Filling the void – eating after a funeral
What to do when a loved one dies? For many the answer is eating.
September 17th, 2011
05:59 PM ET

Filling the void – eating after a funeral

By Kat Kinsman, CNN

(CNN)–Starve a fever, feed a cold. So goes the conventional wisdom, but what's on the menu for a wounded heart?

Post-funeral meal rituals vary wildly – not just from pole to pole and faith to faith, but from mourner to mourner. Some families decamp to a restaurant, too overwhelmed to tidy a house or light a stove. Some can barely wend their way through their kitchen for all the foil-covered dishes borne over by neighbors doing what they can to fill the suddenly hollow space in a once-full home.

Others gather around coffee urns and cookie plates in church basements and V.F.W. halls and some simply sidle off quietly, too shaken and broken to imagine they'll ever have the strength to eat again.

This past Wednesday, my family said farewell to Reverend William Ribando – my beloved "Uncle Chicken" as I'd called him since my childhood. Parkinson's Disease had taken hold of him, slowly and cruelly. Here, at the end of his journey, two dozen of his brothers in the Congregation of Holy Cross gathered together to bring him to his final resting place.

Read the full story here from CNN's blog about all things food: Eatocracy
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Food

soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. WAKE!


    September 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  2. hippypoet

    whatever thing allows you to move on from the loss of a loved one is cool with me. i do have a very stronge hatred towards religion because they make people think and do things but as i said, if it helps the morning process... let it be. I my self do not handle death well, i close up, drink alot..ALOT, then dwell on life and death, the meaning, and if there is a point. so far, i have come to only a few answers – life is random, therefore no point to life, so enjoy it day to day... death is a have to if life is a current status, and life is a choice of those who are already living, and should be held in VERY high reguard when bringing others into this world of death.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  3. Noigiler

    Herbert, shouldn't you be getting ready for church?

    September 18, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • herbert juarez

      Church is the way of life.I am always ready,how about you?God bless

      September 18, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you're ready for church when you're in the shower, nekkid, herbie? Glad I don't attend your services.

      September 18, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  4. photoguyv

    Kat Kinsman. Ya gotta eat.

    September 18, 2011 at 3:58 am |
  5. Mathilda

    Each funeral reminds us that the earthly life has an ending and that all humans are mortal. Jesus alone is the Victor over death. Mankind has hope because of Jesus. All who look to Him in faith live.

    September 18, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • AGuest9

      Until, of course, when they die.

      September 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I know this is going to be difficult for you to comprehend Aguest9, but we are souls housed in human form. When we die we go back to God (as our spiritual selves) who created us. Then we wait for the Day of the Lord and are judged for our actions done on earth.


      September 19, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • AGuest9

      HeavenSent, comprehension and belief are two VERY different things. The delusions that religious people suffer should really be kept to themselves.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  6. *frank*'s brother


    September 17, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Is *frank* an idiot?

    September 17, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • *frank*


      September 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      *frank* is an evil demon rabbit, not of the idiot variety.

      September 18, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • *frank*

      Ha 🙂

      September 18, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Skep

      *frank* gets my vote. I'm glad *frank* is here. Maybe we have a fake Tom?

      September 18, 2011 at 1:31 am |
  8. Bo

    Staying on the subject, this should be left up to next of kin, ie, parents, husband, wife etc. For the rest of the morners (or what ever) if there is no refresments provided let them do as they see fit When my wife died my church provided a meal, I only made a polite showing and left. My grief was too intense, could there only be another woman I could love as much.

    September 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  9. fernace

    Since no1 seems to want to stay on topic, but continue the everlasting sparring between believers & non-believers, I'll throw in my 10cents! Y'all do realize you're engaged in an unwinnable battle, right! Neither faction will ever convince the other to switch sides! On the topic of funerals, a good friend died in 09 & all her friends just gathered at a resturant! We didn't want to disturb the familys wake & none had any energy to cook! The resturant was a great idea! We were able to talk calmly about our friend, remembering all the fun we had together, without getting too morbid or weepy! We were in public after all! I still miss her, but remember our final farewell to her with happiness & lightness of heart, because it was such a positive send off!!

    September 17, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • *frank*

      You're quite fond of exclamation points!

