How Food And Drink Can Help Us Grieve

Where but in custom and in eating should a very sad human find ease, asks Helen Razer.

Grief is not an illness but the consequence of love. It is not the end of love, but a start to its biggest lesson. We learn that those sappy songs were right: love is eternal. We learn that the sun has no respect; it continues to shine on our private night of grief until, one day, we rise. We’re up with that sun and we forgive its bad manners. We come to face our grief.

Even so, we can fail to face the grief of others. We can forget those words, “I’m sorry”.  We can forget the sweet condolences of food. We can forget the force of custom so completely, we lose our way to kindness.

We are not unkind by nature. We raise each other, feed each other and have no nature at all but kindness. If you doubt that you are kind, remember a response to another person’s grief. You may have struggled to remember the mitzvah, the blessing, the wake cake ingredients. You did not struggle to see the size of that person’s grief, did you?