During these challenging and changing times due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are facing fear of the unknown and a tragic loss of life, under very difficult circumstances.

For most of us, bereavement will be the most distressing experience we will ever face. Grief is what we feel when somebody we are close to dies.

Everyone experiences grief differently and there is no ‘normal’ or ‘right’ way to grieve.

Kubler-Ross describes the five stages of grief which we experience as:

  1. Denial: “It isn’t happening” “Everything is OK” “I don’t need any help”
  2. Anger: “How can this happen to me?” “This is not fair” “Who did this, who is to blame?”
  3. Bargaining: “Take me instead” “I’d do anything for a few more days with them” “Just allow me to see my children grow up”
  4. Depression: “What is the point?” “Why even bother to hope now?” “I have nothing to live for now”
  5. Acceptance: “It all happens for a reason.” “I can’t change what happened” “It’s going to be okay.”

Our conversation around death, dying and bereavement has increased during these unprecedented times and with this comes many fears of `Doing the right thing’. What can I say or not? And Where can I go for help?

Our Empowered Conversation team member, Rachel, has put together some tips and guidance to help you understand your own grief and to support others through it.


  • Accept that everyone grieves in their own way, there is no ‘normal’ way.
  • Encourage the person to talk “Do you want to tell me about him/her?
  • Actively listen to the person, acknowledge and validate feelings (Nod head, respond with `I’m here, oh okay, I see/hear that must be strange/difficult/worrying for you’.
  • Create an environment in which the bereaved person can be themselves and show their feelings, rather than having to put on a front.
  • Be aware that grief can take a long time. There are sometimes no solutions to `making things right’ and patience and compassion is needed.
  • Mention useful support agencies such as Cruse Bereavement Care (Links below)
  • Use Language such as.
  • It’s OK to cry and it’s OK to hurt.
  • I don’t know what I should say.” (Honesty is always best).
  • I hope you find some peace today.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • I am so sorry that you are going through this.
  • Nothing I say can change what happened, but I am here for you.


  • Avoid someone who has been bereaved.
  • Use clichés such as ‘I understand how you feel’ ‘You’ll get over it’ ‘Time heals’.
  • Tell them it’s time to move on, they should be over it – how long a person needs to grieve is entirely individual.
  • Be alarmed if the bereaved person doesn’t want to talk or demonstrates anger. This is normal.
  • Never attempt to correct someone’s thoughts or feelings, especially when they are upset even if you know you are factually right.
  • Refine from using language such as:
    • You have an angel in heaven.
    • They are no longer suffering.
    • They are in a better place.
    • You can find a new love, have another baby, etc.
    • You don’t have to be sad; they are with God now.
    • I know exactly how you feel, we all experience grief differently.
    • Everyone goes through this.
    • Time heals all wounds.
    • You’ll get over it.
    • It’s time to move on.


If you are feeling overwhelmed with what is happening around us due to coronavirus or have experienced bereavement due to this or other circumstances – please get in touch at emma@empowered-conversations.co.uk