On February 2nd, our family said goodbye to one of my sisters, who died peacefully at home after a six plus year battle with cancer. Terry, or “Skinny Minny Moosehead” as she was known as when we were little, was well-loved and lived a life on her own terms. She was happy, loud, and compassionate. She was one of those people who didn’t care what other people thought, something I always think of when I think about my son, who lives the same way. It will serve him well too, I’m sure.
It’s been a rough few months for our family. Watching your sister die isn’t something you’re ever prepared for and it’s been really hard on so many levels, and particuarly to watch my folks. As a parent of kids with a chronic, life-threatening disease I can identify with them a little bit and by that I mean having to watch your child suffer and to be in a continual stress-induced state having to consider their motrality is something in which I can relate.
The day before her memorial service most of our immediate family (just missing my sister’s husband and three of her four kids) joined together to have dinner. The dinner, provided in large aluminum, disposable tins, was all the comfort food you’d expect. As our family ate the food prepared for by our church family we felt all of the emotion of the weeks and days leading up to her death. Me, my sisters, and my parents could barely look at each other without bursting in tears. Both for the loss our our sister/daughter and for the love shown to us from the people that care.
Food is what people can provide. They can’t take away the pain of the loss or the fears about a crisis, but when people want to do something, they can provide food. People know you have to eat, even through loss and crisis, so food is what they do.
In thinking about the love the people that provided our food had for us that night (and for the several nights since then) I was thinking about all of the times we’ve been fed by the people who care about us throughout the hardships of our life. We are grateful for all of the life-sustaining love.
We have been well-fed, indeed.
The food train we’ve been on made me create this yesterday…
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