Special times of year and holidays can be difficult times for those who of us who have lost loved ones.

For many Muslims the whole month of Ramadan and then the ensuing festival of Eid can take on a whole new meaning.

We speak to people of different ages, some who have chosen to give their names and others have not, on dealing with grief during Ramadan and Eid. 

The holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which sees Muslim fast from dawn till dusk, began on March 23 and is set to end in the coming days with the Festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.

During that time new bonds and old friendships can be reformed. But the memory of a loved one lingers and the grief can be insurmountable.

It wasn’t until Ramadan that Irkam, 46, realised how much he missed his dad. 

He said: “When he died for the first few weeks I was a little numb and did not feel much emotion.

“In our culture as people know when someone die everyone surrounds you and there are so many things to do.

“He died only weeks before Ramadan and for the next few weeks I spent time organising things and supporting the rest of the family.”

He says he began to dread the beginning of the month of Ramadan.

“I knew it would be difficult and I did not want to show that I was missing his presence," Irkam continued.

"When you are growing up you feel a new connection with your parents during special occasions.

“I remember speaking to a colleague at work and he told me how much he missed his mother at Christmas. I didn’t understand it at the time until I felt these overwhelming moments of grief during Ramadan.

“I miss my dad most during the Ramadan. I remember him taking me to mosque as a child and I would end up going to sleep and he would carry me home.

“I remember we would attend each and every Tarawih prayer (later evening prayers) together and stand shoulder to shoulder for a whole hour. 

“I remember looking up at him as he did his dua both hands outstretched. I remember those moments during the tarawih when he would smile at me knowing I was a little tired.”

When Fariha was 27, her mum passed away suddenly. It broke up her family and she moved away alongside her sisters.

She said: “My mum was the centre of our family and even though she is not here she still is.

"The home was a different place during Ramadan and everything revolved around our mum.

“The mother is the most important person in the household. We all know this to be true.

“Each and every evening our mum would prepare the meals and then would quickly open her fast and ensure everyone else ate first before she sat down. 

“We came from a large extended family and household and people would just turn up at our house to eat. Never did she complain nor ever turn anyone away.

"She would make an extra effort to send food to our non-Muslim neighbours.

“On Eid day everyone else would be ready but mum would downplay everything. Eid was never about her but us. It was always about us.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

'Tarawih' prayers take place each night during Ramadan. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

She had such a calming influence during Ramadan

Taaibah, 35, said: “My sister had this infectious personality. There are few people like her.

"When she walked in she would light up the whole room with her smile. She had time for everyone.

“Ramadan can be a time when tempers are flared. Never with her.

“Nobody ever raised their voice to her. They couldn’t. There are some people who have that way with them. 

“No matter what the situation, they can calm everyone down. 

“Ramadan and Eid were extra special for us as my sister would make all the plans as to who would be going to what Iftari and whose house we would go to first for Eid. She planned it all and we listened to her.

“She always made the right choice.

“I know there are people reading this right now who will have lost someone like that.

“I always feel the departed person misses us as much as we miss them. I know she does.

“People say that over time things get easier. They do not.”

Faraz, 42, lost his parents during the month of Ramadan in different years.

He said: "I found the most difficult period is the final hour just before you are going to open my fast. Maybe it is the hunger or just the emotion taking over.

“I know when speaking to others the evening meal to open the fast can also be so difficult.

“It was there the food was laid. It was there where we sat on the floor to eat. It was there we were together.

“I now try to treasure those moments. I know now why my parents themselves told us to never forget those moments. Maybe they were remembering the very same things themselves.”

We would visit each other's homes on Eid

People handle loss in different ways.

A 39-year-old, who did not wish to be named, said: “This will be the first time I will not be without my friend of 27 years on Eid.

"We used to visit each other’s house and his mum would make a special dish for us.

“We would start each Eid like this. It began at the mosque and we would then walk to his home.

“I want to visit his house on Eid and I know his mum would welcome me but it just does not feel the same.

“I just stopped visiting his house. I know I should go but I feel some memories are best left as they were. 

“I don’t think I have dealt with the grief very well."

I wonder what my sister would be wearing on Eid

Aisha is 55 and says sometimes it is difficult to speak to anyone at Ramadan. 

She said: “Those who have lost someone really dear to them can understand the pain. I know I am not alone but it does feel like that. Some of us hide it better that others.

“I lost my sister and I think about her all the time. I think about what she would have been doing during Ramadan and what she would have cooked for me when I went to visit.

“She would make this lovely little pastries and milkshakes for everyone. 

“I want her to tell me what to do.

“It is silly but I even think about what she would have worn on Eid. When we were  younger we would compare our outfits.

“I know people do grieve more on special occasions but the whole month of Ramadan can be a reminder of what who we have lost.

"This then ends with Eid which can be even more painful.

“Our grief is a reminder that we are only here for a fleeting moment and no matter what we may have said to one another – none of it really matters.

"The only things that matter are the happy memories."