Dangerous Compassions

pistachio butter


I did something that was a really big deal.  There was this pistachio butter.  I bought it in Lompoc at a farmers market with Ming and my mom.  Back when she was well and could do stuff, around two and a half years ago.

I ate almost none of the pistachio butter, and it sat in the fridge.   Second shelf, on the right.  But I dreaded throwing it out.  In fact I would cry, to realize that I had to throw it out.

We bought it full of hope.  Back when Mama could drive, walk from a parking lot to a farmers market, admire things, talk with me, walk back to her car like it was nothing.  How completely things change.

I decided to bury the pistachio butter.  Carefully I read the label–it didn’t seem to contain salt.  So I made a plan to dig a hole in the garden and bury the pistachio butter, then wash the jar and keep the jar.

It was hard to do.  Ming was on a zoom meeting.  I got dressed, took a spoon from the drawer, and marched outside.


The trowel is kept at the foot of a mesquite tree; we share it with an elder in the back house.  So I got the trowel, and an elder smoking a cigarette asked, “Whatcha got?”

“Just doing some gardening,” I said.  We spoke briefly of White Cat, who was on the roof under the solar panel.

Then someone who lives in Freedom House called out to me.  “How are you doing, Laura-Marie?”

“I’m ok!” I said.  Usually the courtyard is quiet.  It was a busy morning.  Someone new is moving in, so there was excitement of preparing.

I was chitchatting with him, holding the trowel, pistachio butter, and the spoon for scooping it out.  Full of grief and determination.


Dug the hole, dug it more.  Scooped pistachio butter into it.  It looked kind of like poop.  Dug another hole and scooped the rest of the pistachio butter into it.  Buried it.  I said a prayer for the soul of my mom, and loss of the hopefulness.

Then I got a bag of soil and sprinkled soil over the spot.  I sprinkled soil in the Guanyin bed too.  I didn’t mean to use up the whole bag, but more fell out than I intended, and I let it.

Nobody understands how this pistachio butter could make me feel horrible.  Well, maybe now you have some sense.  We loved to go to farmers markets.  The Lompoc one, the big one in Arroyo Grande.  That was one of our favorite things to do.  To see the fruits, veg, flowers.  We could be among people but not get into huge conversations or have demands upon us.

Everything like this hurts so much.  Yes, she is really dead.  Yes, I lose the pistachio butter, and I lose her, over and over again.  The objects mean too much because it all means too much.  The meaning spills where it doesn’t belong.

Then making enchiladas, similar pain.


That’s why I’m panicking off and on all day and not returning messages.  I was told death is sad, but no one told me it’s terrifying.  I need help and hate myself for not knowing how to ask.

How do I feel safe in a world that isn’t?  I’m not going to anesthetize myself with substances and addiction, or enforce denial upon myself.  How do I not need what I need?

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “pistachio butter”

Sounds like a solid plan. Maybe tomorrow you will feel more secure with ming there and all your friends around!

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