Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tear Soup: A book about grief

Here it is. What you've all been waiting for (besides that Taco Soup recipe). (You might want to grab a tissue.)

Tear Soup is a story of a woman named Grandy who faced a loss by setting out to make her own tear soup. Most people these days went straight for "soup in a can" but Grandy had tasted someone else's tear soup after a great loss and decided that quicker wasn't always better.

She new she needed a large pot. One that had room for all the memories, all the misgivings, all the feelings and all the tears needed to stew in the pot over time. She put her apron on because she new it would get messy. People feel misunderstood, feelings get hurt and wrong assumptions are made all over the place. The hard thing is grief always takes longer to cook than anyone wants it to.

First Grandy would cry, then sob, then sometimes weep quietly. Even some wailing if no one was around. Unfortunately Grandy new that she would have to make most of the soup alone. Most people just wouldn't be comfortable with how many tears the recipe called for this time. She wold just look into her pot of memories knowing she would repeat this task many times during the next few months.

She made many trips to the pot to stir in precious memories and not so precious ones until, eventually, she ran out of things to add. There were no words to describe her pain. She would look out the window and see the world moving on around her. So many would try to comfort her with different things but all she needed was a hug. Sometimes she would have folks hurry past pretending not to notice she had tear soup brewing. Most could only handle a little sample of her tear soup. The giant bowls, where she could repeatedly share her sadness, were left for a few willing friends.

Grandy did find some comforting things. There was a friend that was willing to stay around through it all and just listen. Sometimes she added some comfort foods to her pot just to get past the lump in her throat.

Even thought Grandy was mad at God, she trusted God. sometimes she would yell at him and ask questions like "why?" but she kept reminding herself to be thankful for all her emotions.

Grandy and her husband did not make their soup the same way. Grandy thought his should be a little sweeter but he disagreed. He often ate his soup alone.

Some were impatient about Grandy finishing her soup. Some of Grandy's friends had not tended to their pots of soup and they boiled over and scorched. It took them a long time to clean up their messes and start over and some of their houses still smell a little like burnt soup.

Sometimes Grandy would take a break from her soup making. She found new friends who were making their own pot and they became a comfort to Grandy. One of the hardest parts was deciding that she might be able to eat something other than tear soup all the time. Eventually the hardest part of making tear soup ended and she was able to stick it in the freezer and pull it out from time to time to have a little taste.

Grandy learned that, just like soup, grief changes the longer it simmers and the more things you put into it. She also learned that there is something down deep within all of us ready to help us survive the things we think we can't survive.

This book has even more good morsels in it that can only come from reading it. You can find it on Amazon but it is a little expensive... It gave me so much insight into the grief process that I am going through and so many people around me. I am grateful for my parents who gave us this book. It's always good to feel loved and thought about!

Tear Soup is written by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen


Debby McCrary said...


As Adam's Aunt, I hate this process of making tear soup, never have been a good cook,like Kathy, but this recipe really has us stumped. Thanks for sharing!


Chezam said...

I really liked that book when I read it quickly in Oklahoma. I hope others will trust your recommendation... thanks Jen!

Mark Wiebe said...

That sounds like a great book. thanks for sharing it with us; I honestly really needed exactly that today, as a frozen block of it seems to have fallen out of the freezer and onto my foot.

kaydub said...

Deep sigh.

Ben said...

Aiden turned five today. It's been hard for me to think about anything but the fact that Adam was one of the first people to see Aiden when he was born. I wish my thoughts would have been about other things today.

Aiden has been in rare form, though. He has made me laugh countless times with his off the wall, very serious, comments. I am so proud of him and grateful that my little man is here with me.

Priscilla said...

Thank you for posting about this book. I know how much it meant to my sister when Dave died. And I know I should read it again as we are grieving one of our teens right now who died Monday after a 2 year battle with cancer. Thanks Jen.

marmme said...

Priscilla, your sister is the one who introduced this book to me - how cool that it has come full circle.
Every time i read it, something different touches me. What a blessing.

Marta said...

thanks for this post Jen. I'd like to read this book myself. Think I'll go out and find it.

Happy Birthday to Aiden! Can't believe he is five!

Talked to Kyle and I think May 11-13 will work for us if it still works for y'all. Let me know.