If you have read my blog posts you will know that my Dad died in November last year. The Crematorium was busy and we needed to book a date for his funeral that would fit for my brother who lived in Dubai at the time. This meant that his funeral was held in December.
Each year I try to plan a get together with all my Mum's side of the family (there are a lot of us, my grandparents have, to date, 33 descendants; 29 are living). Last year was no exception and our lunch date was set for a Saturday. This then fell a few days before Dad's funeral. Everyone thought that we would cancel, but my Mum was so looking forward to it that we carried on, and boy that was the best decision ever. To be with those we love, sharing memories was so special.
As I write this my neighbour has sadly lost her elderly Mum and a very good family friend is very poorly in hospital with his family by his side. It seems so much harder at this time of year, and knowing what to say is even more difficult. We write cards wishing a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and yet we know that it is unlikely they will achieve this.
I just try to make sure they know that they are in my thoughts, and that I am there if they wish to talk, have a good face watering session, or just a hug. I never avoid talking about how they are feeling. I know how important it is for people not to avoid the subject. In fact you often want to talk about it, and share memories etc.
I had the absolute pleasure of reading a poem at a memorial service last week. This was organised by one of my local Funeral Directors, and they invited all the families they had looked after during the last year. It was so wonderful to share this service with each other, and it helped all those present to know that they weren't alone. As I returned to my seat one lady was visibly sobbing, so I squeezed her shoulder as I passed. It was an instinctive action, but one that she thanked me profusely for afterwards. She said that it was much appreciated, and made her realise that she wasn't alone. Sometimes the smallest of gestures can make all the difference in the world.
During all the busyness of the coming few days make sure you spend time with those you love, and let them know how much they mean to you. Life is short no matter what age you live too, try to make the most of every moment, but most of all be kind to yourself and to those around you.