'What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us'

Helen Keller

Where to find help & support on-line, in print & in person

 

We have gathered together a selection of books, support groups, podcasts and blogs that offer advice, support (both practical and emotional) and information on death, dying and bereavement. We hope that, when you are ready, amongst the resources below you might find something that helps in some way.

LIVING WITH A 'NEW NORMAL'

Losing someone you love is devastating, whatever the circumstances. After the funeral, when the immediate practicalities of dealing with your loved one’s death are over, the feeling of loss, emptiness and perhaps anger or a fear for the future, can be overwhelming.

Everyone’s journey through bereavement and grief will be different and for many it will be life-long process of coming to terms with the absence of the person they love and of learning to live with a ‘new normal’.

FINDING HELP AND SUPPORT

Many people find it helpful to understand a little bit about what they are feeling and may find comfort in recognising that someone else has felt this too.

Linking up with others who have suffered a similar loss, or exploring coping mechanisms that might get you through the darkest days, can provide enormous strength.

There are many different ways to access the wonderful support that is available. Below is a selection covering a number of types of delivery - print, on-line, in person. We hope that one, or a combination of these, gives you the insight and help that you need.

THE GOOD GRIEF TRUST
Visit the website
The Good Grief Trust exists to help all those affected by grief in the UK. Their vision is to help those bereaved from day one, acknowledge their grief and provide reassurance, a virtual hand of friendship and ongoing support. They bring bereavement services together, to ensure everyone receives the tailored support they need to move forward with their lives.

AT A LOSS
Visit the website
AtaLoss is a national charity providing a comprehensive hub of information and bereavement support. Wherever you live, whatever your age, whatever the circumstances of your loss you can easily search and find support from over 1200 services listed across the UK, up to date information, helplines and a FREE live-chat counselling service. AtaLoss is there for bereaved people and for anyone supporting a bereaved adult or child.

GRIEFWORKS COURSE
Visit the website
This course by leading grief psychotherapist Julia Samuel guides you through a step-by-step process, helping you to work with your grief in order to soothe your pain, build your strength and heal.

CRUSE BEREAVEMENT CARE
Visit the website

Cruse Bereavement Care is one of the leading national charities for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They offer support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies. They actively work to enhance society’s care of bereaved people. Cruse offers face-to-face, telephone, email and website support. 

MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT
Visit the website

Support and advice for those affected by Cancer.

MENINGITIS NOW
Visit the website

Information on meningitis and providing support to the families and friends of those bereaved by meningitis.

REFUGE IN GRIEF
Visit the website

Megan Devine is a psychotherapist, writer, grief advocate & communication expert who has created a wonderful resource and an online community that helps people survive some of the hardest experiences of their lives.

SUPPORT AFTER MURDER AND MANSLAUGHTER (SAMM)
Visit the website

SAMM is a national UK Charity supporting families bereaved by murder and manslaughter.

SURVIVORS OF BEREAVEMENT BY SUICIDE (SOBS)
Visit the website

Providing information and support for people over 18 years of age who have been bereaved by suicide.

GRIEFCHAT
Visit the website

A safe space for grieving or bereaved people to share their story, explore their feelings and be supported by a qualified bereavement counsellor.

DAD STILL STANDING
Visit the website
Matt Dearsley and Liam Preston, two dads from Essex, talk about their experiences of baby loss. Brutally honest, raw, light-hearted and sometimes funny, they created Dad Still Standing as a point of reference for other dads who have experienced a loss.

GRIEFCHAT
Visit the website

A safe space for grieving or bereaved people to share their story, explore their feelings and be supported by a qualified bereavement counsellor.

WAR WIDOWS ASSOCIATION
Visit the website

The War Widows Association is a pressure group that seeks to improve the conditions of War Widows and their dependents. It also supports those who have suffered bereavement as a result of conflicts from World War II to the present day, including in peacetime if the death was attributable to their service life.

WAY (Widowed and Young)
Visit the website

Founded in 1997, the only UK national charity for men and women aged 50 or under when their partner died. It is a peer-to-peer emotional and practical support group run by a network of volunteers who have been bereaved at a young age themselves, so they understand exactly what other members are going through.

