My immediate family spent the majority of last week at my
in-laws home in New York
because my wife’s grandmother passed away.
While I think it’s extremely important to celebrate the
memory of the deceased; support and sympathize with the survivors and offer a
degree of closure for the living via the various death-induced services and
rituals – I hate funerals.
As a former news reporter, I had to attend dozens as an
uninvited gawker amidst grieving strangers and then trying to speak with
someone on camera – yuck. Within my own family, the funerals for all my grandparents
and both my parents further soured an already distasteful experience – double
However, the latest funeral affront I experienced last week
was the seemingly unending cavalcade of culinary creations that crammed every
inch of table and counter space at the in-laws single-story rambler.
As an aside, death is a natural part of our existence but
I’m convinced that the ritualistic events around death make most people
uncomfortable. They frequently don’t know the unspoken etiquette to engage
grievers – it’s not something you can practice for in advance or take an online
class titled “Funeral 101: communication tips.”
The awkward nature of attending a wake, memorial gathering,
funeral service or graveside burial adds a layer of stress to a stressful
situation. How many times can you tell
someone that you’re “Sorry for their loss” or “Quite a lovely eulogy the pastor
After a point, conversations experience a metaphorical death
of their own – and the easiest thing left to talk about is the food that
everyone brought. Apparently death brings out the inner sous chef in all of us.
And what types of cuisine do people bring the grieving???
Don’t get me wrong, the care, love and attention that people
pour into food preparation for such events is humbling and appreciated.
However, they also tend to pour in tons of sugar, shortening, oils, salt and butter
to ensure maximum calorie density in an effort to assuage the pain of
It’s ironic that the very foods that people tend to prepare
for post-mortem funeral gatherings are overloaded with the cholesterol-raising,
heart-stopping, clot-forming, artery-hardening, stroke-inducing ingredients
that medical science continues to urge us to avoid in an effort to extend our
I don’t know whether such food prep is an unconscious
attempt to thumb a nose at the Grim Reaper, or an unspoken ethos to unabashedly
indulge in the edible extremes that life has to offer – because life is too
short – but I hate it, because I ate most of it last week.
Which brings me to this week’s WeightWatcher weigh-in, where
I apparently gained +5.0 lbs in seven days.
I have no one to blame but myself, but I am focusing an accusatory eye
toward the strawberry trifle, twice-baked ziti, home-style chicken and biscuits
as well as various baked in which I partook last week.
Damn, I hate funerals!
Assuming that all of my relatives can make it through the
week this side of eternity – I’m hopeful that there will be less of me to write
about after next week’s weigh-in.