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Is it ok to talk about death?

Feedback from young people inspiring us to talk about death

Life’s Questions is the brain-child of our Hospice Educator, Lisa Patterson, who feels young people need the chance to talk about the life-challenging topics that adults tend to shy away from discussing with them, such as death, divorces, loss and grief.

Lisa, with the support of the Hospice’s Education, Chaplaincy, Orchard and Volunteer Teams, holds Life’s Questions sessions in schools, colleges and youth centres. The hope is that Life’s Questions will help build young people’s resilience now and in the future.

The only time we can talk about death is while we're alive, not afterwards.

José Saramago

Young people’s views on talking about death

“It helped me realise that I need to have these types of deep conversations with my family even if it’s embarrassing. Also to tell the people I look up to, that they inspire me!”

“It’s ok to be sad.”

“I feel weird talking about something that I haven’t talked about for ages.”

“Really helpful and it made me re-think ways to cope with sadness. Thank you.”

“This has helped me with my grief that I had when my Gran died, I found out it is good to speak to others and not to keep it inside of you.”

Talking can help form new happy memories

“Most young people said yes, it was nice to talk about those that we miss but a young boy said ’no’, he found it upsetting and sad to talk about his Grandad that had died.

“I asked the boy if he was able to tell me something happy about his Grandad and he replied ‘he gave me a Spiderman pencil case’. The boy started to smile and I asked him whether that nice memory of his Grandad made him smile. I then suggested every time he feels sad, remember the Spiderman pencil case and how it made him feel happy. This made the boy smile even more and a young girl opposite him said: “I’ve just seen you smile, I have never seen you smile.” This made the boy smile even more!

“I felt the conversation about his Grandad’s death had helped the boy to have happier thoughts and memories instead of being caught up in only sad feelings.”

Talking about death 

“A sixth form student who realised that no one wants to talk about ‘people taking their own life’ was inspired and felt the need to share with his peers in his school assembly and at his Cadets group what it is like, emotions and feelings when a member of the family takes their own life. He felt it was really important to be open and honest about feelings and not ‘shy away’ from discussing difficult topics.”

Find out more about Life’s Questions


Further support offered by St Nicholas Hospice Care

Gravetalk is a café space initiative to encourage people to think and talk about life, death, society, funerals and grief. Through conversation, people are encouraged to interact with others in the group.

Open House
Open House takes place in locations across West Suffolk and Thetford. Open House is aimed at people facing long-term and life-threatening illnesses, loved ones, carers, or those coping with bereavement.

Bereavement Café
The Bereavement Café, a drop-in group for anyone who has experienced bereavement. Losing a loved one can turn your world upside down and make you feel lost. Talking about how you feel can help.

Bereavement groups
Bereavement groups give people the opportunity to meet regularly with other people who have had similar experiences or concerns. All groups are facilitated by the Family Support team and what is shared remains in confidence within the group.