If you’ve experienced a major bereavement, then I’m sure you’ll have discovered that your feelings are unlike  
anything else you have experienced. You may also have discovered that it feels unlike any other loss you may have experienced before because all relationships are unique and therefore your grief is just as unique as you & your relationship are. 
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people being told that they are 
Young Widow Quote "things are hard enough without others making you feel it's wrong to want to be alone and want you to make more effort"
When I was widowed at the age of 40 I found out just how unprepared most people are when it comes to loss. Why is it so difficult? It’s not as if it’s unexpected, after all illness, pain, death are part of the human condition so surely with all that experience around we should learn the right thing to say? Well no, clearly not and because we’re not taught what to say we don’t teach our children what to say and the cycle of complete inadequacy continues. 
When I posted on this topic on an internet forum for widows the thread was inundated with examples of crassness and I vowed to write a book on the topic – there clearly is a need for education out there! Well that’s still a work in progress but in the meantime here’s my top five what not to say and if it stops a few people inserting their feet in to their mouths then great. 
By the way this list is on no particular order – what’s most offensive to me may seem mild to someone else – just play safe and avoid all of them! 
Age is not a factor here. 
If your Mum has died Mother’s Day sucks. Yes I know that is an American phrase but it’s one that I think says it all really succinctly without swearing. 
If you are a Mum whose child has died Mother’s Day sucks. 
heart on mothers day when you are bereft
All relationships are unique – so an article like this can only serve as a starting point for you and your unique situation. If you have more than one child, then each of them will have had their own unique relationship with their Mum, reflecting their own unique lives and experiences so it won’t be surprising to find that feelings around this annual event will be different for each of you. 
Therefore, our first suggestion is to talk about Mother’s Day before it happens; have some suggestions on what to do on the day and ask them what they want to do, either by talking about your idea and asking for reactions or letting them go first. Even the very youngest may have strong feelings, be prepared for this. 
In the wake of the terror attack in Manchester which was even more horrifying as it seemed to target children, many parents are left lost as to what to say to their kids and how to say it. Parents left with a strong emotional reaction themselves, are having to do an emotional juggling act between the strong natural urge to protect their children and the need to not let the terrorists win. At Grief Recovery we know that the definition of grief sums this up: "Grief is the conflicting feelings following a change or end in a familiar pattern of behaviour." So having acknoweldged that what you and your kids is experiencing is grief here are some practical tips to help you address this. 
1) Remember everyone and every experience is unique so there is no magic set of words that are appropriate for everybody. 
2) Kids are people too. The guidelines are the same no matter what age of person you are talking to. The only thing that changes is age appropriate language. 
3) It is important to acknowledge that sad, anxious, painful feelings are real and are the completely normal and natural response to loss of any kind. In these circumstances, there may be a range of losses including loss of sense of safety. This means that when your child expresses their fears or anxieties it is important allow them to fully express those fears uninterrupted rather than cutting them off in your rush to help them feel better. When they  
This week Grief Recovery Specialist and Trainer Phyl Edmonds is speaking at the Mental Health Forward Thinking Implementation Plan Conference in Manchester. This five-year major transformation programme for mental health sets out how services will help reach a million more people a year by 2022. 
The plan commits to improving access to high-quality care, 
This week I’m exhibiting at the National Conference in Pregnancy and Infant Loss, designed for professional services to collaborate, to ensure high levels of bereavement care. From working with experienced professionals, as well as bereaved parents, it’s clear that pregnancy and infant loss is still very much a taboo subject. 
At the frontline of parental grief, how can professional services be best equipped to support parents who have lost an infant? Currently mothers get very little support, and fathers are more often than not completely forgotten. 
In my experience many parents who have suffered the loss of a child don’t feel able to move beyond initial grief. The idea that you’ll “never get over” the death of a child is a common piece of misinformation, potentially leading to parents seeking out information and emotions to match. In addition, couples can become angry with each other, as inevitably we all grieve in our individual ways, and one might “be strong” to support the other but then be perceived to “not loved our baby like I did”. By providing initial support to parents and equipping them in early in their grief, professional services could have a positive effect on the long-term recovery from grief. 
The Grief Recovery Method was created when John James lost his three-day-old baby. While a lot has improved since then, there is still a long way to go to get the recognition for the emotional pain of any infant loss, no matter the age or gestation. 
The reason we will be exhibiting at the conference is to introduce professional services - midwives, ambulance services, funeral directors, police officers, and anyone else who comes into contact with these parents in the short- and long term - to the Grief Recovery Method Certification Training that we provide. We give staff and volunteers the tools to help clients appropriately, and already work with a number of organisations. The training covers a mix of classroom training, practical experience, learning materials and ongoing individual support. 
A question we often get asked is “should I take my young child to a funeral?” At Grief Recovery, we believe that all feelings are normal and natural including sad or painful ones so it would be easy to say “yes of course”. The real question is whether your child is old enough to hang around relatively quietly while the adults do what they must do. If they can do that then yes, they should go. 
Crucially before that happens the child needs to know what to expect and what your expectations are of them so you’ll need to do some explaining before the event: 
It doesn’t matter what angle you come at this topic – the question “why?” is there. To those left behind when someone has completed suicide “why?” is the burning, spear of agony that destroys sleep, destroys relationships and often destroys lives. 
More than 6000 people a year end their own lives in the UK and that figure is growing. Why? 
Every 4 minutes in the UK someone attempts suicide – once every 90 minutes someone succeeds. 
These figures are shocking and bewildering to most who read about them, and a nightmare for those directly affected so who or what is responsible? 
The answers inevitably are complex and varied and it is too easy for those of us not on the frontline to think it’s tragic but there’s nothing I can do. Wrong. There are things we can all do: 
There aren't very many days when a thought about Kevin doesn't cross my mind. It’s not really surprising that there are still so many associations that trigger these, after all, we were together for most of my adult life. Familiar objects, tunes, posts from his family on Facebook, even certain foods will trigger fond memories or more rarely a remembered aggravation. The thoughts are not painful they are merely there. A fact of life after a death.Each year it is different, because each year I am different but I still notice the anniversaries – of the day we got married, of his birthday and of his death.