Sharing Food, Sharing Memories: Healing Through Receptions

When a loved one dies, there is often pressure from family and friends to feel sad for just a short time – then return to life as usual. Mental health experts take it a step further, saying it is natural for people to respond to a difficult or painful situation by avoiding it completely. To avoid talking about it, focusing on it, or dwelling on it. So many in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond simply try to “get over it.”

But here at Cypress Lawn – and at our family of brands, including Miller-Dutra Coastside Chapel, Sneider & Sullivan & O’Connell’s Funeral Home & Cremation Service, and Crosby-N. Gray & Co. Funeral Home – we know there are far healthier ways to deal with death and grieving. Our professional staff agrees with psychologists and psychiatrists who state that the best way to respond to death is to embrace and celebrate a loved one’s life and interact with others to share memories.  This is where true healing begins.

Planning a meaningful funeral service is a large component of this process, but there’s one other piece that makes a significant difference for families: gathering for a reception. Around the world, and certainly here in the Bay Area, family and friends meet up for meaningful events like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and graduations. Funerals are no different. Sitting together, telling stories, and sharing a meal is a powerful piece of the healing experience. It’s a way of acknowledging a loss and taking steps toward acceptance. It’s a way to feel close to the person who meant so much to you.

Think of is this way: When you gather to enjoy your loved one’s favorite food and drink, it’s a highly personal way to pay tribute. From appetizers to desserts, or the full meal in between, we can customize a menu any way you would like. Maybe your grandma had a family recipe she used to make a lasagna dinner every Sunday, or your uncle had a special cake he requested on his birthday every year. We can work with you to incorporate personal details like these. Our staff knows the importance of planning and taking part in receptions – we’ve experienced it ourselves – and are here for you every step of the way. We also know shared time over a meal is especially beneficial for children, as they start to process their grief.

Whether you have a catered reception or a pot-luck in mind, our reception center is a perfect location, with its soothing colors and large windows. We can accommodate 77 guests, and you can avoid the hassle of coordinating transportation and figuring out where your group can meet.

We encourage you to reach out to us to learn more about your options at Cypress Lawn. Gathering with loved ones as a final farewell is not only a gift to others – it’s a gift to yourself.