Eight of the best podcasts to help you deal with grief

At this time of year, many people are in need of extra support – here are some easy listens that will remind you that you aren’t alone

Podcasts featuring Cariad Lloyd, the late Dame Deborah James and Anderson Cooper feature on our list
Podcasts featuring Cariad Lloyd, the late Dame Deborah James and Anderson Cooper feature on our list Credit: Rii Schroer | Paul Grover | Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for CNN

As we get closer to Christmas and the party season, it’s easy to forget that – amid the yuletide jollity and merrymaking – the festive period can be a poignant time for some. Particularly for those who have lost loved ones, it can be a time when we are reminded there is one less Christmas card or invitation to send off. One less space at the dinner table. 

At a time of year when many people need a bit more support but don’t know where to find it, here is a list of the best podcasts to help you through.

1. Griefcast

Host Cariad Lloyd describes this as “funny people talking about death and grief”. Expect candid, humorous and often deeply moving conversations between Lloyd, a comedian, and celebrity guests as they open up about loved ones they have lost. 

Lloyd set up Griefcast in 2016, drawing on the loss of her father to pancreatic cancer during her teens. Seven years and 190 episodes later, the show has won multiple awards – including Podcast of the Year at the 2018 Arias (the audio equivalent of the Baftas) – and featured guests such as comedian Romesh Ranganathan and psychotherapist Philippa Perry. The most recent series came out in October 2022. Click here for more

2. Terrible, Thanks for Asking

This is a podcast that breaks down taboos surrounding grief, starting with that oh so innocuous question: how are you? “It’s a question we ask (and get asked) all the time: ‘How are you?’ And normally we just respond with ‘Fine!’ even if we’re totally dying inside,” writes host Nora McInerny. In this podcast, McInerny, an American author, speaks to normal people about their experiences of loss in all its forms, be that bereavement, divorce or to do with their career. 

During these conversations, McInerny draws on her personal experience of miscarrying a child and losing both her father and husband to cancer within several weeks in 2014. “It’s sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and almost always both,” she writes about the show. Each episode is around an hour long, and there are over 270 available to binge online. Click here for more

3. The Grief Gang

The Grief Gang is described as the gang “you never asked to be part of”.  In this heart-warming podcast, host Amber Jeffrey speaks to a range of friends and experts to get to grips with their experiences of loss and how it affects them. 

Jeffrey created the podcast after her mother died of a sudden heart attack in 2016 when she was just 19. “Above all this show aims to provide you with hope,” she writes. The first episode of the sixth season was released in September. Click here for more

4. On the Marie Curie Couch

The Marie Curie charity produces its own award-nominated podcast dealing with grief that is well worth a listen. The show invites a host of well-known guests to open up and share their experiences of grief on the therapy couch with bereavement expert Jason Davidson – whose soothing tones have a way of getting people talking. 

Guests, including Gyles Brandreth and Jane Horrocks, are also encouraged to share their end of life plans – which may be particularly useful for anyone preparing for a bereavement. Click here for more

5. Good Mourning

Described as a “grief support group in a podcast”, Good Mourning is two fun, slightly sweary mates – one Australian; the other a British expat – talking about loss. Hosts Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn share tips from doctors, scientists and family members on how to cope. 

The pair were brought together in what Carn describes as “really f— up circumstances” after losing their mothers during “that in between age” of adult life and finding they had few people to turn to. The podcast has now gone past 100 episodes and is still going strong. One for adulthood bereavement. Click here for more

6. You, Me and the Big C

Not strictly speaking a podcast about grief, but this is essential listening for anyone with a relative in the throes of cancer treatment. 

Originally hosted by three cancer patients; Dame Deborah James, Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland, the British podcast charts their treatment journeys while discussing all aspects of the disease with a range of experts. Bland sadly died in 2018 from breast cancer and James succumbed to bowel cancer in June 2022, leaving Mahon as the only surviving host. But the pod continues in a new form with each episode hosted by different people with a connection to the disease. Click here for more

7. All There Is with Anderson Cooper

In this nine-episode series, American broadcaster Anderson Cooper starts recording while packing up the possessions of his late mother Gloria Vanderbilt. Going through her diaries and heirlooms, as well as items left behind by his father and brother, the CNN anchor takes listeners on a personal exploration of grief. 

In a succession of moving conversations with experts and celebrity friends, Cooper discusses loss, the things people leave behind and how to live on. All There Is came out last year and won multiple awards. A podcast about grief with a sprinkle of American stardust. Click here for more

8. Heavyweight

Perhaps slightly tangential, Heavyweight is a multi-award winning podcast that helps people to answer questions about the past and what could have been. In each episode, host Jonathan Goldstein, an American-Canadian author, attempts to help a guest – typically an ordinary person – find closure for an unresolved question in their lives. 

These are often a source of grief, whether it be due to death, divorce or the loss of a childhood best friend. The podcast has been running since 2016 and is currently in its eighth series. Click here for more

Marie Curie is one of four charities supported by this year’s Telegraph Christmas Charity Appeal. The others are Go Beyond, the RAF Benevolent Fund and Race Against Dementia. To make a donation, please visit telegraph.co.uk/2023appeal or call 0151 284 1927