Leah Chase, the famed New Orleans chef and inspiration for a classic children’s animated movie, has fed musicians, Presidents, and countless visitors in her restaurant Dooky Chase’s. In this audio clip, she discusses the challenge and the need to keep living our lives after the death of a loved one.
I lost my daughter who was in here with me at the time and my partner. I lost her. She was forty-three years old. But you keep going. You can’t do anything about death. You cannot do one earthly thing about death. You can’t bring them back. You can cry, you can mourn, but you have to keep going. And you keep going, and it’s a pain that never goes away, never ever goes away, but you learn to live with it. People told me that, you know? I was so broken, and they said, ‘Leah, you’re going about this the wrong way. You think it’s gonna go away. It’s not gonna go away.’ You have to learn to live with it. And that’s death all the time. When somebody dies, the hardest thing for us is the people it leaves behind. We’ve lost the people we love. We can’t get them back. But we have to keep living. And that is hard to do, but you do it. You keep living. You don’t sit down in a corner and moan and moan and moan and do nothing. You keep living, and you keep doing something. Sometimes you do it in their memory. I tell that to young people for Dr. Martin Luther King. You’re not listening. This man died. Can you imagine giving your life up for something you believed? He died for things to get better, so you’ve got to move on that. You have to make it better. He gave up his life for you to come together, work together, get your act together. And you’re not doing it? No, that’s terrible. To me, that’s a crime. That’s terrible.