Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why bring food?

It's sort of become a joke in the movies: someone dies and people crawl out of the woodwork to bring the grieving family food - "Oh so sorry so and so died, here's a casserole." A few months ago, a young girl in my son's first grade class died. She had an asthma attack and ended up dying from it. I didn't know the little girl, but my son did. The girl's older brother is a friend of my daughter and a former classmate. Someone set up food delivery for the family. Today was my day. I was thinking a lot about why we bring food to people, sometimes people we don't even know. Does it really make a difference? Can it ease their pain? Does it help them cope with their loss? I don't think so. I mean, I suppose it's nice to know that people care enough to go out of their way and try and help. I know there's absolutely
nothing I can do to make their pain of losing their precious daughter any easier - NOTHING. They don't know me from Adam and won't remember my name. They might recognize my face at a school function, but that's all really. Here's what I hope comes of my bringing them food. I hope that for one day, it made their daily schedule a little easier. They have three other children. I don't know the pain of losing a child, and I hope I never do. I can only imagine though that there are days that they don't want to get out of bed, days they don't want to face driving to school, days that even the smallest tasks feel like mountains. But - everyone has to eat - especially children. If I can make today just a little easier to handle, then it's worth it. If this:

can help at all for just one day, then that's all that matters. I was also thinking about how different this loss was and how different it seemed to feel to everyone around me. Bringing food to someone who is sick or who has had a baby or even who has lost someone - is a way to show you care. There seems to be a separate element to this food train though. It's almost an offering to God/the universe/fate/karma. The loss of a child is almost incomprehensible. It doesn't make sense. Nothing about it feels right or sane in any way. Everyone holds their children tighter and watches them closer. I can understand why our ancestors used to be so superstitious about making offerings to gods. Some things are just incomprehensible and if an offering can help - then an offering we make. This food train almost feels like an offering - like, "See god - see how much we care - how much we DON'T take for granted." Superstitious? Sure, but I loved my children a little more fiercely today and I hope the universe took note.

1 comment:

mamamilkers said...

This is such a sweet post, Misty. I find the tradition of bringing food fascintating. Having been on the receiving end of a seemingly never-ending parade of meals after Eloise was born and I was a temporary single mama, I can say for sure how important it is. It makes you feel loved, cherished, cared about, that someone cared enough about you to go out of their way to prepare a meal is HUGE. I guess, though, that I am a person who loves (amongst other ways) through food.

Bless you for being so kind and caring for this family in such a horribly hard time.