Dealing with a loss is never easy, be it small or large. But the loss of a loved one is something very few of us are prepared for. Rochelle Trotter, wife of famed Chef Charlie Trotter, faced this loss with the death of her husband in 2013, but she chose to embrace her grief rather than run from it. With strength, a list of goals, and some delicious mashed potatoes, she’s telling us how important it is to start a new chapter in your life…
Everyone experiences loss and set back in life. What are some initial ways to take that first step forward?
I am so grateful to have a strong spiritual foundation. The first step is to be totally honest and acknowledge your loss, and allow yourself to mourn. I’ve seen too many people who try to just ignore it and stuff it away and it always manifests in another way. Be brave enough to be honest about the loss and acknowledge the loss…that is the first step towards moving on.
Once you make that first step, do you set a goal for each day? Each week? Each month in order to keep going?
For me personally I set a goal every day. Honestly, for me it was as simple as “get out of the bed today before noon…” Or, “take a shower today.” I’m brutally honest so even small things like “put on makeup today and go out to lunch.” If people are really open to being honest about their recovery from a tragic loss then I think more would be willing to share what worked for them. I prayed hard every day/all day for the STRENGTH to operate moment by moment knowing that he wouldn’t be there with me.
Your family is known for food! What is your comfort food in times of trouble?
Any sort of potato. In fact my husband and I loved potatoes so much we contemplated writing an entire book about potatoes. My most favorite is buttermilk mashed potatoes…ooh, made with HEAVY CREAM added! The best!
What is your choice food for celebrating a success?
My most favorite celebration food is smoked salmon…any way…it’s the absolute best.
What is the most important piece of advice you have ever received?
“Learn to live debt free. By being debt free you can control your own destiny and don’t have to remain in any situation because you need to pay the bills. Debt free is a form of overall freedom.”
This from my parents who struggled growing up in the South. I have patterned my entire life around this concept and it truly has saved me in multiple situations. It allows for totally integrity.
What is next on your list of accomplishments to achieve?
Complete 50 marathons/half marathons by age 50 (or at least in the year 2016 which is when I turn 50)!
Why is it important to always keep moving forward?
Every day is an opportunity to realize something – no matter how small or large. It could just be a day that you find you are being a source of encouragement for someone else, or a day you discover a new passion in life. Life truly is a gift and I am a living witness that getting stuck works for NO ONE. It is defeat. Move ahead, one minute at a time…and always always find a reason to SMILE. It really is food for the soul!