How To Support Bereaved Families

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We asked bereaved families to share examples of something that someone said or did that helped them in the weeks, months and years after their baby died.

This is not meant to be a ‘to do’ list for supporting bereaved families, as everyone is different.

We hope that sharing these quotes gives an indication of how important the support offered by friends and families can be and how it can be remembered for many years to come.

Image result for kolade johnson family
The Nigerian Police team, led by Zubairu Muazu, the State Commissioner of Police, on a visit to sympathise with the family of a slain youth, Kolade Joseph .

“Always mention the child’s name.

“If you knew the child, talk about any memories you may have.  Of course tears will be shed – but that is natural and nothing to be worried about. In fact it might be a temporary release and bring some relief to the bereaved.”

“Ask how the person feels THAT day.

“Grief comes in waves and every day is different.”

“Ask them if they want to talk

“…and be prepared to hear the same details again and again as this is a way of processing what happened.“

“Acknowledge and accept ALL feelings

“…that it is OK for the grieving person to cry in front of you, to get angry or to break down”

“If you genuinely do not know what to say, don’t hide how you feel.

“For example say, ‘I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care’.”

“One friend said he didn’t know what to say other than that he loved us.

“This may not sound like very much but to us, it meant a lot.”

“Offer any practical help.

“‘Tell me what I can do for you’ – perhaps offering to help with other children, shopping, chores – all of which can seem too much for a while.”

“I had some brilliant friends who contacted Mum and my sisters.

“Between them, they made sure I was never on my own. They all made themselves available for me anytime I needed.”



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