank you, too, for all your contributions to the board--as much as you feel you've gotten from CH, I think you've more than given back with your time and knowledge. Take care and know you're in our thoughts.

                                                  1. I was aware of some sort of family illness, but not the details. Your joy of life and sunny disposition always come through your posts. I'm sure those qualities helped to surround your son in a sea of love.

                                                    Shiva is a wonderful opportunity to let your friends and family encircle you with their love. The CH community will be sending it by the bucketful too!

                                                    My heart goes out to you and yours and my thoughts will be with you.

                                                    1. Oh, Marci! You've been in my thoughts lately (you've been absent here), and your voice has been missed, and it did make me wonder if you and yours were all right. I am so sorry, MC, so, so sorry. You, with that heart of yours, must be thoroughly surrounded by love and support, but if you need anything at all, please let me know. Love to you.


                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                                        I am just touched beyond measure by the outpouring of love and support from every corner of my life. There has been such gracious love attached to this tragedy. It suprises me not at all that people who love food also love life and people and are busy living, eating, creating....and being with other like minded-folks, in spirit if not in body.
                                                        Just thank you, and again thank you.

                                                      2. mamachef, I am so deeply sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you. Please take good care.

                                                        1. So sorry for your loss mamachef. I remember your posts in the Chemohounding thread, and in particular the love for fresh veg and salads that I remembered and completely related to after I finished my own chemo, and his escape from custody for a good burger.

                                                          I am having a glass tonight, so it will be for you and your family. And against this horrible disease that takes far too many wonderful people from our lives.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                            im_nomad, so glad you're done with chemo. It sounds like you're upbeat and healthy, too.
                                                            I was reading this thread and came across your words, "his escape from custody for a good burger." It made me laugh until I cried. (Didn't take much.) I am delighted that someone else remembers that. His doctor was sooooo pissed!

                                                          2. /raises glass. Hard to type with tears in my eyes mamachef.

                                                            1. Condolences to your family. And I will raise a glass in your son's memory.

                                                              1. Marci: I'm sad to hear of #1 son's passing. Memories keep us forever close to the ones we love most. May you and your family/friends wrap yourselves in the many fun and good memories of Michael and be comforted by them.

                                                                Blessings to all. Take good care of yourselves, S

                                                                1. oh. just oh...

                                                                  I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. I didn't know and hope I didn't say something flippant to compound your struggle. I hope the family's pain ebbs soon (I don't pretend it will ever really go away) and if nothing else, equilibrium is regained.

                                                                  1. Ah, mamachef, my heart hurts for you and your family. I don't "know" you except through your posts, that your kindness shines through. You have great pain, but it's because of the great love for your son.

                                                                    I'm having a late dinner of a quesadilla and a glass of pinot noir and wishing blessings with it, to your Michael, you and your loved ones.

                                                                    1. Marci, best wishes to you.

                                                                      1. I'm so, so sorry...I don't have words; all I can offer is an enormous squeezy hug.

                                                                        1. OH Marci, I am sooo very sorry to hear of your family's loss. I was aware of your absence on CH and actually, clicked on your name on another thread, to see if I could read some of your recent posts and this is how I learned. Words are so difficult for people, on both ends in this situation, but they are what we struggle with to try to share our emotions in some way. When my husband had passed away at 42 from a very rare form of lymphoma I remember people telling me I was lucky that it had "only" lasted 10 months - from start to end. I yelled back that I would do it for a lifetime to have him here - but the reality is..... Michael is no longer suffering.
                                                                          One day at a time, some days it is one minute at a time. SOOOO sorry for your pain. Take care of yourself and get your much needed rest and restoral.

                                                                          1. I'm so, so sorry to hear about this. I too did not know it was your son you were cooking for. What a terrible struggle and I know there's little we can say to make you feel any better, but thank you for sharing with us, we are thinking of you.

                                                                            1. I don't know how you got my address, and that part is a bit scary to me, but thank you for the floral arrangement, whoever you are. "A CH well-wisher?" I wish you'd been specific. I haven't the energy to do the necessary detective work. The flowers are very lovely.

