Ask Amy: A Sudden Death Equals Sudden Grief

By Amy Dickinson | February 19th, 2021

When the best people to turn to won't even respond to your messages

Woman filled with grief

Dear Amy: My brother, “Harold” died unexpectedly from an infection in December.

It was a shock to me and our other brother, because he had always been the healthiest one of us.

I have never been close to my sister-in-law, and their adult kids are off living their lives.

I sent a condolence card to each of them but got nothing in return.

They are the only family I have, so I am at a loss as to how to stay connected.

What do you suggest?

— Grieving Sister

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Dear Grieving: Because your brother died suddenly – during a pandemic – his wife and children may be reeling in their own orbits, unable to be expansive enough to understand that you, too, are grieving.

In less isolated times, when people are able to gather together to mourn, family members can circle together and comfort each other personally.

I’m so sorry you are experiencing such acute grief.

Because you want to forge a closer connection (good for you!), you should call your sister-in-law occasionally to check in and see how she and her kids are doing.

Contact the adult children personally, as well. Social media offers a wonderful way to connect and essentially get to know people in a new way. If any of these relatives are active on Facebook or Instagram, it would be worthwhile for you to create an account (if you don’t have one, already) and see if you can connect with them.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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