Telling People about the Death of Someone Dear

Since March, volunteers have been painting tens of thousands of red hearts on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, opposite the Houses of Parliament. Spanning more than a third of a mile, the mural is accompanied by a plaque bearing its name: the National Covid Memorial Wall.

This stunning ‘wall of love’ (in the Guardian newspaper’s words), which pays tribute to the individuals across the UK who’ve died as a result of the pandemic, is the brainchild of the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group. Anyone who’s lost a loved one can dedicate a unique painted heart to that person’s memory. Visiting the mural and writing inside a heart is, for many people who are grieving, a kind of healing memorial event.

You may wish to walk the length of the National Covid Memorial Wall, as politicians and religious leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury have done, and reflect on the challenges of 2020 and 2021. Alternatively, you could ‘walk the wall’ online while listening to some of the people who’ve created it, thanks to a digital version of the mural.

Everyone Is Affected by Grief at Some Stage

This emotive memorial artwork highlights the fact that bereavement has been at the forefront of the public’s consciousness for many months. But that doesn’t necessarily mean discussing grief or telling people about a loved one’s passing is any easier now than it was prior to 2020. Indeed, the GM Journal for healthcare professionals points out that around one in every 13 people thinks the pandemic ‘has made it harder to talk about death’. That may be because things feel more uncertain these days and funerals have been subject to government restrictions.

However, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that everyone will experience the death of someone dear at some stage and will therefore need to talk about loss and bereavement. What’s more, many people will, in the midst of their grief and while planning a funeral order of service, have to communicate the upsetting news that a loved one has died to family and friends.

If you’ve recently found yourself in this position, we hope that the following advice makes telling people about the loss of the deceased less challenging.

Try to Tell Them in Person

When you need to tell a relative or friend that an individual you both cared for has died, it’s best to talk face to face, if at all possible, rather than on the phone. Your presence will bring comfort and reassurance.

Meet in a Private Place

Arrange to meet your relative/friend in a quiet, private spot, where you can both sit comfortably and are unlikely to be overheard. Your living room or garden could be a good choice. Have tissues close by.

Speak Slowly and Carefully

Give yourself plenty of time with the person you’re talking to. Broach the subject by saying that sadly you have some bad news. Communicate this news in a gentle manner, speaking slowly, clearly and simply. This will help your relative/friend to take in what you’re saying and process their feelings about it.

Let Them Share Their Thoughts

Encourage the individual to share their thoughts by asking if there’s anything they’re unsure about and emphasising that you’re ready to offer emotional support. You could ask if they’d like you to hold their hand or give them a hug, or you may sense they’d prefer their own space for a while.

Make sure your relative/friend has your phone number handy in case they’d like to reach out to you later on.

Telling People about Funeral Arrangements

Giving people who knew the deceased all the details about the funeral arrangements can feel like another daunting task. But don’t worry – you can always rely on our UK funeral stationery, which is designed and printed to the highest standards.

Our fully customisable, postcard-sized funeral announcement cards make contacting everyone a simple and stress-free process. When you select your preferred option from our clear, elegant funeral announcement card templates, you’ll find there’s enough space for all the necessary information, as well as a personal photo. Plus, you can include additional details on the back of the card for no extra charge.

Another advantage is that all of our UK funeral announcement cards come with envelopes. PDF versions suitable for emailing are available too.

Place your announcement cards order by 10 am for free UK delivery on the next working day.

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