                                                                              1. Mamachef, I am so very sorry. You have been a constant positive influence on this site. A voice of reason amongst the squabbling, offering a place of acceptance and always bringing genuine affection. Your sense of humor here, especially on Home Cooking, has made us all remember to laugh more and and hug our loved ones a little closer. I imagine as a Mother you bring all of this to your children tenfold. I'm sorry your #1 Son's life wasn't longer, as it should have been, but I have no doubt it was made rich by you and your family. My thoughts are with you and I will be raising a drink to your son and your entire family. Peace be with you.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: rabaja

                                                                                  There are a lot of wonderful heartfelt sentiments here but this one caught my eye. Had I the eloquence, this is exactly how I would have expressed how I feel.

                                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                                    my darling rabaja, and chowser:
                                                                                    I cry all the time these days anyway, so I guess it really doesn't matter that this post made me bawl out loud; in grief, in gratitude, in remembrance,in......feelings so complex I can't even name them. Thank you for taking the time to write. Mike would've loved Chowhound so much if he'd been able to participate, but by the time I was hanging out virtually with all y'all, that kinda thing was past history. I can tell you right now, he'd have lobbied HARD for a "BEEF ONLY" forum. He'd have given lots of recipes out and requested many more, for things like game and foods that you can Set on Fire. :) He was a good writer. Like me, he wouldn't have adopted a persona; his own personality and life were interesting enough to keep it real, and he wasn't unduly concerned with hackers etcetera, but that may have more to do with his papa bein a computer genius who prolly had his and the kids' 'puters firewalled so well that the 16th Marine Division couldn't storm them. On the other hand, my dude was something of a hacker himself, back in the day when we barely knew words like that yet, having been named (along with about a million other defendants) in that suit about burning someone's music. I forget who; maybe a rapper, but for sure he didn't do it again without artist permission, until Free Music came along. That was his Oh Happy Day.
                                                                                    I'm rambling. All I wanted to do was say Thank you, but it's impossible once I get started.
                                                                                    ps - he had a really, really cool sense of humor. The night before he died, we were all encouraging him to look at the view, which was a true panorama of SF, thanks to the Family Comfort Suites at UCSF Med Center; he looked long at the person telling him all about it and said, "You think I haven't seen that view before?"

                                                                                  2. Hi Marci

                                                                                    There's nothing to be said to someone I only know on an internet board that won't sound trite.

                                                                                    But thoughts are with you and the family

                                                                                    From across the Pond, shalom aleichem.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                      thank you Harters. I was just thinking about you this morning.

                                                                                    2. Oh my dear mamachef, I didn't know until Harters just sent me the link. I knew you were dealing with an illness in the family; I didn't realize it was your #1 son.

                                                                                      My deepest sympathies to you and your family for your loss. And many gentle {{{hugs}}} for you. I hope remembering how you gave Mike joy with the food you prepared with such love for him throughout his life brings you some comfort in the months ahead.

                                                                                      I will raise my glass belatedly tonight to Mike, and to you, Marci, for being the rock he leaned upon at the end.

                                                                                      1. again, and always ((hugs)).

                                                                                        1. Spent a lovely afternoon with the family outdoors eating wonderful summer food with all the kids present when I raised my glass in memory of your son. They asked what iwas doing, I told them, and they all raised their glasses too.


                                                                                          1. my deepest condolences. I lost my father to leukemia and know how grueling and painful it can be. I will say a prayer tonight and am currently raising a glass to your son.

                                                                                            1. Wow, I had no idea this person you were asking for was your son. Knowing that just brings a whole new perspective. Thanks for sharing with us when you were ready. I am so very sorry for your loss, brave woman.

                                                                                              1. Thank you so much for sharing the sad news with us. There's nothing quite like the pain of losing one's child. I know if we could, we would all take on a little of your pain so as to relieve you.

