Useful information for friends/family/community of those suffering bereavement

It is very difficult for all people involved when a loved one dies. There are obviously no advice manuals of how you can help families going through this terrible ordeal. We have put together a few suggestions and some useful advice. We can only give you advice based on our experiences and point of view, bear in mind others may feel differently

If you can, try to offer practical help and support such as taking care of washing, ironing, cleaning, making telephone calls, helping with the school run and providing cooked meals for the family. If you are a very close friend or family member you probably won’t need to ask to help out but if not, be sure you ask if it’s ok that you do anything to help them as some people may not appreciate it and would prefer to be left alone. BUT do not tell them to ask you if they need you, more often than not they WILL NOT ask! It takes too much energy and many people do not like to ask for help! As a suggestion you may be able to subtly offer help, for example A, can I hang the washing out for you? Or ‘let me hang the washing out for you’ or ‘How about I take the children to school for you tomorrow?’

I will never forget a friend knocking on our door and handing over a home cooked bolognaise with “I thought you could use this” The relief that gave us, to not have to worry about cooking one meal.

Are you able to ‘live in’ with the family to help out over the first couple of weeks to take the pressure off them with the daily household duties?

For us, having someone around the house was a great help as we knew things would get done without us having to worry about it.

Do not take it the wrong way if the family are ‘short’ with you and please do not say ‘well I’m just trying to help’ all this will do is make them feel more guilty which will NOT help. Try to remember, they are extremely emotional and fragile

It is natural for all around to feel upset but it is very difficult for the closest bereaved to offer sympathy for others, so please try  not feel upset if they do not respond to your emotions.

Nobody likes a hand out, however the financial burden bereavement can cause can often be an extra worry. BUT rather than handing money or cash over, how about offering to take the children out, maybe to the cinema or bowling. Or if you can manage it (or club together with others) send the family away on a short break.

I will never forget our friends organising for us to go away with our daughter which gave us time away from everything after Harry’s Remembrance Day. Although we spent much of the time in a ‘daze’ I’m sure getting away helped.

Remember, the loved one that died did exist and your bereaved friend or family member may want to talk about them. Try not to avoid this.  If you change the subject or do not respond they may think you don’t care. Many people are under the assumption that if you talk about someone who has just died with their family you will upset them even more, that is not really possible, their pain will never be worse than it is now. Acknowledging the person that has died is extremely important. If you are a close family member or friend and knew the loved one well, try to encourage the bereaved family to talk, often they will remember happy and special times. As far as the bereaved are concerned, their loved one will always exist, will never ever be forgotten, they are just in a different place.

Try not to tell your friend that they will ‘get over it’. This is what we do when we have a cold, not when someone very close to us dies! Neither does it go away after a year. The pain is always there, we just get used to it. That’s all that makes it easier to manage.

Listed below are some useful contacts who can provide help and support.

The Milton Keynes Bereavement Service

Please visit their website for full information

Or telephone 07483 308032

The MK Bereavement Parents Group

Founded by parents brought together by the loss of a child (Whatever the age of the child). Grief is a very personal journey. Our group embraces people at any stage of that journey, but offers a common understanding of knowing what it is like to lose a child, (which is sometimes difficult for our friends and family to understand).

It is a very informal gathering with very little structure, we talk, we listen, we cry and even laugh together.
The overall aim is to help each other deal with the situation we all thought we would never have to face. If you need some support please come along.
You don’t have to participate or stay for long, what we can guarantee though is a warm welcome and plenty of tea coffee, tissues and support.

Our meetings are held every third Thursday of the month from 7.30pm at

Age uk, Peartree Bridge

For more information contact

01908 660033 Ext: 2703 or email:

Child Bereavement UK

Please visit their website for full information

Or telephone 01494 568900

Cruse Bereavement Care

Please visit their website for full information

In addition to these other organisations listed, we are able to contact you personally if you wish with practical advice, information or just to chat and listen. Just contact us via this link  and provide us with your name, email address and telephone number. We will contact you as soon as possible (within 48 hours) We will do our best to answer your questions and provide positive and useful information. However, we are not trained counsellors or advisors; we can only offer advice and information based on what we have learned from our own experience. Sometimes it helps a little just to talk to someone who has experienced first hand the grief, emotions and pain that you are feeling, and we are fully qualified in that respect. We will listen.