Chapter 3: How to talk about death

The first conversation

The grief expert says
Cara Grosset, social worker, speaks about finding the right time for a conversation about dying and death.(3:22)Video transcript

I share plain language or picture resources. Many people like having something concrete that they can go through and hang onto. –Support worker

You might begin by simply asking how the person is doing and by expressing your condolences. If you are also grieving the death, you can normalize that it is okay to cry, to miss the person, and to talk about them. It’s okay to express some of your own feelings since this can be good modelling, but if you’re feeling very upset about the death yourself, you should find someone else to have (or finish) this conversation with the grieving person.

When having conversations about death and dying:


Treat people with respect for their individual abilities and their right to participate in their lives. Provide accurate and honest information, along with support, remembering that you may need to repeat information over time as they process it.