                                                                                                1. Marci,
                                                                                                  I don't know you, yet I have read your postings. There are no word to express what you and your family are going through. It is good to have good friends and family around. The most important thing to remember at this time is to take care of yourself. We often forget about ourselves trying to take care of everyone else. I know, not losing a child, but just losing my sister and my nephew. These are hard times, but take it one day and sometimes one hour at a time. Just do what you feel is right for you and don't worry what other people say.
                                                                                                  My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I will have my husband make a prayer for him next shabbat.

                                                                                                  1. Marci, my sincere sympathies.

                                                                                                    1. Most sincere condolences. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss.

                                                                                                      1. Mamachef - I am so sorry to hear of the loss. I send you an electronic hug. As others have said p lease take care of yourself during this time. I don't know what else to say. We all send you you and your family love.

                                                                                                        1. I had no idea. Our condolences. We to have a 27 year old son, named Michael. I can empathize, but not feel you pain.

                                                                                                          1. You, a complete stranger, have impacted my life via this board more than once, and have often given me new perspective and have been an inspiration. I can only say how fortunate your son was to have such a beautiful person to call his mother.

                                                                                                            I cannot even fathom what you are going through, but I'm really, really sorry you're going through it.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                              My deepest sympathy to you and your family. May Michael's memory be a blessing.

                                                                                                            2. I respect and admire you so much through your posts. So, so sorry about your son. SO sorry {{{{{{{{mamachef}}}}}}}}}...hugs to you.

                                                                                                              We're all glad that you are still sharing "YOU" with us.

                                                                                                              1. I am so sorry mamachef!

                                                                                                                1. I just want to say, to the 'Hounds who didn't know about Mike (and I'm seeing that there were many that didn't know) but who took time to write me anyway:

                                                                                                                  How gracious and lovely you are. Just to have taken the time to reach out to me at this time lets me know that I was never once alone.

                                                                                                                  I was always reluctant to write about his struggles on this site, though I did refer to it openly from time to time and there were 'hounds who knew the details very early on, but that's another story. I didn't want my struggles and my pain to dominate my posts, didn't want to "dine out" on his illness. One thing he taught me very very early was to take his example - he was not "The 27- year-old-Kid-with-Cancer," he was Mike Thompson and he had many many facets. He did so many things during his bout, pretty much all the things he'd wanted to do. Unfortunately he did not get to Ireland during his time here, but I'd bet money he's at least seen it now. :) In the same way, I'm not just "The Mother of the Kid who Tragically got Cancer..." although it is a huge part of my life, I was never actually allowed to make it my only life. That wouldn't have been for the best for anybody. So we still did things, and I wrote about them and the other parts of my non-virtual life here, and it was all good.

                                                                                                                  Here's a few things to ponder, or snickers or whatever:

                                                                                                                  I went to the Dim Sum bar at the hospital cafeteria and got a large bowl of jook, and the lady in line asked me if I was Asian. (?) Not that I'd mind at all...Asian girls ar amazing...but take another look, honey.

                                                                                                                  "They" (his medical team) up and put Mike on a lowfat diet since his liver had checked out. Not in a "resting and will get better way," but checked OUT. I was like, Really? Reaaaaaaly? granted, he hasn't eaten in a month, and isn't going to eat this either, but lowfat? really?

                                                                                                                  **It was truly cool of the teams at UCSF to send baskets full of fruit, water, sun chips, popcorn, cookies and granola every single day. A lot of times that was lunch.

                                                                                                                  Anyhoo. Just thanks. Many times, I did my writing in the Family Suite or the Visitors' room, using WiFi kindly provided by UCSF.

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                    That kills me when they put people on diets which have no way of helping them.

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      I know, right? I mean, ok, if I'm allergic to peanuts, don't bring me any, but whaaaaa? I'll break down and admit that the reason it hosed me was because I enjoyed filling out the menus like things were normal, and then picking at his food when it came, and sometimes I could add enough stuff to make it really okay....you know, a few extra pats of butter does wonders to a platter of sliced turkey with potatoes. But...on a lowfat diet, that option's taken STRAIGHT out of your hands and they send you what you get, and nothing can be done about it. Boo hoo. The saving grace was the family fridge, which was stocked with super-decent turkey and tuna sandwiches available anytime.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                        My mother was told to cut out salt after she had a heart attack shortly before she died. One of the last things she said to me was: I'm trying to learn to enjoy an egg without salt. Kills me. Completely pointless!

