Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Although we've been enjoying the sun, and the warmth, and lots of fun together, it feels like our little family has been on the outer edges of a lot of heavy sadness for a few months. Loved ones have lost loved ones, friends and family have been faced with challenges to their health and well being, and life has just generally gone on as it does, with lots of ups, but also lots of downs.

Tonight it was my sad duty to fulfill my obligation to a meal tree put in place for a family at my husband's school. One of his former students, a nine year old, lost his mother to a very tragic accident on mothers' day weekend. His mother, and the mother to his two year old sister. His father's wife. His grandparents' daughter.

Tonight I stood in the kitchen, making a meal for motherless children while my own little one happily enjoyed what I had prepared for him. I wondered what sort of meals she used to make for them. I thought about the meals that our friends and neighbours had prepared for us as we waited for our son's arrival and I thought about the meals that family and friends and strangers would bring to a family that would not have any new arrivals again. I thought about the sad contrast of a freezer stocked to help welcome new life and a freezer stocked to fill a void when one is lost.

I am sure that preparing and offering food in times of struggle and loss is a custom so ancient that is has no origin. Caring for each other's basic needs is a gesture deeper than words in a card or on the phone. When someone's life is broken apart so completely, there is nothing you can say to make them feel better, nothing you can do to heal them. And truthfully, there is probably nothing they can do either, besides to keep moving forward a little bit at a time. So providing the basic necessities to just keep going is an act of love that can not be underestimated.

Tonight I cried because of the onions I was cutting. And I cried sad tears for the family who would share my meal, and I cried grateful tears for the ones who have shared meals with me in my times of need.

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