There’s no denying that when someone dies, there is sadness and grief— and possibly mountains of it, depending on the circumstances. No amount of “fun funeraling” can bypass that, though of course I take the position that even in the worst cases — and in fact especially in the worst cases — going above and beyond the conventional service can bring more peace than one would ever expect.
Yet small comforts can make a big difference in unexpected ways.
I kept thinking about this after reading a post in Modern Loss called An Ice Cream Truck at the Funeral. About how delicious, both literally and figuratively, it would be to get an ice cream at the end of a sad day of saying goodbye to someone. And not just a little dish at the end of a buffet or something, but as the article says, an ice cream truck pulls up! A special delivery that at least for the moment, reminds us that (warning: trite saying ahead) life is for the living, and our broken hearts will only heal through continuing to live and partake of life.
After the funeral mass for my friend’s Mom a couple of years ago, the family had boxes of big, soft Philly pretzels at the back of the church for everyone. It was fabulous! Walking out of the church behind the casket, everyone still teary, and voilà — a treat!! It doesn’t make us shallow to enjoy a treat at tough times. It brings us back to the moment, gives us a boost to keep finding smiles through the tears and joy in spite of the sadness.
When my Dad died six and a half years ago, I still remember the cookies that arrived from my co-workers to my mother’s house. I don’t think a cookie ever tasted as good as on that day.
Food… refreshments…drinks… just one example of how you can go the extra mile to bring people some pleasure while saying goodbye. Life… death… food… can’t really get around any of it, so might as well enjoy as best you can.