Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Healing Power of a meal (Dukhiya Bhoj) and friendship

 Amma’s younger sister didn’t go to see Amma in the hospital nor did she come for any rituals. She came home to meet Papa while Amma was in the hospital, but she chose not to attend the big prayer meeting either. When we went to see her the next day, she explained that she wanted to remember Amma as she was: happy and smiling, not connected to machines or on ice.

I hadn’t experienced many deaths, so this time I learned many things firsthand, including how to handle grief and family. She asked us to come for dinner, which really surprised me, but apparently, it is a tradition called “Dukhiya Bhoj.” Close family members invite the grieving family for a meal, suggesting the end of the mourning period and the start of life without the loved one. We couldn’t do that, but the concept stayed with me.

It took me more than three weeks to go for a casual Friday meal at a dear friend’s home. It was warm and comforting, and I felt cared for. Yesterday, an Italian friend brought a meal: Cuban bread, Indian Chana Masala, Greek salad, and Italian eggplant salad. She said the food from different parts of the world was to remind me that I am loved by people from all over the world.

As I wrap up my day, I feel the importance of Dukhiya Bhoj. It was not just a meal but a way to show that they care for me, love me, and celebrate Amma with me while understanding my loss.

A mother from Desi Moms Network also hosted a meet. Mothers in that area flocked to meet me. An Orissa Ikat, a gift from another mom from the Desi Moms Network came out as the host was also from Orissa. 

A simple Sambalpuri cotton for a meet for my soul. 

the gorgeous host
My Mausi/Aunt - Amma's younger sister 
The food heals your body and soul 
sometime the drinks heals too -  first dinner out at a friends home was tough but comforting at the same time.
Some of Amma's favorite food - served on her Ganga Pooja ( The last prayer meet) 

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