Tell us how someone should start a conversation about grief


To support our Grief Kind campaign, where we’re encouraging the nation to be Grief Kind this month and beyond, we want to raise more awareness of Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support.

We’d like to share some advice for people supporting a loved one who’s grieving on our social media pages.

We’d like to share some practical phrases and suggestions for how to start a conversation with someone about their grief.

We’re looking for the words that you found most helpful to hear from someone supporting you, whether that’s asking you particular questions, offering comforting words, recognising how you’re feeling, or something else that helped in starting those conversations.

Or if you haven’t gotten the comfort and support that you have needed, what do you wish someone had said to you?

We’ll share your suggestions on our social media pages to help people start a conversation about grief.

We won’t share your username, and all your suggestions will be anonymous.

If you’d like to be involved, please do share your suggestions below, and help others to be Grief Kind.

Take care,

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What I wish someone had done: Held me while I cried and told me that they were here for me and that I wasn’t alone.


I just needed to know someone was there for me, but im going through this very much alone.


In person, words don’t help, but a hug and permission to cry is all I need.
On here - talking to others in the same situation who understand completely, don’t judge, and with whom you can chat, vent, and say things you can never say to your friends and family, has been my salvation.


Don’t say “let me know if you need anything” do something positive, make a meal and take it round, make an appointment for a coffee/pint, go round to check if the grieving person is ok, etc
Do NOT put the onus on the griever


I agree. Someone giving you a hug. Listening to you without judgement and allowing you as much time as you need to offload your grief. Also making definite plans to meet up with you and do things together however simple. Giving you something to break up the lonely hours for a while.


It’s not the words, it’s the silence. I find it most comforting if the person visiting doesn’t
feel the need to fill each minute with endless questions about how I’m coping or feeling, but is able to sit quietly and companionably with me.


Just someone who listened really. One of my friends invited me out just days after my Dad died, which was in itself a lifesaver. Another one took me for a walk. Simple gestures that go a long way.


The simplest important words to someone grieving is “how are you feeling”? and then listen to what the griever is saying.
We understand no one can fix us and that’s not what we want. For me it’s just knowing someone is thinking about me and keeping in regular contact.
One of the best responses I had was when a friend said to me. “Lyn I don’t know what you need or want right now so you lead the way and I will be there whenever you want me to”


My best friend has been wonderful.

:two_hearts:She collaborated with another friend who loves cooking, to provide me and my family with lots of meals.
:two_hearts:Despite having a little baby she has told me that her phone will be on throughout the night and I can message or ring her any time.
:two_hearts:She told me she’s proud of me, and that my dad is as well.
:two_hearts:She helped me with lots of practical aspects to my dad’s funeral: she created a music playlist for the wake. She let me use her scanner to scan in loads of photos. She rang around a load of venues and whittled down the list. She came to see the venue with me.
:two_hearts:She turned up at my house on the day that my dad’s ashes were being delivered.
:two_hearts:She (and others) have encouraged me to share memories and stories of my dad
:two_hearts:She’s basically prioritised my grief. She has had her own troubles but kept a lot of it quiet, knowing what I was going through.
:two_hearts:She has offered her friendship to both me and my mum.
:two_hearts:She said that all of the things she’s done are because she’s imagined being in my position and has thought about what she would need if she was in the same position. (whilst she has lost people and pets, they’ve been due to old age, which my loss wasn’t).
:two_hearts:Her fiance turned up with loads of staple foods so that we didn’t need to go to the shops.
:two_hearts:Years ago, when she was going through a breakup, we decided that we were sisters, and I’ve told her that the support that she’s given me and my family is second to none, and she really has been a sister to me and daughter to my mum.
:two_hearts:She basically imposed her help on us, which is exactly what we needed.
:two_hearts:When I told her that my dad had been admitted to hospital she turned up at A&E. A few months previously I’d turned up at the same hospital when she was giving birth.
:two_hearts:She has turned up at mine to take me for a walk/drive.
:two_hearts:She suggested that we go on a commemorative trip to the places my dad loved the most.


Some of the best conversations I’ve had about my late wife have begun with the other person saying “ I miss her …” and allowing themselves to share in my loss by relating their loss. It really helped to know I wasn’t the only one carrying that pain.


I agree with this. My best friend has held her tears back for me, but she doesn’t need to. I know that she’s also grieving, and we can grieve together.


I was just thinking on this subject, and this is how I feel that others could do better:

Checking in regularly (like, once a week?). Ideally knocking at the door and giving a hug / bringing a hot flask. But messaging will suffice if that’s not possible.


Thank you so much everyone, I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts :blue_heart: They will be so helpful for others in starting a conversation about grief.

Please do keep them coming :slight_smile:

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The biggest support I have are from those who ask how I am - whether a phone call or a text message.daily. Friends who offer to go for a walk or coffee just to get me out of the house. They don’t avoid me or look at me with pity when I’m talking about my son’s funeral plans and they are there with a hug when I’m crying and they talk about my son with fond memories. I want people to talk about him and remember him and not avoid mentioning his name.


Hello everyone,

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for sharing your thoughts and advice. The post is now live on Facebook and you can see it here (and share it, if you would like to).

Thanks again and keep reaching out :blue_heart: