This I Believe

Marianne - Perdido, Alabama
Entered on October 8, 2007
Age Group: 65+

I believe that when a family is grieving, you send food.

Several months ago, I listened to Deirdre Sullivan’s essay, “I believe in always going to the funeral”. It made a big impression on me, because I am called on to attend more and more funerals of family and friends as the years pass. I tried to put her belief into practice, because, up until I heard her essay, it was so much easier for me to avoid the unpleasant experience of attending a funeral.

Last week, my dear, sweet mother, age 94, very unexpectedly had a major stroke and a massive heart attack. After five days in the hospital, she was transferred to hospice care, and I held her hand at her bedside for 5 more days, until she took her last breath. My grief was unbearable.

Watching her body being transferred to the funeral home, and then going there to select a casket and to make the funeral arrangements left me completely drained. After I left the funeral parlor, I returned home, physically and emotionally exhausted. I slept that night, and when the new day began, I started the job of writing her obituary, calling relatives and friends, and making all the minute decisions about the details of her funeral.

I had not eaten all day. When my husband came home at 5 p.m., he was holding two casserole dishes in his hands. My dear friend, Kathy, had sent food for our dinner. How did she know that I had no food in the house to cook or to eat because I had been away from home for 10 days?

That evening, my husband and I feasted on the finest Chicken Broccoli Casserole and Scalloped Potatoes that we have ever tasted. No one could have done a kinder thing than to send warm, comforting food to us when we were in such pain and so much in need of comfort and love. As we ate the dinner that Kathy had sent to us, and as I gained the strength to continue down my heartbreaking path, a new belief formed in my mind.

Thus, I believe that when a family is grieving, you send food.