Bereavement is an experience that can happen to any of us and if you are visiting this section of the website because someone close to you has died recently, we would like to offer you our sincere sympathy.
Grief and Bereavement During Exceptional Times
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic
Any death can be very difficult and the range of emotions people feel can be very different. Many of the things that we would normally do following a death may not currently be possible due to the restrictions surrounding COVID-19.
The Public Health Agency has produced Grief and Bereavement resources to help you deal with those aspects of a death that may be different during the pandemic period including advice on how to help children to cope.
Things you can do which may help
Many of the supports that we would normally draw upon when we experience grief may not be possible due to social distancing. Despite this, there are other things that you can do which may be of help.
- Allow yourself to feel and react in a way that is natural to you. Grief is an individual experience and each of us will respond to it in our own particular way.
- Try not to become emotionally isolated. Even if people cannot visit you in person they will be able to offer their condolences and support in different ways. You may receive condolence cards, phone-calls, text messages, emails and messages through social media.
- Keep conversations going with people who are closest to you. While you may not be able to have these conversations in person, you will be able to keep in contact in other ways. It may be helpful to talk to someone by telephone each day.
- Having’ conversations’ through WhatsApp or through Facebook can mean there is a regular flow of communication throughout the day. These interactions can remind you that people are thinking about you.
- Try to limit how much news and social media you consume. When you are feeling very sad, regular news can be distressing.
- Try to stick to your normal routine as much as is currently possible. As well as bedtime and getting up time, mealtimes play an important part in this.
- It is important to remember to eat and to keep hydrated. Your body has needs and grief can be hard work.
- If you can, try to get out into the garden or open the windows to let in some fresh air.
- If there are children in your household, check-in with them often. Answer their questions honestly. Section 5 of our bereavement booklet provides useful information regarding supporting children.
Make use of reputable sources of online bereavement support such as:
Cruse Bereavement Care National Free Phone Helpline 0808 808 1677
Monday – Friday 9:30pm – 5:00pm (excluding bank holidays)
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday extended hours on evenings, until 8:00pm
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 9:00pm (UK time)
A safe online space for grieving or bereaved people to be able to share their story, explore their feelings or be supported by a qualified bereavement counsellor. It’s free of charge.
Cruse Northern (on Facebook)
Supporting bereaved people across Antrim, Carrickfergus, Larne, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine and surrounding areas.
Call 0748 340 5304
Resources you may find useful during this difficult time
- Regional When Someone Dies Booklet
- Supporting you and your family when your child has died (Grief and Bereavement)
- Supporting you and your family when your child has died (Practical Information)
- Grieving in exceptional times
- Planning a funeral in exceptional times
- Public Health Agency resources
- Cruse Bereavement Care
- Cruse Bereavement leaflets
- Helping you respond to living and dying issues during COVID-19 (NISCC Publication)
- Bereavement Comfort Call Volunteer Service
- Support Following Meningitis
- WAY (Widowed and Young)
- Child Bereavement UK
- Irish Childhood Bereavement Network
- Saying Goodbye video
- Saying Goodbye booklet
- Barnardo’s NI leaflet
‘When Someone Dies’ is a booklet produced by the HSC Bereavement Network to provide information to you about grief and bereavement and practical support. The practice advice in our booklet may not always apply at this time. Changes may include how funerals and burials/cremations are conducted and/or the process to register a death. Your funeral director will be able to advise you on the most current guidance. Also included are some links to various organisations which provide support or information relating to different circumstances of bereavement.
There is an annual ‘Snowdrop walk’ on the third Sunday in February each year, which gives families the opportunity to plant snowdrop bulbs in memory of their baby or child. The Trust also holds remembrance services annually for the parents and families of children and babies who have died in the Trust. The service in the Antrim locality is held on the third Sunday in May, the service in the Causeway locality is held in November. The books of remembrance are re-dedicated at this service each year. The dates for this service will be posted on this website and in the local press. Many parents and family members choose to write some words in memory of their child which is then included in the book and there is no time limit for the inclusion of information.
The Trust’s Bereavement Coordinator works with staff throughout the Trust to promote quality end of life and bereavement care. If you would like to share information that would help with this please contact: Leona Laverty 028 9442 4992