As family members prepare to bid their last farewells to a loved one, probably the last thing on their minds is whether the mourners are getting enough to eat.
We're not talking about a traditional wake or gathering after a funeral, when friends and relatives munch on a light spread, tell stories about the dearly departed and perhaps raise a glass in his or her memory.
No, we mean at the funeral home, during a viewing or memorial service, with the guest of honor's mortal remains likely still nearby.
These gatherings are solemn affairs, akin to a religious service.
"It's a time for a pastor to help people move past grief," noted Dawn Burg, co-owner of Burg Funeral Home. "It's not time to pass around grandma's cookies."
Yet while some might consider it to be in poor taste, we don't see any reason why funeral homes should be legally prohibited from serving food at a family's request.
In fact, for some who can't afford to book a more appropriate setting for a post-funeral gathering, it might be their only option.
We were surprised to learn recently that Pennsylvania was one of just five states to ban funeral homes from serving food and had been doing so since the 1960s.
The law never made sense to Ernie Heffner, a West Manchester Township funeral director who joined about 30 other plaintiffs in a lawsuit to overturn the portions of the state Funeral Director Law, including the food service clause.
"We have had families request food hospitality -- anything from cookies to finger sandwiches," he said. "It's been uncomfortable to say no because the law hasn't allowed it. We as providers of service should never be in a position to tell a customer no."
A federal judge last month agreed, giving the state Funeral Director's Board 90 days to draw up new regulations addressing his concerns.
This isn't all about food in funeral homes.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III also struck down other key provisions in the 60-year-old Funeral Director Law, criticizing the board for failing to update regulations on ownership of funeral parlors, the use of trade names and other issues raised by the plaintiffs.
Food service actually seems to be the least important on the list.
But it's a prime example of why the state needs to take another look at this law in its entirety.