Supporting bereaved children & their families in Kent

Holding On Letting Go

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How to help your bereaved friends/family at Christmas

Published by Caroline, 28 Nov 2019

You don’t want to say the wrong thing, but you also don’t want to say nothing at all.
You don’t want to interfere by asking if you can help, but you also don’t want to look like you’re not thinking about them by letting them just get on with it.

The rules around bereavement vary for everyone, but starting with talking – you can most likely do quite a lot for someone with just a little gesture.

Here are our suggestions of things to say or do to start a conversation:

Things you could do:
❄️ Ask the parent how they are feeling – enquire but do not interrogate.

❄️ Share a memory with them – your favourite, funniest, or just something that pops into your head. They may never have heard it before.

❄️ Give a hug instead of saying something if you know them well and you know that they would feel comfortable with this physical contact.

❄️ Be able to sit in silence with the person and do not fill the void with words.

Things you could say:
“I will do my best to understand.”
“I can’t really understand what you are feeling right now, but I can offer my compassion.”
“I am sorry for your loss.”
“I’m at a loss for words, I don’t know what to say.”
“I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in any way I can.”
“You and your child are in my thoughts and prayers at this Christmas time.”

TIP: Never say you know how they feel – it can really upset people.

Finding the words is hard sometimes, but just a simple sentence can open up the channels of communication so that you are able to give welcome and timely support.

If they haven’t had our support before, please do let them know about us or offer to put them in touch.

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