Chapter 3: How others respond to your friend’s death

Your family

My husband was understanding and helpful. He tried to keep the kids busy and arranged for my parents to take them for a couple days to give some space. He also worked from home for the first few days to be close, but not too “in my face.”

Your family – whether your partner or spouse, your parents, your siblings, or your children – may or may not be as supportive, patient, and understanding of your grief as you would like. 

Click on each of the items below to see how family members may impact your grief or be impacted themselves by your friend’s death.

If you have children who knew your friend or were close to them, or if this is their first experience with death, you may be wondering what to say or how to say it. Children generally take their cues about how to grieve from adults, so the way that you express or share your own grief, as well as how you talk about death, dying, and grief, can have a strong influence on how your children will deal with these experiences now and in the future. By talking openly and honestly with them, you can let them know that it’s okay to talk about the person who died and tell stories about them, whether happy, sad, or difficult. 


Members of your family may or may not be helpful to you in your grief. Let them know what is and is not helpful, and look to others outside your family if you need support beyond what your family members can provide.

If there are children in your family who knew the person who has died, keep in mind that each child will have their own way of experiencing and expressing grief. Their age, their personality, and their relationship with the person who died will all influence their experience.

Helpful resources
For more information about children’s grief, click on the link below