My friend is grieving.

A young person enrolled in her program has died. His fellow students, the staff and instructors are all struggling to understand. Death, as always, brings more questions than answers.

How can this be true? How can someone so young (23) and full of promise be dead? How can someone my age die so suddenly? How can someone younger than my child be gone? Why? What happened? What was the cause? What could have been done? What should I have done?

As a parent, my mind refuses to fully comprehend what his family is going through.

Last night my friend said she was going home to bake some “Cookie Love” to bring to the memorial the students were having for their classmate this afternoon. Baking some love when someone is grieving seems to be a necessary step. I don’t know any culture that doesn’t bring food or expect the grief stricken to be unable to cook or even want to feed themselves. So we comfort with a casserole dish, and give hugs with sugar and chocolate.

My personal stages of grief usually include Baking, followed by Cleaning, Drinking, Laughing, and more Baking. It may not be Kubler-Ross, but its a system. Probably a distinctly female system if I analyze it, but I don’t feel up to it at the moment.

Baking makes me happy because its optional. No one needs it. Its not like cooking which you have to do to survive, so its an act of free will. A slice of love, a box of like or a tray of feel better soon. No strings attached. I hope my friend can feel how the love she baked into those cookies feeds those grieving students (and herself).