Ask about bereavement support

Ask Wendy, a Bereavement Support Practitioner and has volunteered to be here to answer your questions after you have been bereaved by cancer. She'll aim to respond within 2 working days.

preparing my young son for my/our death

Posted by


i have a young child  (1 year old) and was looking for some advice on how to preparing him for my death. i am in good health  age 68) but like to plan things as much as possible.  i dont mean now necessarily , but when he is will be able to understand say  9 or 10. of course  earlier depending on the advice.  i would be grateful for any thoughts you have or where to find more advice on this. His financial needs will be met and i have appointed a young lady relative as his guardian ( 32) its his emotional needs i am seeking to prepare him for. Many thanks in advance

best  regards


Wendy- Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Tony (Spaceman1950)

Thank you for your question, I agree it is good to prepare and talk about death, though we know it's an inevitable part of life, talking about death is something most of us aren't really good at because the subject is so painful.

As many of us know, death occurs in many ways. It may be sudden, expected, prolonged or accidental. Part of the experience is finding ways to express what has happened to a child, helping them to make sense of what's happened, and finally, to accept what's happened. Also, honesty and being truthful gives an explanation for adult’s tears and pain. Being open and emotional can help a child learn how to mourn.

There can be nothing more painful for a child than the death of a parent.  It is natural to want to protect them in these situations, possibly keeping from them what has happened and trying to hide our own feelings.  Children tell us that sometimes this protection is not what they want as it can leave them feeling left out and confused. They need information and explanations that are honest, simple and in a language, they understand. What they don’t know they will tend to make up. They need to be included and to be able to trust the adults around them.  Keeping as far as possible to familiar routines, which increases a child’s feelings of security and maintains a sense of continuity. Children make more sense of what has happened than we tend to realise.

Professionals in schools are normally supportive and have a unique role in helping grieving children and young people, as children spend a significant amount of time in school.  With the right help and support, most bereaved pupils will not need professional help; what they need is understanding of familiar and trusted adults schools are therefore well placed to support a bereaved pupil

Child Bereavement UK have an excellent website, with lots of resources including information sheets, downloadable foc, for example Building resilience in bereaved children, and When-Someone-Special-Dies For-Young-People, and the CBUK - APP developed for 11 – 25 year olds who have been bereaved of someone special to them.

The Child Bereavement Support team will be able to discuss in more detail one to one support, children and young people’s group support available in your area, contact is via the helpline  0800 02 888 40 between 09:00 to 17:00 - Monday to Friday, or if you prefer you can email:

I hope you find my suggestions and resources helpful, please get back in touch if you require any further information

Kind regards


Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.  

Posted by

Many thanks . I will follow  up your suggestions.

best regards