"Just as death is a certainty, so too is grief. It is a universally shared experience and yet totally unique to each individual. Asking for and finding the right support for each person can be challenging. But it is available"

— Annie Broadbent, author of We Need to Talk About Grief

Annie Broadbent

Supporting the Bereaved

Someone you love has recently been bereaved. You desperately want to be there for them, but you don’t really know how. It can be a daunting prospect – supporting someone you care about through a time of so much pain, especially as there is currently not a huge amount of support available for the supporters. Finding the right words to comfort your friend, and knowing what you can offer to do is often overwhelming, confusing and sometimes quite frightening. Each person responds differently, and what they need from you will be further influenced by who it is that died, how they died, and what their specific circumstances are. But there are certain things that can help, and other things that might be best avoided.

Supporting the recently bereaved

A letter to Frankie Knuckles family

The Obama family wrote a letter of support following the death of the influential DJ and music producer Frankie Knuckles. This letter was sent at a time when Barack Obama was president of the United States of America.

Talking about Grief

We all experience grief in different ways. This will be influenced by a number of factors such as the type of death, the relationship to the deceased, and the age/culture/support network of the bereaved. Some people may find talking about their experience helpful, others may find it very difficult and it is likely that the bereaved will oscillate between the two. Things such as the Death Café offer a safe and welcoming place to talk about all things death, dying and grief.

Grief from a ‘Reddit’ thread (contributor unknown)

Over the years many different psychologists have tried to define and calculate grief into different stages and phases. The diagram below debunks one of these attempts and reworks it based on the creator’s own experiences.



stages of grief

Grief online

The internet has changed the way in which we remember and grieve forever. It’s important to bear in mind that this can be both supportive and also difficult for some people. There are now a range of online forums for those experiencing grief and various blogs of people’s experiences which can be subscribed to.

Social media sites such as Facebook offer an online forum for people to share photos, memories of the deceased and invite people to funerals and memorials.


There is no right or wrong way to grieve. People may feel anger soon after a loved one dies often turning to sadness later on. Knowing that your emotions may change overtime and that this it common may help the bereaved understand that this is normal.

grief confusion

Annie Broadbent

This article was written for MyWishes by Annie Broadbent, author of We Need to Talk About Grief

A selection of grief and bereavement resources from Charities within the UK

MyWishes is the UK’s leading end of life planning software. It is free to use and can empower your to write your will, plan your funeral, safeguard your digital legacy, plan your future care and publish a bucket list.

I am ready to start documenting my wishes

stay at home

MyWishes free to use software was developed under the guidance of healthcare, hospice, legal and funeral professionals. To learn more about how MyWishes works click here.