Life Goes On…Chex Mix Helps

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This article was supposed to be about Chex Mix.  Specifically, Mom’s Chex Mix . . . the BEST recipe, which, true to my mom, has many little steps she’s honed over the years for the perfect recipe.  We wore our favorite comfy loungewear and spent the afternoon baking.  But I’ve been finding it hard to write this post.  I kept thinking “Do I write about Chex Mix??  Do I write about loungewear?”  I do love Chex Mix (especially my mom’s version) and some good loungewear, but these pictures were taken the day before my Dad died . . . the last time I saw him.  And I can’t bring myself to write about anything else.

The craziest thing about Dad’s death was that the world didn’t stop.  I mean, we obviously knew it wouldn’t.  It didn’t stop on 9/11 and it didn’t stop on Valentine’s Day after 17 lives were taken way too soon . . . life just goes on.  That’s almost the cruelest thing about it.  The world continues to turn, but all of a sudden it’s a very different world.  And for those of us who have lost someone we love – whether it’s a parent, a child, a sibling, a spouse – we have to learn how to navigate the world with this reality that life will never be the same.  We have to continue living our lives with this invisible, painful hole in our hearts.

Dad isn’t in any of these pictures, but he was there, sitting in his favorite chair, when they were taken. We were laughing about silly things and Mom would go over and ruffle his hair every so often like she always did.  Greenlea got to play with “Bapa” and I gave him a kiss on the cheek and said “love you Dad!” on my way out.

The next evening mom texted me “he’s not breathing” when I was driving to an appointment.  I called her as soon as I checked my phone, asked her if she’d called 911 (she had) and said I’d be right over.  The drive to their apartment building was just over a mile but it seemed to take forever.  When I pulled into their parking lot I saw cop cars, an ambulance and a firetruck.  I parked haphazardly and ran into the building, seeing EMTs walking down the stairs carrying a stretcher as I was running up.  My first thought was “Oh good, it was a false alarm.” 

But when I walked into the apartment and saw Mom, I knew.  I don’t know if I asked or if she told me, but I held her while she sobbed.  My mom, who rarely cried, was sobbing in my arms.  There were a ton of people in the apartment (cops, EMT’s, neighbors) and I remember asking one of them if I could see my dad.  I went into the room and saw him lying face-down on the bed.  It wasn’t until I went over and touched his hand and rubbed his back that the tears came.  I remember saying “Dad!” over and over again like it could bring him back.  Mom joined me at some point, kneeling next to his body, weeping, and It was such an intimate moment that I wasn’t sure what to do . . . whether to go over and comfort her or give her time alone with the love of her life.  Her raw cries of “Willie!” will stay with me forever. 

That night we sat around the table in shock, not really knowing what to do.  I stayed at mom’s that night but neither of us slept much.  The next morning was hard.  The sun rose just the same but it was the first morning that Dad didn’t come out of his room, give Mom a hug and tell her he loved her.  The following days were a blur of funeral-planning, eulogy-writing, crying, looking at pictures, laughing (yes, lots of laughter) and figuring out what comes next.  (We’re still working on that last part.)  This is when you’re so thankful for friends who love you . . . and you let them carry you through.  They offer to watch the kids, to run errands, to send dinner, and to be there with open arms when you need to cry.  It’s the love of others (family, friends, community, even strangers) that really, truly, carries you through.  “Thank you” just doesn’t seem enough, but we will never forget the outpouring of love we received – including many of your comments and kind words.  So thank you.  So much.

I wanted to share these words I came across when I was looking through Dad’s old presentation notes.  To a group of high school students, he wrote:

“You have been blessed with many abilities—this is God’s gift to you.  However, your challenge is what you do with your abilities—that will be your gift to God.  Will you go on to make the most of your talents? Will you work to make the world a better place for all?  I would like to suggest that along with your abilities comes a responsibility to use your skills to their greatest potential — to live your life to the fullest.”

This really is how Dad lived his life . . . and I think it’s a pretty inspiring legacy to have left behind.

Wearing:

Free People Kyoto Legging (size medium)

Sweatshirt (sold out, similar here and here)

Third Love Lace Racerback Bra

UGG Slippers

Mom Wearing:

Free People Kyoto Legging (size small)

Sweatshirt (similar here and here – both on sale)

Third Love Classic T-Shirt Bra

G wearing:

Leopard Costume (tail is detachable . . . H&M makes the cutest costumes)

Skirt (on sale for $6)

For the record, here is my mom’s famous Chex Mix Recipe . . . she has the baking times down to a science so everything stays crispy.  Try it, it’s delicious.

Tina’s Chex Mix

Ingredients

Amounts

Rice Chex

4 cups

Corn Chex

4 cups

Pretzels

1 ½ Cups (GF for Shana)

Cheerios

1 Cup

Cashews or mixed nuts

1 cup

Butter/Oil

3 T / 1 T

Worcestershire Sauce

3 T – heaping tablespoons

Directions:

250 Oven

Melt butter in 9 x 13 pan; add oil & Worcestershire sauce; (you may add sprinkling of onion powder and garlic powder); rewarm slightly

Add chex mix only to melted butter and stir; bake for 15 minutes

Add Pretzels, stir; add nuts, stir and bake for 15 minutes

Bake addition 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

Add salt liberally after total baking time, stirring to distribute salt.

