Meals and Mourning

Weddings, Graduations, Baby Showers, Retirements, High School Reunions, Housewarming Parties, the list could go on. Have you ever noticed that many major life events culminate with some sort of meal? That is because food brings people together. Sharing a meal and breaking bread with one another is something that has taken place for thousands of years when landmark events happen. And it is no different when we confront the end of someone’s life, to seek out what symbolizes connection.

Many people confuse the words ‘grief’ and ‘mourning’ but there is a difference. Grief is having internal thoughts and feelings about a loss while mourning is taking those internal thoughts and expressing them outwardly. Mourning can also be referred to as ‘grief gone public’. One way people express their grief publicly is by hosting a meal for family and friends after the service or including food at the service itself. For example, some families like to personalize their service by giving out their loved one’s favorite candy bar or sweet treat to guests.

However, after the death of a loved one, after the service has taken place, many people lose their appetite or interest in food. This is why food is so important to those who are coping with loss. Meals are a way to show support for a grieving family. Some call it ‘funeral food’. Meals let the family know that you are thinking of them and serve as a way to relieve them of the burden of shopping and cooking. Many people remember to bring meals to the family the week leading up to or the week after the funeral. However, the time that families may need food the most is a few weeks following the funeral, after most relatives have left town to travel home or friends are back to the hustle and bustle of their lives.

When considering what meals to provide, you may want to think about making some comfort foods, or hearty dishes that require little preparation on the family’s part. Consider what foods comforted you as a child, when you were ill, when you were feeling down in the dumps and searching for something to make you feel better. For example, baking a casserole in a dish that can be reheated, delivering chili or soup in a slow cooker, lasagna that can be popped in the oven are all great ideas. Small plates of baked goods are also an easy yet thoughtful way to show you are thinking of the family. Ask the family if there are certain meals they enjoy but perhaps feel like they don’t have time to make. Be sure to find out if anyone has dietary restrictions or food allergies.

Food has been proven to be linked with memories. Aromas transport us to the past, often spurring thoughts of joy and delight. Whether you choose to incorporate food into the service or bring the family a Tater Tot Hotdish, you will be honoring life in a meaningful way.     


By Britta Holloway

Leave a Reply 0 comments

> More Comments

We appreciate your interest in this topic
In accordance with our policy, this
message has been declined.