For many, many families the Coronavirus pandemic is going to mean they will lose a loved one before their time.

For lots of families and friends this is already the reality.

On top of the loss of a loved one, a lot of people have not been able to visit someone for the last time, attend a funeral or memorial service, comfort family or friends or receive comfort themselves.

This is the harsh reality of coronavirus.

To acknowledge this Dying Matters has launched the #BeforeTheirTime campaign.

People can use the hashtag to share their experiences and talk through their fears and feelings

Dying Matters is encouraging people affected by loss as a result of Coronavirus to use the sunflower emoji if sending messages by phone or on social media as a sign of solidarity.

They have also created an image which you can download here.

Here is some of the advice they give to help you if you are supporting someone who is recently bereaved or someone you know is very ill.

It can be difficult to know what to say when someone is very ill or to a bereaved person. This could be through fear of saying the wrong thing or fear of being intrusive, but people will often need a lot of support.

• It’s better to do something than nothing – to acknowledge loss rather than ignore it;
• Look for invitations to talk from the other person. If they start talking about the person who has died, encourage them, even if it seems to make them upset;
• Be comforting when opening up the conversation rather than business-like;
• Try and create an environment where the person has the freedom to talk or not talk, according to what they want. “I’m around all day if you fancy a chat…”