Monday, March 11, 2013

Memento Mori

(Edited to add this picture I took last weekend: the clock on the side of the Dominican church in Alsace.)

 One of my boyfriend's favorite bloggers likes to post and remind people that they could die at any time, or the end of the world could come, and to tell them to go to confession just in case. Such posts make me squirm a little bit (because I am usually overdue for confession anyway) and then rely on statistics. If the end of the world hasn't happened yet, chances it will happen in the next 60 or 70 years are quite slim, and chances it will come in the next few weeks are almost null.

Then something changed in my life, which made me stop and think twice. I stopped eating gluten. This had been some time coming, as I have been having many medical problems which can be caused by a gluten intolerance, but the actual decision was pretty much a spur of the moment thing. I had had what should have been a lovely evening--chips, a movie, and a bottle of beer with Kevin. But it wasn't a lovely evening, because I somehow acquired a terrible stomachache, which stuck around for the next 36 hours. I felt perfectly fine, until I had the chips (which had claimed to be healthy, because they were made of, yes, wheat) and the beer (which of course is also made from wheat). To me, that was enough for me to give going gluten-free a shot. And so, just like that, with no warning, I stopped eating gluten.

While it's too early to tell for sure, I think it has been helping. I have not had a stomachache since then. I will be testing in a week or two by deliberately eating some gluten and seeing what happens, but I suspect that I will be sticking with this gluten-free diet. No more pasta. No more donuts, or bread, or pastries. No more granola bars, or flavored chips, or beer. No more pretzels, or muesli yogurt, or soy sauce. I won't miss all of these things equally, of course. Soy sauce, pasta, beer, pretzels, and paprika chips will be the things I miss most, I think. It may be possible to find substitutes for some of them.

In retrospect, though, this does give me pause. Every day I think of one more kind of food that I like and will probably never eat again. I didn't know, when eating these things for the last time, that it was the last time. I had no idea. If I had known, I would have done things differently. I would have savored them more, and said my goodbyes to them. But I didn't know, and I didn't prepare, and I wasn't ready to leave. But I had to leave anyway, and so I left unprepared.

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