GRIEF ENCOUNTER
Visit the website
Supporting bereaved children and young people, with free, immediate one-to-one support.

CHILD BEREAVEMENT UK
Visit the website

Child Bereavement UK help children and young people (up to the age of 25), parents, and families, to rebuild their lives when a child grieves or when a child dies. They also provide training to professionals, equipping them to provide the best possible care to bereaved families.

THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS
Visit the website

A charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause.

THE GOOD GRIEF PROJECT
Visit the website

Supporting families grieving after the untimely death of a loved one, particularly the death of a child. Through their films and talks, promoting understanding of what it means to grieve in a society that often has difficulty talking openly about death, dying and bereavement.

LET’S TALK ABOUT LOSS
Visit the website

A safe space to talk through taboos and address the reality of losing someone close when you are young. Their aim is to help young people who have lost a loved one feel less alone and less consumed by their grief.

WINSTON’S WISH
Visit the website

Established in 1992, Winston’s Wish provides specialist child bereavement support for children, young people and their families after the death of a parent or sibling.

HOPE AGAIN
Visit the website
Hope Again is the youth website of Cruse Bereavement Care. It is a safe place where you can learn from other young people, how to cope with grief, and feel less alone.

THE GOOD GRIEF TRUST
Visit the website
The Good Grief Trust exists to help all those affected by grief in the UK. Their vision is to help those bereaved from day one, acknowledge their grief and provide reassurance, a virtual hand of friendship and ongoing support. They bring bereavement services together, to ensure everyone receives the tailored support they need to move forward with their lives.

GRIEFCHAT
Visit the website

A safe space for grieving or bereaved people to share their story, explore their feelings and be supported by a qualified bereavement counsellor.

THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS
Visit the website

A charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause.

GRIEFCHAT
Visit the website

A safe space for grieving or bereaved people to share their story, explore their feelings and be supported by a qualified bereavement counsellor.

THE GOOD GRIEF PROJECT
Visit the website

Supporting families grieving after the untimely death of a loved one, particularly the death of a child. Through their films and talks, promoting understanding of what it means to grieve in a society that often has difficulty talking openly about death, dying and bereavement.

MISCARRIAGE ASSOCIATION
Visit the website

Providing information and support for those affected by miscarriage, molar pregnancy or ectopic Pregnancy.

SAYING GOODBYE
Visit the website

Saying Goodbye provides comprehensive information, advice, support and much more to anyone who has suffered the loss of a baby, at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy.

SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity)
Visit the website

Sands is the stillbirth and neonatal-death charity. They operate throughout the UK, supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby, working to improve the care bereaved parents receive, and promoting research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.

THE TWINS TRUST BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUP
Visit the website

The Twins Trust Bereavement Support Group (BSG) exists to support all parents and carers of twins, triplets or more who have died, whether it was during pregnancy or after pregnancy.

CHILD BEREAVEMENT UK
Visit the website

Child Bereavement UK help children and young people (up to the age of 25), parents, and families, to rebuild their lives when a child grieves or when a child dies. They also provide training to professionals, equipping them to provide the best possible care to bereaved families.

DAD STILL STANDING
Visit the website
Matt Dearsley and Liam Preston, two dads from Essex, talk about their experiences of baby loss. Brutally honest, raw, light-hearted and sometimes funny, they created Dad Still Standing as a point of reference for other dads who have experienced a loss.

THE LULLABY TRUST
Visit the website

The Lullaby Trust raises awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies and offers emotional support for bereaved families.

WINSTON’S WISH
Visit the website

Established in 1992, Winston’s Wish provides specialist child bereavement support for children, young people and their families after the death of a parent or sibling.

THE GOOD GRIEF TRUST
Visit the website
The Good Grief Trust exists to help all those affected by grief in the UK. Their vision is to help those bereaved from day one, acknowledge their grief and provide reassurance, a virtual hand of friendship and ongoing support. They bring bereavement services together, to ensure everyone receives the tailored support they need to move forward with their lives.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY 'LIVING BEREAVEMENT'?

As grief psychotherapist Julia Samuel says 'Grief starts at the point of diagnosis, when we can no longer assume, as most of us do, that we are going to continue to live for the foreseeable future'. 