                                                                                                                    2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                      I don't think of him as the 27 year old with cancer, from reading your posts. He sounds like he's the 27 year old who lived and loved/was loved more in his lifetime than many do in 80 years. I don't know if it helps you at all but I do enjoy reading what you're writing about him.

                                                                                                                      Dim sum in a hospital cafeteria--you are an adventurous eater!

                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                        chowser, yep, it does help to know that you're not sitting there going, "Oh, Jeezust, not another post where she whines about her son and talks about his trials...." seriously though, you're someone that i"ve followed around here and have been aware of, so thank you so much for your kind words. It does help. And that cafeteria was actually kind of a trip; 7 different stations encompassing everything from a panini station to stir-fries to fish and chips made before your eyes to the biggest, most comprehensive salad bar I'd ever seen. (Cheapo side-note: if you go in the cafeteria when they're closing and cleaning up the salad bar, you can take a premade salad and dress it up with everything left on the bar. This is fine when your original's a Chef's salad or a Cobb salad....just add tons more of the original ingredients, right? But not so good if it's Chinese chicken or marinated tofu salad; somehow bacos just don't fit with them. I was still happy to get my bargain salad though; it ended up being the World's Heaviest Cobb Salad,....do you remember when salad bars charged by the pound? And they weighed it AFTER dressing, the bastages. So my salads always ended up being in the 9-12 dollar range, and I felt forced to chase down every last garbanzo, because after all it was expensive. Anyhoo, I was still bouncing around under the impression that I'd gotten a 20-buck (by weight, anyway) salad for 5.50, when I saw the sign on the salad bar: Small container, 3.50, large $6.00. As long as the top closes, it's all good. Sigh.

                                                                                                                    3. Oh, my heart goes out to you! My sincere condolences to you and your family. I'm so glad you are holding your son's memory in such a lovely way.

                                                                                                                      I read your post just before my #1 came over to spend the day, and as the two of us sat down for a favorite lunch, I couldn't help but relate your loss. T. listened, and thought, then (being a man of few words), said "That's a good mom. <pause> And a lucky kid." He lifted his beer, and said "Shall we?" *Clink.* To your Michael. Then the boy winced and looked at his beer and said "We just toasted with Surly "Furious;" do you think it's appropriate? I told him I would think so, and we clinked again.

                                                                                                                      You're a Good Mom. And Michael a lucky kid. Best thoughts to you.


                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                        cayjohan, how lucky you are. Thank you so very much for your beautiful words. I felt like a very good mom for being able to help him out of the world, if it had to happen at all.
                                                                                                                        Your beer was perfectly appropriate. Thanks for the toasts. On an ironic note, Mike's fave beer at a local pasta house was "Death&Taxes" so Surly "Furious" sounds perfect as well. I mean really, nobody's too happy about this, so why not?

                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                          I lament your sad circumstance, but I celebrate your absolutely beautiful attitude! (We in our family have some similar circumstances, and find *attitude* our saving grace.) Personally, your posts have reminded me why I continue (through all my bitchin' and #$%^& flingin') to cook for all these people in my life, who alternately flummox, infuriate...and enchant and enrich me. Love can be Furious sometimes - I both suppose, and personally believe - and I'm glad for that.

                                                                                                                          As an aside, you and I exchanged thoughts on spinach pancakes sometime back...and that's serendipitously the lunch my son and I shared in clinking. Some things indelibly sit in our minds. Put this in your Michael basket: somewhere in Saint Paul someone will be making spinach pancakes and thinking reflexively about your son. Thanks for that odd little connection.

                                                                                                                          And live Furiously (in all the best ways). You're an inspiration.


