During the last six weeks I’ve been reading a lot of dealing with grief books. Most of them warn that there will be times when the family feel isolated and alone. Some of the times this might happen include a period of around 40 days after the loss, when everyone returns to normal life and expect the family to do the same; and facing the first of special occasions, like Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries.

Yesterday, as I already mentioned, would have been Barry’s birthday. Today, I received a card from the funeral director with these words:

Dear Karen, Gary and Daniel,

I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you and praying for you all as you face Barry’s birthday without him.

These are simple words, but they mean so much. Yet…they come from an outsider. My family knew that it was Barry’s birthday, but none of them phoned to make sure that I was coping. What if I wasn’t? What if I was in the depth of despair? I would have felt alone and depressed. Luckily, I don’t live alone, so there were other people around me and we talked about the day and how we were feeling. Yet, to be honest, it felt like no one else cared…even though I know they do and they were probably dealing with their own grief.

If you know someone who has lost someone, please remember that it’s at these special times that they need your support the most. A simple phone call is enough. Ask them if they are alright and whether they need a shoulder to cry on. Chances are that they do need a shoulder, but they don’t want to ask for it and risk being a burden. Facing a special occasion alone is torture. Everything the bereaved person does reminds them of the person they have lost, and of the future they will not share together. Please, don’t let them fall into a state of depression, offer them your support. Ideally, suggest an outing with other members of the family so that everyone can grieve together, find comfort from each other and remember the good times.