Living with the knowledge that our time on earth, or that of a loved one, is shorter than we thought it was going to be can seem unbearable, but finding the right support may help to ease some of the pain and distress.

WHERE TO FIND INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

There are some wonderful websites and support groups that can help and guide you. Please see the section below 'Support when preparing for life's end for you or a loved one' to find one that is right for you.

HOSPICES

There is an extensive network of hospices throughout the United Kingdom.  Hospice UK, the national charity working for those experiencing dying, death and bereavement, has a list of hospice members and other partners who work in end of life care.

END-OF-LIFE DOULAS & SOUL MIDWIVES

With medical services and professionals stretched to the limit, it is not always possible for them to give patients the extra care, support and information they need when they are facing the end of their life.  An End of Life Doula or Soul Midwife can fill this void.

Living Well Dying Well, a West Sussex based organisation that trains Doulas, explains the concept and role of an End of Life Doula:


"Doulas are trained in supporting people at the beginning (birth doulas) and end of life. ‘End of Life Doulas’ walk alongside the individual, their family and their community as an informed companion. They are sensitive to practical, emotional and spiritual needs and are a consistent and compassionate presence, with knowledge, experience and understanding. Their role is to preserve the quality of wellbeing, sense of identity and self-worth from the moment of diagnosis. They do not replace medical care, but facilitate access to resources that are available and also recognise the frequently intangible elements of life that can have a major impact on the family as they strive to maintain the best quality of life possible."


Even if you have supportive family and friends, having someone with knowledge and expertise who can help you navigate the medical, psychological and practical aspects in the last weeks or months, can help make a very difficult time a little easier for you and those around you.

For more information, please see:

End of Life Doula UK

Soul Midwives UK

 

BEFORE I GO SOLUTIONS
Visit the website
Provides End of Life Planning tools, guidance and training to make your journey much easier, simpler and more straightforward. And helps you to do it in a way that is enjoyable too!

DYING MATTERS
Visit the website

Dying Matters is a coalition of individual and organisational members across England and Wales, which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.

HOSPICE UK
Visit the website

Hospice UK is the national charity working for those experiencing dying, death and bereavement. They work for the benefit of people affected by death and dying, collaborating with their hospice members and other partners who work in end of life care.

SOUL MIDWIVES UK
Visit the website
Soul midwives lovingly ease the passage of the dying, offering a range of gentle therapies to soothe and reassure, and they are skilled advocates and advisors.

END OF LIFE DOULA UK
Visit the website

An End of Life Doula is there to support a person, and those that they love, with a terminal diagnosis, from the time they receive the news that they have a life-limiting illness through to the final months and weeks, and beyond to funeral planning.

MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT
Visit the website

Support and advice for those affected by cancer.

DR LUCY HONE, RESILIENT GRIEVING
Visit the website
In one of the 20 most viewed TED talks of 2020, Dr Lucy Hone, resilience expert, shares the three strategies that got her through an unimaginable personal tragedy.

MODERN LOSS
Visit the website

Modern Loss is a place to share the unspeakably taboo, unbelievably hilarious, and unexpectedly beautiful terrain of navigating your life after a death.

GRIEFWORKS COURSE
Visit the website
This course by leading grief psychotherapist Julia Samuel guides you through a step-by-step process, helping you to work with your grief in order to soothe your pain, build your strength and heal.

GRIEFCAST
Visit the website

A podcast hosted by Cariad Lloyd with funny people talking about death and grief.

WHAT’S YOUR GRIEF
Visit the website

A US based website promoting the exploration, education and expression of grief in both practical and creative ways. It is full of interesting articles and ideas on the subject.

BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR COUNSELLING AND PSYCOTHERAPY (BACP)
Visit the website

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK. It provides information on different types of therapy. The BACP Register and directory can help you make sure that the therapist you see is qualified and works to professional standards.

GRIEFCHAT
Visit the website

GriefChat provide personal one on one bereavement counselling. All of their services are delivered by qualified, experienced bereavement counsellors, who have been thoroughly vetted for qualifications and experience and who hold a current, clean DBS check.

NHS FIND A PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPIES SERVICE
Visit the website
The IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies programme) allows people to self-refer through the NHS website.

