When Someone Dies

When Someone Dies

When Someone Dies


It can be difficult to know what to do when someone dies. You’ll feel a range of emotions and understanding your feelings can be hard. Everybody deals with grief differently. There is no right or wrong way for you to feel. And there’s no right or wrong way for you to cope with your grief.

Losing someone you love is really hard. You might feel like you can’t cope or like you’ve lost control. You could feel numb or scared after someone dies. You might feel hopeless and not be able to imagine a happy future.

How you feel might also be affected by how and when the person dies. If it is an unexpected death you are likely to feel shocked. It can take time to come to terms with the idea that the person you care about is gone.

If someone has been ill for a while you may have had time to prepare for the idea of losing them. That doesn’t mean it will hurt less. Just that you might not be so shocked.

All of that is normal. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go through this alone. There are people to support you. Friends and family can be a real comfort in difficult times. There are also counsellors and charities who can help you understand and deal with your bereavement.

Many people find it helps to talk about what they are going through. Expressing how you feel is important, so if you feel like you want to cry then you should.

If you’ve lost someone in your family, like a parent or sibling, you might not know who to talk to. You may not want to upset other members of your family by talking to them about how you’re feeling. Don’t feel like you have to bottle your feelings up.

There are helplines you can call where you can talk to someone about what you’re going through. Sometimes just having someone to listen is all you need.

Another way to express your feelings is to write them down. You might find that keeping a journal is helpful. Or you could write your feelings on a piece of paper and then throw it away. Remember the grieving process is different for everyone.

When you are mourning you need to look after yourself. Make sure you’re still eating properly and sleeping. Some people find that doing exercise can help them cope too.  

What happens at a funeral or memorial service?

A funeral or memorial service is a chance to celebrate the life of the person who has died. Sometimes these can be religious but not always. Friends and family of the person who has died will all come together to remember them.

What happens will be different for each person. Sometimes people will get up and share their memories of the person who’s died. Or someone might read a poem that was important to them. Music that the person who’s died liked may also be played in the service.

Although funerals are really sad they are also a good chance to remember all the good things about the person you’ve lost. It can be helpful to talk to other people who knew them. They might be able to tell you stories you didn’t know before. All of that can help you cope with your loss.

After a funeral there is usually something called a wake. This is a gathering where everyone who was at the service can talk and share stories. It’s usually very informal and you can talk as little or as much as you want.

Do I have to go to the funeral?

You don’t have to go to the funeral if you don’t want to. It can be upsetting and it’s understandable if you’re worried about how it will make you feel. But many people find that going to a funeral helps them with their grief.

If you’re not sure you want to go to a funeral you should talk to your family. They might be able to explain what to expect. They could give you some details about the service to help you prepare. That might make it easier for you to go.

If you don’t go to the funeral but decide you want to say goodbye later there are some things you can do. You could visit the person’s grave to lay some flowers. Sometimes talking to the person who’s died can help too.

My friend has just lost someone. How should I treat them? I don’t want to upset them.

If a friend has lost someone they were close to it can be hard to know how to be with them. It’s understandable that you’re worried about upsetting them. The best thing to do is ask them how they’d like you to treat them.

They might want to have someone to talk to. Or they might want you to avoid the subject. Let your friend know that you are there if they want to talk. Just treat them normally. Your friend might want to be distracted to help them get through this difficult time.

I’m worried that I’ll forget the person I’ve lost. What can I do?

You will have lots of wonderful memories of the person you’ve lost. Remembering the happy times you shared is a good way to help you keep them in your life. You could try writing down some of your favourite memories of them so you can always look back at them.

You may also want to create a memory box. This is somewhere you can keep special things that remind you of the person you’ve lost. You could put old letters and birthday cards in there, or photos of you together. You might have trinkets that remind you of them. Your memory box is personal to you. Whenever you want to remember the person, open the box and go through what’s inside.

Some people like to plant a tree in a favourite place. This can give you somewhere to go whenever you want to think about the person who’s died. You might also talk to them there. Having a physical place to go can help you feel connected to them.

Going to visit their favourite place, listening to their favourite music or watching their favourite films are other ways that you can remember someone you’ve lost.

When will I start to feel better?

There is no timeline for grief. No one can tell you when you will feel better. You have to take each day as it comes. Try to remember that the person who has died would want you to be happy. Try to stay positive and don’t feel guilty if you start to feel happy.

Being happy doesn’t mean you don’t care any more. It just means you are starting to move on from the bereavement. As time passes it will start to feel easier. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. You should do whatever helps you get through this difficult time.

I don’t know how to deal with my mum or dad’s birthday now they’re gone.

It’s normal to find special occasions, like birthdays, difficult. These remind you of the person you’ve lost so it’s natural that it will make you feel sad. Different people cope with these events in different ways.

You might want to spend some time alone. Or you may want to be busy and distracted. It might help to visit their grave or a special place to remember them. Talk to your family to see what they want to do too. Doing something together can be a nice way to remember your mum or dad.

Did you know?

-1 in 29 children in the UK has lost a parent or sibling

-There is no timeline for grief, everyone handles loss differently

-Your doctor can help if you are struggling to cope with a death






Help & Support

Please be aware that this is NOT for emergency help. CLICK HERE for information on emergency help.