 

XOXO,

Scotti

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Meet Scotti, the contributor with our most-loved beauty advice. When Scotti's not giving us the scoop on the latest products and techniques she's dishing out some of TME's most loved looks. It's not easy to look so cute in the U.P. of Michigan (i.e. crazy cold and snow) but she always makes it happen.

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23 Comments

  1. Oh Scotti….this is beautiful…I would hug you if I could…My prayers and thoughts are with your family…Your Dad sounds like an amazing Dad…like your mom is amazing….I am so happy to see such a beautiful family…xoxoxox

    • Thanks so much for sharing. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad & Mom & all they built together. Your beautiful post will allow your beautiful family to touch even more lives than you already have.

  2. I’ll be honest, Scotti, I couldn’t finish reading your beautiful prose. It hits so close to home, especially as I approach the 9th anniversary of my mom’s death. All I can say is, I’m so sorry for your loss. Life indeed goes on, and you’ll somehow manage to continue with life’s minutia even though there’s a gaping hole in your heart. Your dad sounded like one great man. I’ll probably be back for this Chex recipe.

  3. Oh Scotti and Shana. I join the rest of the loving group of us who ache along with you in the loss of your father. And what a massive loss it is. The pictures of you and your beautiful, awesome mom are inspiring — and also painful and poignant — and also so full of life and love. All. The. Things.

    Wish I could give you all a huge hug. Blessings and prayers and good vibes your way and Shana’s way and your brother’s way your amazing mom’s way.

    I love hearing about your dad. His legacy absolutely, unquestionably lives on in all of you and all of the students in his school and all of his friends and loved ones.

    Thank you and Shana too for gifting all of us with what you both have shared, and will continue to share.

    Peace, joy and love to all of you guys in your great loss. xo

  4. Scottie- Your words literally took my breath away. I lost my mom 2 1/2 years ago, it’s a gnawing pain that never goes away, but with time it dims to a dull ache. Your dad’s kegacy will live on with you, Shana, your mom and your children. My heart goes out to you in this time of grief and finding your way through to the other side. Hoping that remembering all the wonderful things that defined your dad will give you strength and peace. Hold the memories in your heart. The pictures of you, your beautiful mom and precious little G are so sweet. Xo’s from a loyal reader.

  5. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been following the blog for 7 years and my own father died on January 10th. I was worried it was too soon for me to read something like this. But I so appreciate your sharing. I relate so much to your experience in the moment of realization that your dad was gone, and the strangeness of waking up to the first new day without him in the world. Thank you again.

  6. Thank you for writing this. I, too, lost my dad suddenly and unexpectedly 4 years ago. Similarly, I got the call that something was wrong and rushed to my mom and upon seeing her knew he was gone. I will never forget that moment. It is just terrible. I’m praying for you, and holding space as you grieve and lament and learn this new normal. It’s the worst. The first year sucks the most. Seeing a counselor helps. Watching your mom grieve will be unbearable. Bearing it with your sister will help too. XOXO, Colleen

  7. I am so, so sorry. Mine died two years ago in July and some days are still so hard. Take time to grieve, in whatever way works for you. Praying for you, Shana, and your mom to have comfort and peace.

  8. That was so beautifully written. I felt all of your pain and love and bewilderment. Sometimes I feel grief so deeply that I can’t process what I’m actually going through. Reading this was a big, “YES…this. This is what it’s like.” Thank you for sharing and I am so very sorry for your loss.

  9. Thank you for sharing intimate family moments with us. Thank you for being real. It was beautifully written. Your parents “did good” raising you and Shana. 🙂

  10. Elizabeth Rafter on

    I had to stop reading half way through because your beautiful words hit a little too close to home. We lost our dad about a year and a half ago. I felt like I had to figure out my new identity or something. It’s difficult to describe how it feels. I do know that it’s important to be there for each other, and more than anything, for you mom. Her whole life has been changed more than anyone else’s. Good luck to all of you. You’re in my thoughts!

  11. What a great tribute. I lost my Dad 11 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, see or hear something I’d love to talk to him about or am reminded of him in some way. At first these moments were hard but as time went on they became easier and they make me smile. Be there for your Mom, talk about him often … and keep making Chex mix because it helps!

      • February 22nd is also my dad’s birthday. He would have been 74 today. He died unexpectedly almost 3 years ago, and while it gets easier, I still miss him so much. We are about to start renovating our house, and I know my dad, who owned a construction company, would have loved hearing all about the reno. Scotti and Shana, I’m sending love to you and to your family and to all of the people who commented who have lost a parent. It’s a crappy club to belong to, but there are many people who understand what you’re going through.

  12. You guys, thank you . . . like Megan said, it’s a crappy club to belong to, but there ARE lots of people who have been through it and know what we’re feeling. This was a cathartic article for me to write and helped me to move off of square one. Thank you for the comments, the prayers, the support . . . each one brings us a little bit of comfort and peace. They are so appreciated. What a community we have here! Much love to you all.

  13. Dear sweet people. Life marches on while time stands still or even goes backwards! We reach for memories & try so hard to make them real even though we know time is way ahead of us! We try so hard to dream of our loved ones but it’s not something we can make happen! All we can do is thank God for the time we had with this person & pray that someday he will greet us with open arms & say “where have you been?” My heart goes out to you, especially my dear ole friend Tina, hugs & more hugs!!

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