AT A LOSS
Visit the website
AtaLoss is a national charity providing a comprehensive hub of information and bereavement support. Wherever you live, whatever your age, whatever the circumstances of your loss you can easily search and find support from over 1200 services listed across the UK, up to date information, helplines and a FREE live-chat counselling service. AtaLoss is there for bereaved people and for anyone supporting a bereaved adult or child.

HOW TO SUPPORT SOMEONE WHO IS BEREAVED

We all want to be there for the people we care about when they are grieving, but often we are afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. This is understandable, because the circumstances around every death is unique and likewise everyone's journey through grief is different. What is helpful, supportive or comforting for one person may be less so for another.

There are many interesting and informative books about grief and grieving, written by both experts in the field and by ordinary people who have experienced the death of someone close to them. These contain a wealth of information, advice and anecdotes that might just help you to navigate this difficult path. This section draws from some of these resources to give you ideas about how to provide support for the bereaved person.

Spoken Words

Finding the right words can be difficult. Most people are frightened of saying the wrong thing or causing distress by mentioning the name of the person who has died. It may feel safer or easier to avoid someone who is bereaved or to say nothing. However, this can leave the bereaved person feeling alienated or isolated. Be honest, admit that you are struggling to find the right words, but tell them that you want to let them know that you are thinking of them. Don’t be afraid to talk about the person who has died, most people want to talk about their loved one and keep their memory alive. Be sensitive and look for cues to see how what you are saying is being received. In her book ‘Grief Works', grief psychotherapist Julia Samuels suggests that if you can see you have said the wrong thing, just say ‘I’m sorry, I can see that what I have said has upset you’.

Written words

Sending an email, text, letter or condolence card is a lovely way to let the person know that you are thinking of them. Then they can read it when they are ready (for some people this may be many months, or even years, later and for others it will provide comfort straight away). They can also revisit it in the future when the initial flurry of support has lessened and there is time to really take in the words, particularly if they are treasured memories or amusing anecdotes.

Don’t worry if you did not send a message straight away. Hearing from friends, relatives or acquaintances at any time can make someone feel less alone and it brings comfort to know that people are still thinking about them. In her book ‘A Friend Indeed’, Amy Florian gives lots of examples of how to word condolence cards and letters. Amongst them you may find the right words for you and the person you are writing to.

Practical help

Offer practical help (food, childcare/school run, dog walking, taking the bins out, etc). Be specific about what you can do, but be sure to listen to what they need. Keep offering and keep helping. It may be many months, or longer, before someone who is bereaved is able to function again in the way they used to. Grief can be all consuming and exhausting, leaving little time and energy for the tasks of everyday living.

A listening ear

Sometimes it’s best to say nothing, just let them talk. Acknowledge their grief and don’t minimise it by try to make them feel better with platitudes or by comparing their experience to your own. Again, allow the person to talk as and when they need to, for as long as they need to. In their book ‘We All Know How This Ends’, Anna Lyons and Louise Winter emphasise that you can’t take away their pain, but being there for them and just sitting with them in their grief is enough.

Condolence Gifts

A thoughtful and well-chosen gift can let someone know that you are thinking of them. If you can’t find the right words, a gift lets someone know you care. Send a scented candle or keepsake, a tree or shrub to plant in memory of the person who has died or something that you know will bring a little light into their lives. Whatever you send, it is always nice to say that you do not expect a response. Don’t take it personally if they do not thank you or reply. It won’t be that they aren’t touched or grateful, just that they have, of course, other things on their mind.

Whiteballoon Condolence Cards & Gifts and Personal Touches & Keepsakes Inspiration pages have lots of ideas and suggestions.

Remember key dates and anniversaries

As time passes, try to remember key dates and anniversaries. Not just the anniversary of the death, but birthdays too or perhaps on Mothering Sunday for someone who has lost their mother. One of the hard things for the bereaved is that the rest of the world quickly moves on, whereas for them everything has changed and will never be quite the same again, and this can be very isolating. So, be guided by the person and the circumstances of their loss. Don't be afraid to tell them that you are not sure what to say or do but that you would like to help. Be there for them, not just in the short term but for as long as it takes.