Attitudes to Bereavement survey

scan053Dying Matters has published findings of a survey about attitudes to bereavement. It’ll come as no surprise to find we’re not great at dealing with death… but it looks like we’re trying.


Even though 8 out of 10 of us think we need to talk more about grief and bereavement, the same number of people acknowledge that Brits aren’t great at it.  Almost half of those who took part accepted that they would personally find it hard to talk to someone who’d recently experienced a bereavement.

What are we afraid of? Awkward silences? Tears? Emotion generally.

As I go about my business, talking to people about life and death, I hear folks saying that death is a taboo. We don’t like to talk about death. The fact is, we’re crap at talking about real life.

How many people walking among us are dealing with stress, depression, have financial worries, relationship issues, children going through difficult times? When do we have these conversations? In the team meeting? At the photocopier? In the canteen? Of course not. In the workplace, we’re expected to be doing, not being.

The good news

Still, it’s not all bad. We were heartened to see that almost 7 out of 10 of people who’d had a loss in the last 5 years did NOT experience people avoiding them. This is great news. From my experience, it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong, feel a bit clumsy, maybe use the wrong words. The important thing is to connect, to communicate. “I’m sorry for your loss” will do. “How are you feeling?” is maybe better. But good for us. Let’s keep trying.

Resources to help with bereavement

We have produced films to help, offering tips on how to talk about death and dying and death and grief.

We have Life Planning Tools to encourage you think about what you want and share your wishes – a great way to begin having unusual conversations about life and death. If we’re having conversations now, death and loss will be easier later.

Final Fling’s regular blog is designed to flap some air into the subject of life, death, bereavement.

Organisations like the Dying Matters, Scottish cousins Good Life Good Death Good Grief, the Natural Death Centre and the Death Cafe network all do great work to help us get better at dealing with death and bereavement. Let’s hope next time this survey’s done, we come up with more positive results.

Manage your wishes on Final Fling with a free account. It’s a start.

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