Death is a subject rarely spoken about, but through open discussion, we are better prepared to deal with the reality of it. William Barrett and Sons offer professional presentations to groups or individuals on the topics surrounding death, dying and bereavement. We also offer free grief support sessions periodically with experienced and qualified counsellors. These sessions are listed on our website under News and Events or on our facebook page.  Please know, we also have free activity books for children which were designed to inform children about death and offer ideas and a place to record their special memories. These can be collected from our offices or posted to you.
If you would like to discuss this phone 08 9722 5311 or email


It is important to know that grief is the complex emotional response to loss. Feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, guilt and even relief are common.
People are often unsure how to act around someone who is grieving. Here are some points that may assist in helping someone through the loss of a loved one:
  • Call them instead of saying “call me”.
  • Be there for them if they do call you.  Listen. The best therapy can be talking, however, they have to be ready to talk.  Don’t assume they want to hear about how you were able to move on from your losses.
  • Avoid cliches like “they’ve gone to a better place” or “they had a good innings”. It is better just to let them know you are sorry for their loss.
  • Reminisce with them if they are ready to talk. It can help to remember good times, times past and share stories. Even talking about bad times can be a form of reconciliation.
  • Offer humour. It can help to laugh over the little jokes that were shared, funny anecdotes and sayings of the person.
  • Be patient. You may think they have grieved a long time but there are no time limits or rules on how long is too long.

If you feel you or someone you love may benefit from professional assistance or group discussion please phone 08 9722 5311 or visit for a list of organisations that may be able to assist.


Speaking to children about death and grief is hard but we have a free resource to assist you titled ‘Treasuring Your Precious Memories’. Please ask for a copy from our offices.
Some tips include:
  • Someone emotionally close to the child should be the one to “break the news.”
  • Choose a location where you will not be disturbed.
  • Stay with the known facts. If you don’t know the facts, find out before telling the child about the death.
  • Speak plainly – use words like died or death and avoid misleading terms like “he’s asleep”.
  • Simply be with the child. Allow the child to ask questions and answer as clearly and factually as possible. If you don’t know, say so.
  • Be quiet and wait. It takes time for children to understand what has happened. The child also may need time to react to the news.
  • Assisting with the funeral arrangements can help empower children especially as they become older. It makes them feel seen and that their grief matters. For example, they may like to pick a special song for inclusion or a poem to be read out.
  • It is ok to cry in front of the child as it role models a healthy expression of grief.
 Because of young children’s misconceptions of death, you may need to stress that:
  • The person or the doctors could not prevent the death.
  • The person loved the child.
  • The person was not angry with the child.
  • The person will never come back.
  • The child is safe, will continue to be loved and cared for.
  • They can still talk, record and share memories about their person.
  • There’s nothing wrong with playing and having fun.


  • If there is a viewing and the child wants to view their person, prepare the child for the experience: what the room looks like, where the  body will be viewed, what the casket looks like, how the deceased is lying, and that the skin looks different than usual and is cold because the body isn’t working anymore. Explain how adults at the funeral may behave – crying or even laughing while reminiscing.
  • If the child wishes, help them approach the casket. Viewing the body helps the child understand what death is and that their loved one is, in fact, dead. Most focus on the familiar features of their loved one. Plan the child’s first viewing to be in private with a supportive adult. The child’s age and maturity are critical factors to consider.
  • Suggest specific ways for children to express their feelings. They might place something in the coffin, write a letter or draw a picture. Young children may want to touch the deceased or look under the closed part of the casket to know that the legs are actually there. Older children may value time alone to talk to the deceased. Be responsive and supportive of what the child wants to do. Do not force them to engage in any uncomfortable activity.
  • The support of a trusted adult is important. A parent grieving a spouse, child or parent may not be able to provide this support at all times. The parent will need to participate in the rituals and mourn. The child may need another caring adult who can comfort, answer questions and leave the room with the child if necessary.
  • Patiently correct any misunderstandings about death or the service.