      September 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Barney

      Eating a meal with the bereaved (if that's their choice) shows them (1) they are not alone,and (2) their loved one's life touched lives and areas of communities they had never expected.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  10. Zeke99

    A church basement sounds really really depressing!

    September 17, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Just Sayin

      You'd have good reason to think so, but it's actually where a lot of the active community-minded stuff takes place, with little to none of the kneeling and praying to some dork who shoudn't need it, that goes on up in the bleachers upstairs. Lots of scouts and guides troops and interest groups meet in church basements. Some good dodgeball games happen down there too.

      Then there's the other churches that got turned into fine alcohol establishments when demand slipped. Basement makes a decent cellar.

      Just sayin...

      September 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  11. Phil in Springfield

    Jesus said let the dead bury the dead.
    He wasn't very good at consoling people was he?
    Pretty stupid, too. Dead people can't do anything.

    People leave our lives all the time. Not always because of death.
    I think the best way to cope is to move to a new place that doesn't have any memories attached to obsess over.
    Change in response to change. Don't keep doing the same stuff.
    And find a bunch of stuff to keep your mind and hands busy.
    If you keep making ceremonies out of everything, you'll only be making it worse.
    Get closure and move on.

    September 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      How was Jesus at consoling Lazarus and his family,or the centurions servant, or the children who were raised?God bless

      September 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Barney

      Aahh, but didn't Jesus also say something about following him into life after death?

      September 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  12. HeavenSent

    God sent us famines, tsunamis, tornados, plus cancers, malaria, typhoid, lupus, and other horrible diseases too numerous to mention.

    Thank you god. Not.


    September 17, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      I disagree with you,you got proof that all that list is attributed to God?

      September 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • JF

      herbert juarez
      you got proof that all that list is attributed to God?

      Yes. The same amount of proof that there is a god. Zero. Zippo. Zilch.

      September 18, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Mathilda

      The fake HeavenSent's list is all because of human sins. Atheists deserve many more calamities but God had mercy on them. This planet is dying from human activities and the stuff they call advancement in technology. Natural calamities and diseases are cute things comparing to the pollution humans have been directly causing since last century. The secular West completely ruined this planet.

      September 18, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • Flash

      "The fake HeavenSent's list is all because of human sins."

      Utter nonsense. We should take responsibility for and try to repair the ills that we have caused - pollution, wasted resources, etc., research and study to find treatment and cures for diseases, and do the best that we can to prepare for and cope with uncontrollable natural disasters. Fantasies of the supernatural have no part in it.

      September 18, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Mathilda/Addled: what's the explanation for your stupidity? Is it the fault of atheists or God?

      September 18, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  13. HeavenSent

    Ecclesiastes 12

    1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

    2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

    3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

    4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

    5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

    6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed (8735) , or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

    7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.


    September 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • *frank*

      Your god is an immature idiot and a murderous swine.

      September 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • SecularTruther

      Do me a favor and read a 6th grade English book that explains pronouns and then read the following from the bible. Matthew 16:28 (Jesus tells his followers that are standing in front of him they will live to see armageddon), Matthew 26:6 & Mark 14:62 (Jesus tells the high priestess, Caiphas that he'll still be alive to see Jesus's 2nd coming), Matthew 26:64 NAB (Jesus tells his followers that he will return and establish his kingdom while they are still alive) etc... I know your going to bs and say he meant christians in general but he didn't. Show me men and women that are over 2,000 years old maybe ill take consideration that Superman will return from krypton, oops I meant Jesus will return from heaven.

      September 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • J.W

      The Armageddon is never actually mentioned in the Bible in the way that it is usually described today. In Matthew 16:28 it says you will see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. It seems to me he was either talking about in heaven or during the transfiguration. I personally think he was referring to the transfiguration. In Matthew 26:64 it says he will be on the right hand of the Mighty One, meaning probably on judgement day.

      September 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      The Kingdom of God came in power at Pentecost,forty days after the Passover,Crucifixion and Resurrection.The Kingdom will be complete at the return of Christ.God bless

      September 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Another 40 days. Like the flood, the time in the desert and a host of other numerology references to the number 40 in the bible.

      September 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  14. *frank*

    Is that a yellow-bellied sapsucker?

    September 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      September 17, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.