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Putting things into perspective

17 December 2011

I had a call from a very old friend who I haven’t spoken to since Cat’s funeral. Oh, and when I say ‘old friend’ I don’t mean she’s old – I mean we go back some.

I haven’t spoken to her in a while, not because I didn’t want to but because I felt very awkward. Earlier this year she and her husband lost their two year-old baby girl due to gross negligence and failings in the NHS. There was a feeling of guilt on my part in that although I had lost my wife, I still had my son. They on the other hand had lost their daughter and I didn’t want to be insensitive albeit accidentally by mentioning Nathaniel to them.

I needn’t have worried. In fact by not calling I was isolating them more. I was probably the only friend they had who could sympathise/empathise with them from being in a similar situation.

You get told that during the period from death to funeral your phone won’t stop ringing with well-intentioned people offering help and the letter box doesn’t stop banging with cards and letters arriving. Once the funeral is over however you’re told it will go quiet. How true that is. I have been fortunate in that our friends have kept in contact via Facebook (what would I have done without that electronic contact?).

People worry about calling – they worry about not knowing what to say or saying the wrong thing. As with the call we had, don’t worry about it. Just ring and talk. It’s the best therapy we can get. Not calling makes us feel that we have done something wrong or by losing a partner or child are no longer welcome in your life.


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