I have had a number of experiences near death or with the dying in my life in the past few years and have never learned really how to grieve or to express my condolences. I think that many people are in this position. Death is just so sudden and unfamiliar and in our post-religious world that we are not armed with rituals to help us through. We need new technologies, that is to say, practices, that will put us on a path toward a conversation with this very odd aspect of life.
These two games are expressions of my problems with mourning and absence – my grappling with the idea of creating new ways of grieving. Although not helpful, both games are both very very delicious.
Dark Chocolate – a game of grief and how we do not know how to pay respect.
For the dying:
- Make a freezer’s worth of cookie dough and leave it for your family to bake and eat after you pass.
For the family:
- Eat this cookie dough bit by bit, as prolonged as possible, before it goes bad.
If the cookie dough lasts for at least a year after the passing, you succeed!
If not, my condolences.
(This idea was taken from a neighbour who past away a few years ago and did this with her family.)
Sweet Desserts – a foodie larp about mars, cookies, and memories.
Needs: 3 players, 24 cookies, 1 kitchen, 12 post cards, colored pencils, rubber bands, a table, and pillows.
Make 12 cookies. Wrap each with a note card attached with a rubber band, written with a theme:
Top of the mountain|Blue birds attacking the squirrels|mail-carrier throwing a newspaper and knocking you unconscious|pink socks, an unwelcome gift|an embarrassing story at a playground|hot chocolate|winter blues and tiny shoes|watching television all day till we got headaches|getting our nails done and bonding with the gentleman assisting us all day|pulling over and throwing up|trying and failing to climb a tree|adventure to an unknown part of town.
A friend took a one way trip to mars last week and we don’t know how to express our feelings about her absence. We come together to have dinner and avoid talking about the situation – a situation that breaks down at dessert.
If you take a cookie, write a one-sentence very tiny memory on the designated note card, inspired by the given theme. Leave it on the table. Do not discuss the notecards. However, folks can responded on the cards with small notes if they feel inclined to.
Prep dinner. Kitchen.
Take at least two cookies from the jar. Steal at least five cookies during prep. Stage one emotional confrontation. Slice onions and cry.
In this game we steal cookies without anyone watching. It is about hiding feelings, from others and ourselves.
If you see someone steal a cookie: ask the person with the cookie something along the effect of “are you okay?”
Ask for comfort. Talk in whispers or leave the room, taking a cookie with you, so as to not make a fuss in the kitchen. Together share the cookie. Talk about the memory associated with it.
If you see someone writing a notecard: look away, avoiding gaze.
Eat dinner. Table.
Eat silently. If possible take a cookie from the jar, but keep watch. If you see someone eating a cookie, make disgruntled sounds, sucking in breath. Do not ask for or give comfort.
Have Desert. Pillows.
Eat all the cookies in one sitting, as fast as possible. Talk about the memory associated with each cookie. Laugh together. Make a mess.
Talk about the experience. Talk about Mars. Talk about heavy subjects involving sudden absences. Make more cookies for other people in your lives.
Afterwards, give those cookies away.