                                                                                                                      2. I don't post often, but I have always enjoyed the humor and wisdom (not to mention love) that was always present in your posts. My heart, prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. Bless you all.

                                                                                                                        1. I'm coming late to the table here but wanted to share one of my first experiences of Mamachef. My own mother was ill, dying, last fall, and MC extended herself, emailed, called out to me to offer her help (we live near each other) a meal, a shoulder to cry on, etc., even through her own vale of tears! The big-hearted offer astounded me, though of course there were others here too who made their kind wishes known (we have SUCH a good community here, despite some time petty quibbles and differences of opinion.) MC then and now was a hero of mine. We have not yet met, but we WILL, and it will be a meeting of joy and deliciousness (food will be et! drinks will be quaffed!), and I'll be sure to personally give her all the virtual hugs you all have bestowed upon her here.

                                                                                                                          1. Marci -- I had no idea. You and your family are in my deepest thoughts and prayers. Michael sounds like a man after my own heart...Sr. Swanky is much like him: A man with a great sense of humor, likes a good hard drink now and then, and a gift for writing. As a mom of 2 boys now (2 1/2 years and 1 month), I only hope I can convey my love for life and good food that you have done with yours. You carry yourself beautifully. Sending love from NY - wishing you comfort and may all the love and support continue to give you strength. Hubby and I will raise a glass of Old Number 7 for Mike tonight. :o)

                                                                                                                            1. mamachef

                                                                                                                              I did not know of this sad information until reading this just now.

                                                                                                                              first a glass held high to Michael as well as to the family that raised such a fine son.

                                                                                                                              there are not proper words to say at a time like this, nothing can comfort when a heart is sad or heavy. remembering his laughter and strengths as well as how you felt around him and the things you loved most will soften a moment in time of need, atleast I pray they do.

                                                                                                                              my heart is heavy for you as all others here are also. most of us probably have kids ourselves.

                                                                                                                              I won't go there in my own heart regarding mine and thank God for them each and every day as they are truly His gift.

                                                                                                                              I am so very sorry for your loss, and truly hope peace and comfort I pray come your way

                                                                                                                              1. I am so so sorry for your loss. I do want to encourage you to be good to yourself in the coming months. May you feel the blessings of your son's love every day. God bless.

                                                                                                                                1. Aloha, Marci:

                                                                                                                                  I am sorry for your loss. I can tell your Mike was a lucky son to have such a caring makuahine for 27 years. We Hawai'ians have a belief that even though a loved one may not be with us any longer in body (kino), their spirit bodies (uhane), a kind of higher consciousness, often stay with us for a long time, sometimes to care for and guide us. Whenever we think fondly of someone--departed or not--we tie ourselves to them with bonds of affection (aka cords). May these bonds of yours to Mike never be broken.

                                                                                                                                  What was Mike's favorite dish? Perhaps you can share it with us, and he can live on like Potatoes Anna, or Tart Tatin.

                                                                                                                                  You Hang In There,

                                                                                                                                  1. Mamachef, just want to add my condolences to you and your family, wishing you all a long healthy life and beautiful memories.

                                                                                                                                    1. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. May your pain be eventually tempered and your memories fill you up.

                                                                                                                                      1. So sorry to hear about your son. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

                                                                                                                                        1. I had no idea, mamachef, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

                                                                                                                                          1. Belated but sincere condolences to you and your family. I'm so sorry for your loss.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                              All these thoughts and wonderful words of encouragement have been a true saving grace in the past month and a half. Thank you once again, fellow CH-ers. You have made some very bad days more than bearable.

                                                                                                                                            2. I just saw this Marci....I am so very sorry to hear of your loss!! ~~ At this late date I just wanna hug ya

                                                                                                                                              1. I am so very sorry mama, my heart goes out to you :
                                                                                                                                                warm hug ..

