If you are visiting this page the chances are you have recently lost someone close to you. Please accept our deepest sympathies and we hope you will find this page helpful in some small way. Below you will find some general information on how to cope with bereavement as well as lots of practical information, links to government sites and bereavement support websites. (Last updated January 2018)
Grieving for a Loved One
Bereavement affects different people in many different ways; nonetheless the passing of a loved-one can be devastating to those left behind. It is generally agreed that there are 5 stages to the grieving progress, although the order in which they are experienced can vary from person to person.
1) Denial: Feelings of shock and disbelief dominate often associated with a feeling of numbness. It is believed that this may be a defence mechanism for dissociating our brains from the reality of the situation to allow time to process the information.
2) Anger: This may be directed toward yourself, doctors or even the person who has departed. These feelings are neither right nor wrong; they are just feelings many people experience.
3) Bargaining: Guilt often prevails here with thoughts of what could have been done differently, if only you could turn back the clocks...
4) Depression/Sadness: This is different from clinical depression but still involves overwhelming feelings of sadness, despair and emptiness. It is common for people to withdraw from social situations during this phase.
5) Acceptance/Moving-on: You learn to live with the permanence of your loss and begin directing energy away from grief onto something newThe transition between these stages will not necessarily be smooth and individual experiences will vary considerably. Importantly there is no right or wrong way to grieve as it is an intensely personal experience. As well as the overwhelming sadness (which can often lead to tiredness and exhaustion), other common emotions include numbness, fear, anger, relief and guilt. These feelings are all completely normal and some days you will feel almost fine whilst on other days things may seem hopeless. It can really help to talk to somebody about how you feel, whether it’s family or friends, or if you prefer, your GP or a support group (the national Cruse helpline is 0808 808 1677). In some cases, especially with prolonged grief (over 18 months) counselling can be helpful. You can find a list of local bereavement counsellors here
Making Arrangements When Someone Passes Away
The following steps are a good general guide of practical considerations you need to think about when someone passes away:
1) Inform people – initially family, friends and employer.
2) Get a medical certificate from the hospital or GP (you will need this to register the death)
3) Gather any important paperwork relating to the deceased wishes including funeral arrangements and organ donations (NHS Organ Donor Register: 0845 6060400).
4) Register the death - when someone dies their death needs to be officially registered within five days at a local register office, this can take about an hour and you will need the medical certificate confirming the cause of death. See How to register a death for more information.
5) Locate important documents such as The Will; birth or marriage certificates; state pension documents; private pension and insurance documents; NHS medical card; and bank accounts.
7) Find out who the executor/s of the will are and inform them. Then, any of the following organisations may need to be informed: Health professionals/carers; banks and building societies; credit card companies; insurance providers; pension providers; credit/store cards; mortgage provider/s; landlord or housing association; utilities and media/internet suppliers; HMRC, DVLA, Passport Agency; Recreational/Social Clubs or gym memberships.
8) If possible obtain the following information about the deceased as it can be very useful when completing forms:
- National Insurance Number - NHS number - Date and place of birth (or birth certificate) - Date of marriage or civil partnership or divorce if appropriate - Tax reference number - Organ donor card if applicable - Driving License - Proof of addressYou can find lots more useful practical information on the Gov.uk website about what to do after someone dies
Bereavement Support Payment
You may be eligible for Bereavement Support Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner died after 6th April 2017. You need to be under the state pension age to claim. Visit https://www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment for more information. If your husband, wife or partner died before 6th April 2017 you may still be eligible for payments of Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance or Widowed Parent’s Allowance
Bereavement Support Charities
Visit www.cruse.org.uk/ - a leading national charity providing bereavement support and advice for people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Miscarriage Support & Advice
Miscarriage is the loss of a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy. Early miscarriages (first 12 weeks) are unfortunately quite common whereas late miscarriages (12-24 weeks) are more unusual. A miscarriage can be heartbreaking even at the very early stages of pregnancy and therefore you should allow some time for you and your partner to grieve. There is lots of useful information available on the Miscarriage Association website. You can also visit Tommy's midwives for additional information and support including a bereavement support phoneline where you can talk to specially trained midwives.
Stillbirth Support & Advice
A stillbirth is where the baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy. The birth will still need to be registered within 42 days. The parents can choose whether to name their baby and spend time with them and take photographs, again this is completely the parents’ decision.
There is a wealth of information and support available for parents following the loss of a baby. One of the best organisations is Sands.org.uk who are a UK stillbirth and neonatal death charity. They provide a lots of information in this extremely informative leaflet: Deciding about a funeral for your baby
Some parents find it helpful to hear others share their own experiences. Stillbirth Stories is a collection of honest interviews from parents and those who have worked with them.
You can find an incredibly useful directory of website dedicated to bereavement support; support for children; Funeral planning, Practical information on this Marie Curie support page
Memorial & Bereavement Gifts & Keepsakes
Some people find it comforting to remember a lost loved one by way of a keepsake, ornament or special piece of personalised jewellery. It is quite common for a candle to be placed either at the graveside or in the church next to the book of condolences. This candle is often personalised with a name a special message making it more meaningful. You can also present someone with a sympathy gift such as a token, photo frame or other memento to show how much you care and share in their loss.
If you have been touched by the devastating loss of a baby hopefully you may find something suitable to cherish and remember your little angel by and provide some small comfort in the future. We have tried to offer a wide range of suitable bereavement gifts and memorial keepsakes for parents, grandparents, friends and family to give and receive at this difficult time.
Personalised jewellery is a popular choice when considering baby memorial gifts as well as personalised tokens, angels, ornaments and photo frames.
Christmas can often be a difficult time following the loss of a loved one but we have found that many customers find comfort in hanging a special ornament or personalised decoration on the Christmas tree in memory of those you have lost.
If you are looking for an appropriate bereavement or memorial gift for a graveside, funeral or simply as a lasting reminder of someone special, please visit our website for a range of suitable ideas. Please contact us if you need help or advice on purchasing a memorial gift. Our thoughts go out to anyone who has experienced the sad loss of someone special.
Ideas for Memorial Poems and Verses for Funerals
The following links have lots of memorial poems and verse which you may find useful for funerals, readings or memorial keepsakes:
Updated Sept 2018