Monday, March 27, 2006

Funeral Food

There is another way food is important when someone has died: it marks a connection between the living. There is nothing you can say to someone who is bereaved that can make anything better and even the notion that you could make it better can feel offensive, even if the wish is declared out of kindness. But you can help, you can make food. And if you can't cook, or haven't got time, you can shop. The thing to remember in either case is never to burden the bereaved with a question: don't ask what they'd like you to get or what they might want to eat. Decisions are impossible: you have to do it, and do it without drawing attention to the act. I remember a friend of mine leaving some bags of shopping from the supermarket for me once. She hadn't told me she was going, she hadn't asked what I needed: she just left the bags outside the side door with a short note. It was one of the kindest things anyone could have done.
I have heard and read all sorts of things about funeral food but never this very wise and practical observation. It is one we all know under the skin but Lawson puts it very well.

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