                                                                                                                                                1. Mamachef, my glass is raised to you and your family!

                                                                                                                                                  1. I've been following these posts since they started, mamachef, and have also been impressed with your other posts on chowhound. Not least of which having to do with end of life diet-I'm in a position where I recommend diets to some people who have a while yet, but also some people who have a short time. Your remarks about your son have really inspired me. I still have to make a safety recommendation, but I am not above mentioning that if I had approximately 6 weeks left, and the thing that made me happiest in this world was an RC Cola (true story of one patient) I would drink one each day too. I am impressed with your disgust with the low-fat diet, even though I understand that legally it has to be recommended, but also by your attempts to share with your son even the smallest bites of the most delicious food.

                                                                                                                                                    I guess the shortish story is that I have been following your story for a while, and my heart goes out to you. Not only do you seem to miss your beautiful son, but it touches me that you recognize his imperfection and still love him madly and want(ed) to create the best possible environment for him, and now to hold on to the best memories you can. As an imperfect daughter, wife, daughter, sister, and stepmother myself, I can't imagine a better tribute.

                                                                                                                                                    1. wow, i had no idea the illness was so close to home, so close to your heart. next time i'm out I will definitely down a shot for mike (and one for those who care and grieve for him too.)

                                                                                                                                                      1. i'm so embarrassed at the belatedness of my posting, but even two months later...

                                                                                                                                                        i'd give you the world, but all i have is my heart. i hope that the warmth of his memories wrap round your soul, just as your love, warmth, and generosity no doubt did his.

                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                          Emme. Aw, honey. Thank you. Just........thank you, dear girl.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef


                                                                                                                                                            btw, did you by any chance see the blogger in Jennie's Kitchen http://www.injennieskitchen.com/2011/... that did a bake-out for the sudden loss of her husband? Maybe we could do a Chowhound bakeout to celebrate #1 Son... perhaps something we can set on fire, sit out and enjoy the view, and raise a glass to Michael and you Marci...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                              I would SO do that. Oh Hell to the yeah. Big Bonfire; food. Freaking marvelous. And he would be there - he does come around, and I can feel him just as surely as I can hear the music on the radio.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                {{{{{{mamachef}}}}}} The love in our hearts keeps them near. Always.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  Darlin LindaWhit. Thank you my dear. Your insights and thoughts and terrific food writing have inspired me more than once. J'Adore.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                  i have the same with a few relatives/pets... the warmth, the feeling, unmistakable.

                                                                                                                                                                  name a dish, name a time frame... we can all make and post pics of our tribute :)

                                                                                                                                                          2. How are you doing, Marci? I'm glad to see you actively posting your words of wisdom these days.

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                              chowser: Thank you, buddy. It's good to be back - this here forum really saved my life and sanity more than once, and it feels good to feel well enough to be back and interacting with my food loving buddies! Healing; it's slow. It changes daily. But I do have enough hope to hope that the light is still at the end of the tunnel. Thank you. I miss him so much.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                It would provide him much comfort, I'm sure, that you're finding some comfort somewhere. It sounds like you raised a special person.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I just read this today. I had wondered where you'd been. I am so very sorry for your loss. We will all say a blessing for your son.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Oh, mamachef, I just ran across this--and extend my very belated condolences. I am so sorry for your loss.
                                                                                                                                                                Everyone here has said it much better than I can, but what has come through loud and clear here is what an awesome son #1 was, what an awesome "mama" you are, what an awesome family you have. Mike was obviously well-loved and knew it, and I hope you take great comfort from that.
                                                                                                                                                                I lift a virtual glass to his memory and to a time, for your family, when memory trumps pain.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you ALL so very much. It makes me so happy that I was able to write honestly enough to give people a real picture of my darling. I asked his permission to write about him, and it was fine with him - with the caveat that he didn't want me to write anything that would make people feel sorry for him. So that was my goal. Again and again, thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Belated condolences from me as well. I've benefited from your advice on the Home Cooking board countless times but didn't know of your loss until now.
                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you for posting and sharing your wisdom.
                                                                                                                                                                  My thoughts are with you.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Marci, I knew nothing of this until today, Sept. 9. I'm so sorry. I was a #1 son, and I know how my mother would have taken it if I had died first. This time of year is the anniversary of her death, so reading this thread was perhaps a little bit sadder than it might have been earlier. My best to you.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                      Jay F: I've so enjoyed our interactions on another board, and what a dear you are, to write to me here. It's been a very long couple of months, and you have helped me along enourmously.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Per some lovely suggestions on this thread, we have decided to throw a little party for what would've been Mike's 28th birthday. Falling under the heading of "things you can set on fire", we have a China Caja and are doing a half-pig roast taco party in his honor. I hope you will all raise a glass with us. Peace of Heart to you all. Things are getting better.
                                                                                                                                                                      Love, Marci

