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    DRAGONCHILDE   57,340
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Grief in the South


Monday, April 08, 2013

One of the peculiar traditions we have down here in the south is that when someone dies, the family gets fed.

It's a very respectable tradition, and one that helps the family tremendously. I don't know if this is a south-only thing, although I doubt it. It makes sense. The last thing a grieving family should have to worry about is where their next meal comes from.

Down here, it has become an art form, though. Piles of fried chicken, pasta salads, green bean casseroles, bread (dear lord, the bread) all arrive unrequested but usually very welcome at a central location.

My husband's grandmother died last week, and we all met at the matriarch's long-time home on the family farm, where everyone always meets for family get-togethers and such.

It was enough to feed an army. (And did, incidentally. This is a very large family. There are 5 kids, 19 grandkids, 30-something great grandkids, and it goes on from there.)

I tried to be mindful of my health while navigating this very literal buffet of traditional southern comfort food. If it could be deep-fried or cooked in lard, it was there. ;) So good, too.

I stayed under control, in spite of the heightened emotional state. It was hard, being the strong one. In fact, I think I managed to undereat a bit more than I meant. I wasn't counting calories or anything, just trying to make the right choices to fuel myself for the grueling weekend.

It's funny how those traditions develop over time. It's still a comforting thing to sit around the table, surrounded by family, and share a good, hot meal.

Rest in peace, dear Granny Dudley. You earned it. (She was 92, and a dear, precious woman.)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SIMONEKP 4/10/2013 9:26AM

    Sorry for your loss, I think that tradition is everywhere, maybe just different types of food depending on where you're from.

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GOLFLADY11 4/8/2013 11:33PM

    My sincere sympathy on losing your grandparent!! Kudos to you for showing control at such an emotional time. emoticon

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1STATEOFDENIAL 4/8/2013 6:51PM

    It is a nice tradition to help out others by providing food. Unfortunately, some people take it too far and are convinced that food=love. It is one thing to provide food, it's another to engulf someone with food. It teaches kids that when you feel sad/upset/angry you should eat, which then leads to problems, IMHO.

As for your eating habits, I think you did the best thing: you focused on family and the event and did your best with your eating. If you had focused on tracking and only eating specific foods you would've lost precious time with family and friends grieving the loss and celebrating memories. Having 1 day of eating 'okay' with minimal effort is not going to throw you off your journey. Good job focusing on what's important.

My condolences to you and your family for your loss. It sucks to lose someone you care about. Still, it's good that you can celebrate her life and precious memories.

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JUNIAATROME 4/8/2013 2:13PM

    So sorry for your loss. But if you can say that she was a precious lady at the age of 92 - that is a celebration of a very good life all at the same time.

Glad though that you watched what you ate under such circumstances. Well done!


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ARCHIMEDESII 4/8/2013 1:08PM

    I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband's grandmother. My condolences to you and the family.

No, this isn't a Southern thing. When my grandfather passed away years ago, there was light refreshments after the memorial service and a 10 course banquet that evening.

And it's not about grief either. I've said this about my family before whenever we get together at the holidays,"there must be more desserts on the table than there are people physically there to eat them".

If you were Irish, there would be food and drink ! What do they say ? What's the difference between an Irish wedding and an Irish funeral ? One less guest.

It sounds like you did okay. Remember, even if you did eat a little more than you wanted, that wouldn't make you a bad person or an unhealthy one. I would just tell you to eat a little more mindfully for the rest of the week.

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JADOMB 4/8/2013 12:52PM

    Condolences to the family. I understand how that is how many cultures handle many occasions. It is something we just have to live with. But you did well. As my father and mother used to say to me whenever I would say, "everyone is doing it". They would always say, "if everyone is jumping off the bridge, should you do it too?". Funny thing is, I have jumped off a few bridges in my time, but I think you get the point as did I at the time. Stay true and keep the faith.

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OBIESMOM2 4/8/2013 12:15PM

    sounds like she had a good life and LOTS of family. I bet there were many happy memories discussed.

I'm sure all of you will miss her

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