the biggest ever survey Co-op Funeralcare

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Members’ experiences of death, dying and bereavement have contributed to a major national survey about why so many of us find it difficult to talk freely and openly about these subjects.

The biggest ever survey into death, dying and bereavement

Over 17,000 members joined in #TheCoopWay to share how they feel about discussing these taboo subjects and how their experiences of death of a close friend or relative have shaped their views.

Almost half of those members said that they are uncomfortable talking about death. And it is hoped that our findings will be used to help them and others, as we now work with charities to find new words and ways to talk about death and dying and support people who have been bereaved.

I was struck by just how many members were willing to share incredibly touching and personal testimonies, in order to move this conversation on and ultimately help others. I think Margaret, a member from Bourne, sums up beautifully the kind of challenges society faces with coming to terms with bereavement:

“I have experienced people crossing the road to avoid me rather than stop and talk to me. Most people don’t know how to deal with a grieving friend or relative.
We are normal, maybe a little sad, possibly a little lost. It does help to talk about your loss, please try to find a way forward for people to be more comfortable with the subject.” Margaret Barnett, Co-op Member, Bourne

Tackling the taboo around death

We found that almost two thirds of members think about their own mortality at least once a month. Those who’ve thought about funeral choices are most likely to have considered the music, charity donations and it being a celebration over sadness. However at least a quarter of members are not at all comfortable about talking about their own mortality with loved ones.

Conducting the biggest ever survey into death, dying and bereavement, with the help of our members, has helped us identify ways to move things forward. Whether that be in our own business, looking at ways we can further help managers support colleagues with the return to work following a bereavement or in society more broadly. In addition to supporting colleagues within our communities, we’ll work on changing the language used to talk about death, having more direct conversations and campaigning for change.

I’m genuinely grateful to all members who got involved to help improve our understanding, and I hope that you will continue to work with us as we further explore how we can improve things for people as they deal with death, dying and bereavement.

To help shape our Co-op, log in to your online membership account and join in #TheCoopWay

Co-op Members shape our Co-op by joining in #TheCoopWay

Read more about the biggest ever survey into death and dying at

Robert Maclachlan
Managing Director of Co-op Funeralcare and Life Planning

Read more on how Co-op Members help shape our Co-op;


Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. My very best friend in the world phoned me and begged me to come down to see him one evening. I was busy with the kids and told him I couldn’t manage, and would be down over the weekend.
    The next evening I had a knock on my door, and there stood two policemen. He had been found dead on his kitchen floor…
    My heart is broken, I feel so much guilt. If only I had went down, made the effort…
    Guess what I’m trying to say is, be there for eachother. Find the time, because you never know when it’ll be too late. He was only 43, he had suffered a massive hemorrhage, he was gone within the blink of an eye….

  2. I lost my mum on February 19 this year, it has been a struggle at times, I have had the Support from my husband and family, I found it difficult to get things sorted out, in the end I contacted Co-op legal services, they’ve been fantastic, I highly recommend them.
    Mum had COPD, she struggled to breathe even when she was sat down doing nothing, I have never had to grieve before, it’s been hard, and at times one minute I am okay and then it hits me again, we were very close, I lived quite close to her, so we saw each other allot, she was not just my mum, but my best friend as well, I find it hard because at times I really need to talk to her, to ask her advice, and now I can’t.
    If your mum is still with you, cherish every single second you’re together.

  3. I have found out today that my brother was found dead. He chocked on his own sick. Through a pill overdose.
    People talk about how humans are always evolving..
    I struggle to see that.. God knows how long prisons, mental health hospitals etc etc..
    We as human beings need to stop being so ignorant and judgemental and more work needs to be done..
    People who normally go down a bad path.. There is always a cry for help.. And we as people do not act enough.. Talking about so and so isn’t helping.
    It’s us as people have to stand up to severe stigmas.. We can all play victim.. But who really is the victim..??
    We need to look at history and move forward.. Not just transport unwell people from building to building.. Ie
    From jail to jail or from this hospital to that hospital..
    Thanks for reading..

  4. Sorry to hear you are struggling. I have not been in your situation. I wish i had something useful to add. Anyway, i felt the need to reach out and send a virtual hug. Be kind to yourself. Take care x

  5. I lost my husband last year, his death was very traumatic and we didn’t have the time we were told we would. I kept myself too busy, including moving house, living on adrenaline, but then on the first anniversary of his death I fell apart. I have been unable to access any support when needed. GP recommended I contact Cruse Bereavement, when I did it was to be told there is an 18 to 20 week waiting list, I am struggling.

    • Sorry to hear you are struggling. I have not been in your situation. I wish i had something useful to add. Anyway, i felt the need to reach out and send a virtual hug. Take care x

    • Dear Jennifer so sorry to hear about your husband do you live in an area where there is a hospice? some hospices offer bereavement counselling free, some run bereavement groups too even if you haven’t used the Hospice. My Mum had a very painful death at home and we didn’t get any help and the memory of that has stayed with me, like you I kept busy and a year later broke down outside her old house feeling like an orphan, soon after I changed my job became a health care assistant now in palliative care helping patients through end of life, I have learnt so much, people grieve in their own way and time, some very soon after a death some take years, most feel they could have done more or didn’t do enough, death is final they say we have memories but for most that’s not enough, you have to make a new life without your loved one, join groups, find a new hobby, meet new people and share your experience as hard as it may be it helps to talk about it. I hope you find some help. Regards Wendy.

    • I’m so sorry to hear this. I lost my Mum very suddenly 5 years ago. We had a very special bond and not a day goes by where I don’t think of her in some way. We never had a chance to say goodbye. I know how hard it is for you but I promise that it does get better. Take each day as it comes. Remember him in every way you can. Cry for him, talk to him, look at old photos and remember him. Talk about things that you did together and share this with anyone who will listen. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to grieve. Our loved ones live on inside us. Time does heal I promise. Try and get yourself some counselling as it really helped me. I had to pay privately but was fortunately able to do so. Not everyone can I know. Stay strong for him. You can do this. I hope things work out for you.


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