By Peggy Weber
A few years ago I was watching two of my grandsons while their parents attended a wake. They were 1 and 3 at the time. The three-year-old asked me earnestly, "Grandma, what do people do at a wake?" I told him that people said a prayer for the person who died. "Then they say they are sorry to the family and maybe give them a hug," I said.
He nodded and then asked, "Are there cookies?" I told him no. He paused and then looked me straight in the eyes and said, "There are cookies!"
I wanted to disagree and explain that no one was handing out baked goods at a wake. But then I realized he was absolutely certain that no one could deal with death and grief without a cookie. I also recalled how home wakes often included food many years ago so who was I to tell him he was wrong.
And the more I thought about this heartfelt conversation I realized how wise he is. And I also saw how his message is especially applicable for the holiday season. His view about cookies made me see:
1. Never underestimate the power of cookies. Take the time to bake or buy some cookies and share them with neighbors, co-workers, the bus driver, and loved ones. It is a small and sweet way to spread love.
2. Recognize that many people may be grieving at Christmas time. My grandson's desire for cookies at a wake should make one realize that everyone grieves differently. Talk to those who are mourning or alone and see what they want or need. Some people might welcome flowers, cards, a dinner invitation or cookies. Others sincerely might want quiet.
3. Give the gift of listening this season. One might be quick to dismiss the ideas or thoughts of a toddler or teen or senior citizen. However, they offer ideas, stories and perspectives that are unique and often delightful. So ask Grandma how she met Grandpa. Have a teenager explain Tik Tok or the music they like. And toddlers have a lot to say about everything. Annd you might want to do all of this while munching on a cookie.
4. I am already asking my family to hand out cookies at my wake. Why not? My grandson was right.