Let’s Talk About Death

A booklet about death and funerals for adults who have a learning disability

This book has been written to support an adult with a learning disability after someone close to them has died.

Let’s Talk About Death – PDF Download

Why do People Die?

Nobody lives forever.

There is always a reason why someone dies.

People die in different ways.

Sometimes people who die are young, and sometimes they are old.

Some people die quickly, maybe after an accident.

Other people die after an illness.

Some people die of old age.

Nothing you said or did makes anyone die.

WHAT HAPPENS when a person dies?

When a person has died they cannot hear or see anything.

They cannot speak to you.

Their body does not move anymore.

If you want to you may be able to go and see them after they have died, before the funeral.

They will look a bit different.

Their skin will feel cold.

A friend, family member or support worker should go with you.

You can talk to them but they cannot answer you or see you.

They will be lying in a box called a coffin with the lid open.

They are quite safe.

What is a FUNERAL?

A funeral might be in a church or other place of worship or a crematorium.

A funeral is a way of bringing together friends and family to say goodbye to the person that died.

If you want to you can go to the funeral.

If you have never been to a Church, Crematorium or graveyard before you may like to go and visit with a friend before the funeral.

If you do go to Church you can talk to your Minister or Priest about the person that died and about the funeral.

THE DAY of the funeral

The coffin may go into a special car called a hearse.

A lot of people wear black or dark clothes to go to funerals.

People may appear quieter than at other times. They will feel sad.

Some people will cry. This is OK.

Sometimes the coffin is buried in the ground at a cemetery. There will be many gravestones.

Each gravestone tells you who is buried under it.

Some people use the word graveyard instead of cemetery.

You can visit the cemetery after the funeral. Sometimes people take flowers.

Some people prefer to be cremated. This happens at the crematorium where the coffin is turned into ashes.

After the funeral people may meet together to talk and have something to eat and drink.

How do YOU feel?

It is important to talk about the person that died when you want to.

Talking about the person that died helps you remember them and the time you spent with them.

You may feel sad and shocked.

You may feel like crying. This is OK.

It may take a while to remember that the person that died is not coming back.

What will HAPPEN?

You may behave differently.

You might not sleep as well at night.

You might feel angry with the doctors and nurses for letting it happen.

You might feel angry with for the person that died for leaving you.

It is normal to feel all of these things.

Try and talk about how you feel.

It is not anybody’s fault that the person has died.

You will not always feel this sad.

A time will come when you think of the person that died and remember the good times that you had with them.

What about the FUTURE?

You can keep photographs of the person that died.

Maybe you can keep something that belonged to them.

You may feel like spending more time with family and friends than usual.

Doing some things for the first time without the person that died will feel sad.

Birthdays and Christmas without the person that died will feel different.

It is important to talk to a friend, family member or support worker about how you feel.

You might have to talk about things that will change for you because the person has died.

You may want to keep something to remember the person by:

  • photograph/photo frame
  • watching family videos
  • keepsakes like jewellery
  • a favourite book of
  • a shirt
  • a hat
  • a favourite CD