Food for the Journey

We human beings need food to survive. Eating engages fully our most intimate senses: touch, taste and smell. Throughout our lives we use food to celebrate and to share as well as to hold body and soul together. In the course of life different foods become symbols. As we near death we do not need to eat for sustenance, so a last supper is not a physical need. The question of what one would have is really “What do you want to remember as you leave everything you have ever known behind?” I can’t answer that for myself, but here is a story that relates:

My grandfather died from Kidney cancer in 2002. He was on hospice in a skilled nursing facility. He wanted to eat bacon with his pancakes. But he had come into the facility from a heart attack and someone had checked the box on his diet sheet that said he was to have a low salt, low fat diet (he might have weighed 100 lbs at that point and he was 5’7” in his prime). Logic be darned they wouldn’t just give the guy a strip of bacon.

It took me three days to get that order changed. By then Gramps wasn’t eating anything, but when they brought in his breakfast he saved the piece of bacon to eat later. He died a couple of days later and the strip of bacon was tucked in a drawer, along with the shaker of salt I had smuggled in for him. I wonder if the smell comforted him, and if that strip of bacon nourished his soul.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry….”

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