Friday, December 5, 2008

Foodie Funeral Musings

Forgive me for being a bit melancholy today. My husband's cousin Susan died yesterday from pancreatic cancer. She was in her thirties and leaves behind a boy not much older than Nicholas and Lianna. After the initial jolt (not a shock, as it wasn't unexpected), one of my first thoughts was what dish to fix to take the family. I don't know if it's a universal thing or not; but here in the South when someone dies, you take food to the family. I believe it's mainly so the family doesn't have to worry about preparing meals during their time of grief. But I also think it's to comfort.

I remember one time several years ago when someone in my neighborhood died unexpectedly. I found out about it while I was at work and stopped to buy a pie on the way home. My plan was to take the pie over to the family as soon as I got home and before they left for the funeral home. When I got home and started to put the pie in a pie plate (for some reason, you don't want the family to realize you didn't actually make the food item yourself), I saw that it was FROZEN! I had to thaw the pie and bake it before taking it to the family. It was well after dark by the time I got the pie baked and cooled enough to take to the family. Off I went with my pie and flashlight walking to the neighbors' home. Unfortunately, there was no one there. I did finally find someone home to take the pie, but a friend teased me about being like the old man in the myth who went all throughout the world with his little light seeking . . . truth, I believe. The joke was that I went all throughout the neighborhood with my little light seeking a pie-taker. [eyeroll]

I still don't know what to take to Susan's family. I mean, what can you take that will actually bring some comfort to a young boy whose mother has died? All that can really comfort him is the reassurance that he'll see her again.


Marian Allen said...

We bring food, too. Sometimes we take it to the house, sometimes we take it to the funeral home so the family and visitors will have something to sustain them during "viewing" hours. If the deceased or a member of the family belongs to a church, the church usually provides food or a post-funeral meal with leftovers packed up and sent home. The idea is, as you say, partly so the bereaved don't have to worry about cooking and also so they know that people love them. I'm so sorry about the loss of Susan. I'm sure she'll be deeply missed and mourned. Hugs.

Dana Fredsti said...

Gayle, I'm so sorry for your loss and for the little boy left behind... Food is equated with love and comfort - anything you take will no doubt be appreciated.

Gayle said...

Thanks, guys. Group hug! ;-)

Donis Casey said...

Gayle, please accept my sympathy for the loss of your cousin. As you and Marian noted, the idea is that the family won't have to worry about meal preparation for a while, but nothing helps like knowing others are thinking of you. We always took something that is easy to reheat, and perhaps will last for several meals. It's good if the leftovers can be frozen too. like a nice casserole, or lasagna.