Death - What will I do about ... ?

Question Should I visit the grave?

There are no hard and fast rules about how to grieve for your loved one. If it gives you some comfort to visit the grave, then do. If it comforts your remaining loved ones to have you there when they like to visit the grave, and if you are genuinely ok with that, then do.


pictureBut if it is not what you need to do for yourself at any particular time, then give yourself permission to say no. There are many methods that people use to feel closer to the person who has died. It's important that you do the things that feel right to you, and you are the only person who knows what those things might be. It may be to go to their favourite place, or somewhere where you used to visit together, or even somewhere they wanted to go but never got a chance. It's totally up to you.

Question Am I supposed to look after other people in my family?

You're a teenager, that's not your job. It’s good to show your love and concern for the others in your family who have suffered a loss too, but it does not mean that you now have to become an adult before your time, or a parent to your siblings. If you are worried that an adult is not handling the death very well then you can tell another adult, aunt, uncle or friend about it. There’s no need for you to try to take care of them yourself.


So no, while it can be good to show support to others if you want to, just don’t take it too far.


Question How do I ask for help? Don't my friends have their own problems? What if I upset them?

“We used to be a very close family and from the outside we probably still look close, but we’re not. We are all grieving alone and in private. We’ve lost each other.” Anne


quote One of the biggest problems that other people have in dealing with someone who has suffered a bereavement is, ”I just don't know what to say”. Friends, real friends, will want to help, will want you to talk and they will definitely want to listen. Maybe they feel awkward about bringing it up, and maybe you feel awkward too, but they are probably going to take their cue from you.

Try to think of it the other way around – if it was your best friend who was bereaved, would you want them to take support from you and to talk to you? Would you want to be there for them? Yes? Well then, let them do the same for you. Being close to people who love and care for you is the best way to get through this horrible time. If they look upset or sad while you are talking remember that you are not doing a bad thing and making them sad, they just care about you and are moved by what you're saying. 

If you have a friend who isn't as supportive as you had hoped they would be, it's important that you find someone else instead to talk to – it doesn't mean there's something wrong with you or how you are grieving.

quote Sometimes it may feel like the people around you are impatient or dismissive of how you feel. They might say things that are hurtful like “You still have your mother” or “You didn't know her as long as I did”. This does not mean that what you are feeling is wrong – you are entitled to your feelings, even if other people don't understand.

Barnardos National Office,
Christchurch Square, Dublin 8

Tel: +353 (0) 1 453 0355 / Callsave: 1850 222 300
Fax: +353 (0) 1 453 0300 / Email: