At some point in our lives we all need comfort. Someone to tell us things will be alright, to put their arms around us and tell us they care. In our community, a good man passed away last week. So we have had the opportunity to love on, and care for his family. Here in the South, we commonly do that with food.
This may happen everywhere, but being as I’m not from everywhere, I really don’t know. You may wonder, why do we bring people casseroles when a family member dies? Does a bucket of chicken have innate healing abilities? How will potato salad help people deal with loss? Yet, we keep bringing this food to people.
Well, the answer is three fold. First, and most obvious, no one wants to cook in a time of suffering and loss. However, you gotta eat, and homemade food is much more comforting than a fast food hamburger. Second, it shows that the person bringing it cares. We don’t always know what to say when death comes along. We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing and making our friends feel worse. So instead, we bring meat and noodles mixed in a baking dish. Showing that we at least care enough to make something for them.
Finally, the sneaky part. If you’ve ever taken food to someones house after a funeral, or met at the church to eat, you know that there is always too much food. More that they could ever eat. More than their family could eat. Being that this is the South, we don’t like to let food go to waste. So the only logical option is to surround ourselves with friends to help us eat it.
Maybe you can see where this is going. When you are surrounded by friends, people that care about you (and that just brought you a Taco Salad), it’s hard to stay upset. That many people, and that much food quickly turns a sad time of mourning, into a celebration of the life of the person who has passed on. Memories and stories are shared around the table, tears fall and laughter creates smiles.
As Truvy Jones would say, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”