It is hard to believe that nine months has passed since my mom’s death. Her absence is so strong and I miss her deeply. I just celebrated my first birthday without her. That was strange. I am here on this earth because of her, yet she is not. I just found that to be a weird feeling. I did not get a phone call from her wishing me a happy birthday, nor did I get to request a special dessert; a long standing tradition. I made my own birthday dessert using peaches picked at Sauvie Island. I spent my birthday in the woods, enjoying one of my favorite camping spots with people I love dearly. I reflected on birthdays of the past and memories of my mom.
This post is dedicated to my mom, who could make any dessert absolutely delicious. I appreciate you in ways I never realized when you were living. I miss your unconditional love. I miss your ability to just listen without trying to fix anything. I miss everything about you including your fantastic desserts, even though I couldn’t eat most of them. Love was laced through out every dish you made whether it was sweet or savory. I love you dearly and miss you profoundly. I feel the loss of you in everything I do. I grieve for you and I grieve for my kids, who also struggle with their own heartache around the loss of their beloved gramma (G’ma). I feel their loss along with my own. Even though they are both adults, I still want to remove the pain of your leaving. I guess that is just the mom thing…..always wanting your kids to be well regardless of their age. I know you know what I am talking about, mom. You held the pain of all of your kids when any of us struggled; I know you did. I know you were close by for my birthday. I felt your presence as I stared at the star lit sky. I imagine you would even try and hold my pain for you leaving here. You were just that way; never wanting any of us to hurt. I made my own birthday dessert while thinking of our peach picking adventures in my childhood. I loved the orchards we visited, always excited to take that first juicy bite into a fresh picked peach.
I chose my birthday dessert for a few reasons. We had peaches that needed to be used. We were going out of town so I wanted something easy to make and transport. I had a gluten free cake mix (Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix) sitting in the cupboard for months. The end result was a peach dump cake.
It was pretty good, although the cake mix had a rather gritty texture. I do not generally buy boxed cake mixes, but if I recall, this was a super deal and I wanted to just give it a try to see what it was like. Everyone who tried it thought it was fabulous. I made a coconut whip cream as topping. Delicious!
I peeled and sliced four peaches and lined the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with them. I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar over them then dumped the dry cake mix over the top along with a bit of water (about 1/2 cup). I topped it with a mix of chopped nuts (cashews, almonds and walnuts), then sprinkled a little more cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar over that. I melted about 1/8 cup of Earth Balance spread (soy free kind) and drizzled it over across the top of the cake then baked it in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.
Happy birthday to me! This was the first birthday for me that I celebrated you mom, along with me. Thank you mom for giving me life. As I sit here staring out at the ocean on one of my last out of town trips of the summer, I feel your presence. You loved the beach and each time I am here I know you are close. I wonder if you can feel me when I think of you. I hope you can feel my love. You are missed.