I met my husband, Claude, while I was on vacation on a small Caribbean island. He was the chef at the 10-room resort where I stayed. It was pretty much love at first sight for us. We were engaged 2 months after we met and married 5 months after that. We welcomed our first child (a girl) the next year. We also moved to the Caribbean where Claude was the Executive Chef at another resort. Before you think that living on an island in the Caribbean is fun, I can assure you that going to the beach every day gets boring after a while. And lets not forget the hurricanes! After nearly 4 years we moved back to the U.S. We had our second child (a boy). In many ways I believed that our relationship was much like a fairy tale. I did not realize how accurate my belief was. Most fairy tales, before being made more palatable, had tragic endings. Read the original Brothers Grimm to check that out! I lost my handsome prince, not to a dragon or ogre, but to something much scarier - cancer. Throughout his illness my husband was brave, stoic, and optimistic. As long as Claude had a breath in his body he fought. He handled his illness with unparalleled grace and strength. He died in my arms on Valentine’s Day 2004. I miss him every minute of every day. And I am sad that my kids are without him. Claude and I would have celebrated our 13th Anniversary last month. I’m not going to tell long stories about him, but rather will share what he was doing towards the end of his life and for a time while he was ill.
Claude was born and raised in France. He studied to become and became a chef in Paris. And, wow, could he cook! After we returned to the US, he worked in a restaurant not far from the house. But he wanted to build his own business again and he turned to making chocolates. He also started to paint for enjoyment. Without overstating, he was an artist with both paints and chocolates. See for yourself.
Just a couple of his many, many paintings:
A Painting of the Riviera:
A New England Lighthouse
And here are some of his wonderful chocolates. We had 19 different assorted chocolates and 6 types of truffles. We shipped in North America only and sold at some speciality stores. We used no artificial ingredients or preservatives and everything was handmade.
For Valentine's Day a White Chocolate Box filled with chocolates and surrounded by Coeur de Passion (heart shaped dark chocolate filled with a passion fruit filling) and Noix de Muscade (a type of truffle):
And a close up of the Heart Box (edible):
A four-tiered box for Christmas:
And this is what you saw when the box was opened:
A 1 lb box of Christmas chocolates:
Claude was a remarkable man. He was talented, intelligent, funny, and most of all he loved me with all of his heart. I hope that wherever he is, he's at peace.
Oh, my darling. I have no words for you. He sounds like an incredible man (he made chocolate, wow!) and I'm glad you loved each other so well.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Michele. I really hit the jackpot with Claude!ReplyDelete
Oh, Qwill, those paintings are fantastic. The colors, so vibrant, it makes me want to hug him for those.ReplyDelete
Those chocolates look positively sinful (that unfolding box is cool, too).
What an amazing love story. How beautifully he lives on, through you.
Thanks for reading, Toni. Claude loved the bright colors of the Caribbean. I think that came through in his art. His chocolates were incredible! Of course I had to taste test for quality control purposes. ;)ReplyDelete
Ah, how lovely. Knowing that your time together was spent truly living, relishing, luxuriating in one another is the greatest gift I could wish for you, my friend.ReplyDelete
May the memories always be as sweet as the chocolate Claude so lovingly gave such vibrancy and dimension to.
What a lovely tribute and I am so sorry for what you've lost. Thank god you have fabulous memories. The words you put in the blog make me believe he was an incredible man.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Dakota. We packed a lot into the too few years that we had.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Erin. Claude was pretty neat. That gorgeous French accent he had was nice too!
Qwill, what a wonderful tribute to what sounds like a wonderful man. It is so awesome that you have such incrediable memories with him and shared such a deep love for one another, truely a blessing. Claude heres to you!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Lynda. I have so many terrific memories. He was a special guy. :)ReplyDelete
What a beautiful tribute to a lovely husband. Even though you only had him for a short while, you were blessed Quill. Hugs.ReplyDelete
Awwww ((((((((BIG HUGS)))))))) thank you for sharing this. It really touched my heart. What a beautiful soul he was and you are my friend.ReplyDelete
Though your fairy tale had a sad ending, the best part still lives on through your children.
He sounds like an amazing man and I wish I could have known him.
Bonita, you are absolutely correct. I'd rather have had the time we had than no time together at all.ReplyDelete
Rachel, thank you for the hug and friendship. Lately I could really use some hugs!
Eva, you would have really liked Claude. He was a lot of fun and had a great sense of humor. And he would have cooked you an unforgetable meal!
What wonderful memories of your late husband. Thank you for sharing a part of him with us. Love both his art and his chocolates. And can't go wrong with a sexy accent. Hugs to you and your kids!!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your incredible story. As you say, at least you had the time that you had; as the Bard says, 'tis better to have loved & lost than to never have loved at all.ReplyDelete
Rottie_Mom, I have so many wonderful stories. Perhaps I'll share some of them at another time. The accent was wonderful! :)ReplyDelete
Sewicked, the Bard was right. We packed a lot into the time that we had.
Qwill sorry it took so long to read this... I know from meeting you and your kids and seeing his pictures (in person) and hearing you talk about him that he was a wonderful man and will always be missed. Odd that he passed on V-Day and my Mom was diagnosed on V-DAy (2001)ReplyDelete
Incredible artwork and the chocolates just make my mouth water. You were blessed to have your miracle for a time. you can tell your children what a wonderful prince he was. They can look forward to hearing more about him as they get older. Keep his memory alive for them as that is your job. Precious that you have two miracles that you shared with him. Thanks for sharing your story.ReplyDelete
There are no words ...only that I am here always for you..He was an amazing man and I am so sorry for your loss...you have the support of many..hugs..ReplyDelete