This year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week (2-6th of May) is dedicated to encouraging people to start conversations about death and dying. Here our counsellor Vida offers advice on how to take the first steps. We hope that you find it useful.

Vida says:

"Talking about death and dying can be very hard - it is also one of the most important things to talk about. 

Most of the time we do what we can to protect our loved ones from pain, so starting up a conversation about something that is likely to be painful might feel counter intuitive. Although it feels like we might be inflicting pain, what we are actually doing by talking about death (imminent or not) with our loved ones is providing an opportunity for as good a death as is possible, not only for the dying but also for those who are grieving.

Children, especially, are often shielded from these difficult conversations around death and dying, however, research shows that children’s future well-being is likely to benefit from being included in such conversations.

Although important, talking about death and dying can be heart-breaking and may stretch us to our limits. Sitting down with a health professional putting together an end of life care plan for your child, parent, friend or other special person or explaining to a frightened family member that their brother, sister, father, mother, or other special person has died or will not be alive for much longer will be the most difficult and unwanted conversation you may ever have.

Be kind to yourself in these difficult conversations and seek support whenever possible.  You do not have to face these conversations alone (see below links). We will all manage difficult conversations and our grief differently, so try not to place expectations on yourself of how to be, or not to be.”

Dying Matters Awareness Week | Hospice UK

Should I tell my children that their loved one is dying? | Winston's Wish (winstonswish.org)

Please also remember that we are here to help too. Hope House Children’s Hospices offer a free and confidential counselling service to mums, dads, and family members, who have been affected by the death of a baby, child or young person. This support is available to anyone living in Shropshire, Cheshire, Mid and North Wales.

Our counselling service is British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Accredited and all our counsellors are registered or accredited members of the BACP.

Please call Hope House on 01691 672618 or Tŷ Gobaith on 01492 554443 for more information about how we can help.