                                                                                                                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                        What a wonderful idea. i'm so happy to hear you're on a road to caring for, if not outright healing, so many wounds...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                          sounds like a genuine and positive step towards healing after the roller coaster of a year you've had.

                                                                                                                                                                          I wish I was a RL friend, geographically nearby. I'd bring the wood for the fire.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                            on behalf of all mamachef's well-wishers, i'm going to see to it she has at least one good evening with good wine and food - we have a dinner date at the end of the month! happy to be the ambassador bringing Marci everyone's best...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                              Honeychile, I wouldn't want to do it with anybody else. :) (finally).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                mc, please give mamachef a hug from ALL of us here on CH - and all should be individual hugs. That should take several months. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                Enjoy the good wine and good food and good friends, to BOTH mcs. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  Linda, you're a livin' doll. Thank you for the love.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                I wish you were too, Hill food!! And I'd gladly accept that offering of wood! Wish you could ALL be with us for that day. Rumor has it that #2 son will be breaking out some of his homemade brewski for the occasion. God knows I hope it's better than the last batch!!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, I'd totally show up, too. I'd make a batch of chicken en saor.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you Jay!! And you would be so welcome, as would that marvelous chicken dish (Sephardic, right?) which I finally did make and it was loved universally (or at least by the 8 people who dined that evening.) Awesome!!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think so. Venice is one of the places the Sephardim went after 1492, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I made it so many times for memorial services in the 1980s and '90s. Either that or a red potato salad with fresh herbs that gets either a vinaigrette or a half mayo/half sour cream dressing, depending.

                                                                                                                                                                                      They're both good company dishes, whether you're at the sad cafe or the glad cafe.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                        I served mine with savory kugel, but your way is next; esp. the mayo/cream dressing - oh, and some braised greens with a small handful of raisins and a splash of good vinegar to pick up the main dish flavors w/o mimicking them.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I still have to laugh, though: a pig roast for my darling Jewish son's memorial birthday party. Not that we don't eat of the swine, but it IS kinda ironic, wouldn't you say?

                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                Consider my glass lifted, high. Happier times ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                  Fortuitously, I just received some sparklers today that I'd ordered -- so we're heading out back with glasses of wine and some tinkly fire to honor Mike, you, your husband. You're such a bright light for us here on CH. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                                                                                    You're a living doll, Duchess. Thank you so much; it makes me happy to think about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                    And joy to you all during Mike's birthday celebration. He will be with you all in spirit, I'm sure. :::Glass raised::::

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. sadly there is no instant recipe for what you are going thru. you are going to have to gather up all the loose ends, cuttings and trimmings, and season it well with the love and affection of those who care, throw in some wine to bring out the flavors, and thicken the sauce with your memories. then let it simmer slowly for a long time. eventually life will taste good again, but nothing can substitute for the time it takes for the recipe to work.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                      Beautiful. And in true Chowhound form, recipe-style!!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                          Very nice. And, when you start with a good base, like mamachef has, the results are spectacular.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Friends and community: I've just been told that this thread is being locked because of it's (de-)volution into talking more about food than this site actually permits for this arena, and I understand their reasoning. I am grateful that they gave me a last chance to thank you all again for the love and support you have all given me so gracefully, even these many months later. You have absolutely NO idea how many arms I have felt around me, many many times over, and how much that has meant to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                          With all the love and thanks in the world,
                                                                                                                                                                                          Marci (mamachef)