How to help someone with grief

It’s hard to see a friend go through the pain of losing someone. It can be difficult to know what to say or do to help them. Here are a few things you can do to offer your support.

Reach out to them

If you’re helping someone through grief the first step is to get in touch and let them know you’re thinking of them. This can be harder than it sounds. Death is a sensitive subject that’s tough to talk about – especially when the person you’re talking to has been affected by it.

Try not to worry about this. Grief can make people feel lonely and isolated – and if you avoid contacting the grieving person, it can make these feelings worse. Your friend will probably appreciate that you’ve made the effort to get in touch.

Bear in mind that grief affects everyone differently, though. Some people need lots of space to make sense of their loss, while others want to spend time with friends and talk about their feelings. So the best thing to do is let your friend decide how much contact they’re comfortable with.

You could start with a text message, just to let them know they’re in your thoughts. Sign off with something like, ‘I’m here when you’re ready to talk.’ That way they can reach out to you when they feel ready.

Don’t insist on face-to-face contact either. Some people are more comfortable texting or talking on the phone to start with.

Offer practical support

Grief can make it harder to carry out everyday tasks like cooking and cleaning. Your friend might appreciate it if you offer to help with some of these little jobs.

Here are a few suggestions:

Remember to give them space and let them decide whether to accept your help. Don’t be afraid to ask – but make it clear that it’s an offer and you won’t be offended if they say no. You don’t want to pressure them or make them feel guilty for wanting to be alone.

Listen to their feelings

When your friend is ready to talk, be a good listener. Try not to talk about yourself or say ‘I know how your feel’. They’re going through a deeply painful and personal experience, so saying this probably won’t help.

Instead, let them speak. Acknowledge their pain, but don’t worry about offering opinions or solutions. For many people, talking about their feelings is an important part of the healing process. Just being there to listen can be a great help.

It’s tempting to offer reassurance by saying things like ‘be strong’ or ‘at least they’re in a better place’. You might have good intentions, but these phrases are likely to sound empty or pointless to someone who’s dealing with the painful reality of grief.

Help them find bereavement support charities

Offering personal support is a good first step when you’re helping a friend through grief. But sometimes grieving people want to talk to someone who’s not a close friend or family member. So it’s important your friend knows there are other places where they can get help if they need it.

In the UK there are many bereavement charities that provide free support to people who are grieving. Here are a few you could recommend to your friend:

There are also charities that provide support for people in certain circumstances, such as those who have lost someone to cancer. For more information, see our list of bereavement charities in the UK.

What if nothing seems to help?

Grief takes time to process. But if your friend feels like they can’t cope or they’re worried about their mental health, it’s important that they get professional help.

Encourage them to book an appointment with their doctor, who can help them find the support they need. They could also visit the NHS website, which has useful information about dealing with grief and getting the right kind of therapy or treatment.

If your friend has hurt themself or you feel they need immediate help, call 999.

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
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  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

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