About the Author

Mary is a writer and speaker who lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons – but lives because of God’s grace. She writes about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places at MaryCarver.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Mary,
    Your post made me remember the lines I’ve stood in at visitations and funerals, and you’re right, you do remember faces. Many other details are blurred, but you remember the faces of those who came to share in your pain. I am at an age where many of my friends are losing their parents and even months after the event, I know I’m still needed to just be there. Thanks for the precious reminder to go and be there for them.

  2. Our family experienced a loss this past weekend…he was a 4-footed family member & it was comforting to have our son come home for a couple of nights just to be with us as we laughed & remembered the 15 years we had Izzo, our friend & companion. He was always ‘just there’ for us…always ready to wag his tail & put a smile on a bad day face. I posted his picture on Facebook – my husband doesn’t have a FB account – but he/we found comfort each time I told him another of our friends had sent a message of compassion. Yes! Just knowing someone was ‘there’ was what helped us through saying goodbye & moving forward.

    • Trish,

      I’m so sorry, I know how hard that can be, losing a companion. It does n’t hurt less. I’m thinking of you and your husband.

      Blessings to you,


    • Trish,
      Losing a pet can hurt just as much as family. Prayers for you and hubby as you grieve this loss. Do your best to remember the good times you had. I remember losing my iguana (iggy). Good thing I had pictures of him and was able to send them via email to my hubby to remember.
      Blessings 🙂

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. I know I’ve underestimated it because I’m one of those people who tends to feel like she has to DO something in order to be useful. But yes, just being there is sooo helpful. I remember the people who braved the ICU to be with us after our son’s surgery, I remember the people who came to visitations and funerals – and I am so thankful for their presence. I just hope I can be there and help by sharing with others.

  4. Mary,

    I’m sorry for your loss. Your family and friends are very fortunate that you were able to be there in their times of need. It is a nice thought to be able to be present at all times but sometimes it isn’t possible. When someone wasn’t able to be present for me or I wasn’t able to be present for them we mutually understand that we just weren’t able to be present and not that they care any less.


    • Thank You Penny. Love your words about mutually understanding that they were not able to be present and not that they care any less.

  5. I love this. I came from a family that was very close whe my. mother’s parents were alive. I remember how we were all always there for each other. Now at times i feel so lost because we have all driftex apart.

  6. I love this… and sadly, I am convicted in all the best ways by it too! A good friend recently lost a family member and the funeral was last week… I wasn’t sure of ‘protocol’ because I didn’t know him at all… didn’t know most of the family… but I wanted to be there for her. I talked myself out of going, assuring myself that I would be there when all the family went back to out of town homes… and I will be. I am. And still… at least now I know! Next time, I will go. Thanks for this!

    • I recently loss my mother in law (about 4 months ago) and let me say that we, my immediate family was overwhelmed by people who were “there” for us. From the emails, phone calls, beautiful cards and flowers. Support at the funeral also. We had to fly to another state for the burial and funeral arrangements. This post reminds me of all those who were “just there for me. Thank You Mary, this is a lovely and touching post. Bought tears to my eyes.

    • Karrilee, I have talked myself out of being there for friends in the past, too. Recently, actually. I needed this reminder, too. 🙂

  7. This is truly a lovely and heartwarming post. I recently loss my mother in law about 4months ago and our family was overwhelmed by people “just being there” for us. It was either via email, cards, flowers or just “there”. Knowing that they loved us. Thank You Mary for your beautiful words of love. Your words really touched my heart.

    • Debbie,
      We experienced the blessing of Hospice care during my dad’s last days.. Thank you for what you do.. it means the world. Truly. The care providers cared for him as if he were theirs.. and we adopted them into ours.. forever connected by just a few days of love and later grief.. but connections create memories.
      Thank you again.

    • Debbie,
      God bless you and all hospice workers. My mom had hospice for the last year of her life. When she died one hospice worker had her hubby go get my dad a biscuit to eat. They stayed and looked at pictures and were there until family could arrive.
      I pray God bless you !
      Blessings to you! 🙂

  8. Mary,
    I’m so very sorry for your loss.
    This post.. it hit home for me. I experienced this just – (wow, has it only been a month?!) – in June.. What did I take away from my dad passing away? (1) Live in the present. (2) Do things you enjoy. (3) Be there for family and friends [what this article is about]. (4) Work hard but play too [Dad tried to tell me this in one of our chats.. We had some great conversations..] (5) I’m still learning and taking away from Dad passing away.. but mainly? (6) LOVE those dear to you.. and make sure they know it.. no regrets. ‪

    Since Dad passed.. I’ve made it a point to reach out to folks, and if someone passes, I go to to their visitation/funeral. We have to be there for each other.. who else will? It DOES make a difference to see that face you’ve not seen in person in ages.. and they are THERE when you need someone the most.. they are THERE. Your article was so right on point. Thank you!

    • Sara, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you for taking time to share with us what you’ve learned – such valuable reminders of how to really live and live in community!

  9. Mary,
    So sorry for the loss! Know that you, your husband and his family are in my prayers!! 🙂
    We are two peas in a pod! When friends have family in the hospital, someone goes through surgery, etc. I want to do something. Usually I cook a meal, visit, write a card, etc. Each time there is a funeral for church people-even if I didn’t know them well I will go and visit the family. I know it means a lot to be there for them. I pray for the family afterwards.
    Blessings 🙂

  10. Thank you so much for this. This past weekend, we got 4 of “those” calls. FOUR. In ONE weekend. As we re-worked schedules and headed off in the car for the first visitation, an hour away, my husband and I discussed that this is our life now: weddings and funerals. The happy and the sad. When my Mom passed away 17 years ago, we stood in a long line at their church and greeted their friends. My parents lived in another state, so 99.9% of the people were pretty-much strangers to us. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied this tall man, walking quickly toward us…totally “cutting” to the front of the line. It was our former pastor…who drove FROM ANOTHER STATE…just to step in, offer a hug and some encouraging words. And then, he was gone. It was a total surprise. He didn’t know my Mom AT ALL. Him being there…making that effort? It was completely unexpected, and it meant so much.

    • Oh, wow, Marty – four calls in one weekend is too much! Thank you for sharing the story of your mom’s funeral – what an amazing friend to travel so far after so long to be there for you!