What do you serve for dinner on a day like this? It’s a day where the food needs to be hearty and warm and go down easily in between the tears. Soup? Spaghetti made with that good sauce from Trader Joe’s? Chocolate needs to be in the picture, better schedule some brownies for dessert. A whole pan, so more can be cut up and carried in the car on the way to the funeral.
What do you do on a day like this? The news came early this morning, my husband weeping as he tells me of his brother-in-law passing away in the morning. I am strong. I don’t cry. I get more information later, that my husband’s sister was sitting at Bruce’s bedside, having been awoken at 4 a.m. by her daughter, each taking two-hour shifts through the last few nights. They sat there, his breathing diminishing, faltering, until at 6:30 it ceased. A quiet, in-sleep, in-home death. One we all would choose if we could.
On a day like this, I finish up the quilt and the angelic quilter lady agrees to a rush job and later, much later, after I sit numbly at the computer, and I become not strong, do I realize how Bruce’s death diminishes our family. This is not a new idea. I felt it when my other brother-in-law died, when my husband’s parents died, when my grandmothers died and it has been expressed by writers since time began. It just feels new, each death bringing with it memories and associations and words that can not ever now be spoken.
On a day like this, I clean out a cupboard and jar breaks. I look at it, get the dustpan and broom, wander to the mailbox, ask the neighbors to throw the papers on the porch while we’re gone and then the quilter drives up, bringing me my quilt, making me cry again. Because. Because on a day like this we need hands to hold us, hearts to share our sorrow. And something easy to eat for dinner.