Some parents may live for years with the knowledge that one day their child will die. Some of you may have already lived through that. This page looks at the practicalities of bereavement and where you can go for advice and support if your child dies.

When a child dies or is terminally ill, it is a desperately sad and sensitive time for parents, siblings, other family members and close friends. Other people don’t know what to say and, being afraid of saying the wrong thing, they often say nothing at all. Those of us who have lost a child, however, often want to talk about him or her – we long for people to mention their name and share memories and stories. Frequently our lives have been very closely involved with our child’s physical and medical care and suddenly this has all stopped. There’s a huge gap. Some of us found it invaluable to talk with other parents who had had the same experience, or just someone who could understand our feelings.

Professional support for bereavement
For parents in this situation, there are a number of sources of support that may prove useful. Child Bereavement UK runs a confidential support and information line (see below) that gives help and guidance to bereaved families. Their website also offers lots of literature and resources and an online forum that enables parents to share their experiences. The Child Death Helpline (0800 282 986) and Rosie Crane Trust (01460 55120)  provide helpline support via trained volunteers who are themselves bereaved parents.

CRUSE support bereaved parents and other family members and they have local services in Brighton and Eastbourne. The Compassionate Friends have local support contacts in Brighton and Seaford (covering Peacehaven, Lewes, Seaford and Eastborne) and they also offer specialist national supporters for bereaved parents and carers.

The East Sussex Community Information Service (ESCIS) directory has information on other groups and organisations that support bereaved people in East Sussex

Brighton & Hove City Council’s website also lists more organisations that can help you cope with bereavement in Brighton & Hove.

Practicalities of bereavement
As if coping with grief itself wasn’t enough, there are funeral arrangements to sort out as well. Funeral directors don’t charge for their services for babies’ and children’s funerals, and a number of them provide extra support for families who have lost a child.

Your local council publishes practical information about what to do when someone dies.

Brighton & Hove information about deaths, funerals and cemeteries

East Sussex information about what to do when a death occurs

There’s a lot of sensitive and practical advice about funerals on the website of the Child Bereavement Charity or you can call their helpline on 0800 02 888 40 for specific information. The Bereavement Advice Centre can also give advice and support about all the practical issues to manage when someone dies. Visit their website at or call 0800 634 9494.

If you have questions about any of the things we mention here, just call our helpline.

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