Talking about dying


The way we talk about dying matters

Opening up honest conversations about death and dying is important, but we know it’s not easy. Taking our lead from Hospice UK, we’ve created a hub of resources from our teams to help you reflect and get started.

With Just ‘B’ part of a family of services with Herriot Hospice Homecare and Saint Michael’s Hospice, we’re uniquely placed to support with talking about end of life as well as grief surrounding a bereavement.

Listen to John and Alex from our team share their reflections on how you can help a friend or family member by opening up conversations.


“I think it’s surrounded by a lot of fear and a lot of anxiety which is normal. I can understand why people feel that way, but by not talking about it, all we’re doing is bottling up our emotions linked to death and bottling up our coping. That’s why it’s so important to have those open and honest conversations. Recognising it is a part of life.

“I think sometimes it is helpful as a friend or family member to invite them to talk about it when they’re ready. You can perhaps say something along the lines of ‘when you’re ready to talk about your significant person, I’m more than happy to sit with you. You can cry, you can be angry- whatever you want to feel, you can feel. I’ll just sit with you and we can sit together.’

“I think the biggest thing is don’t be fearful of saying the wrong thing. It’s just about opening up that conversation and offering them a safe space to talk. And reassurance that’s it’s ok to feel sad, cross, relieved. Whatever you need to feel, that’s ok and listening without judgement is so important.

“I think that’s where Just ‘B’ and professional bereavement support workers can come in. Let that person talk about the significant person who’s died. That can be so therapeutic in itself, talking about that person.

“I think for both young people and adults, a big part of it is normalising emotions you may or may not experience throughout your journey of grief. People come in with an expectation- I’m gonna to feel angry then I’m gonna feel sad. Not the case: you’ll feel lots of different emotions ranging from happiness, sadness, relief, anger, anxiety. It’s about helping them recognise that however they’re feeling, that’s ok.”


How we talking about dying with children matters

Join Alex from our Children and Young People’s bereavement support team to hear her top tips on being open and clear when discussing death with children.

View a transcript for this video