When you have a funeral people bring you a lot of food.
Cracker boxes and cheese plates and cold cuts, and those little plastic bowls full of cubed-up honeydew and cantaloupe
Little trays of brownies and butter tarts and stuff like that.
People come and go — suits and ties, and polished leather shoes, and shawls and skirts, and another plate or bowl or tray under each of their arms.
Remember being ten years old, cross-legged hiding underneath your kitchen table. The tablecloth dangles over the sides and blocks out most of your view, but you can still see everyone’s shoes as they approach the table to set down their dish. Their grief-offering. Their plastic-wrapped corned-beef-and-tiny-blocks-of-cheddar-cheese sacrifice to Hades. It’s the thought that counts, after all, right?
Every now and then one of those pairs of shoes will have a person attached to it.
And every now and then one of those people will peek their face under the table.
And that face will ask you if you’re ok, and ask you if you need anything.
And then those shoes will turn around and walk away from you, and another pair of shoes will step up and leave a plate of Nanaimo squares on your table. And then those shoes will walk away, too. And as the day goes by there are fewer and fewer shoes, and fewer and fewer plates.
And eventually, you take the deepest breath of your life, and you crawl out from underneath that tablecloth.