‘If there’s anything I can do… 

In 2003 Caroline’s husband Nick Doughty died of oesophageal cancer, leaving her a young widow with two little girls, one aged three, the other 17 months. 

Four years later Caroline published this widely acclaimed book, offering her own insight, and thoughts and suggestions from dozens of other widows and widowers of all ages. 

In 2020 Caroline republished the book with a PostScript, looking back on her bereavement with the benefit of hindsight. The second edition also includes updated contact details for a raft of charities and support groups, as well as new information on the ‘paperwork’ that needs to be done after a death.   

This book is a must read for anyone who has a friend or family member who has lost a partner – old, young, married, in a partnership, straight or gay. It will also provide comfort to anyone widowed and grieving – giving the perspective of many others who have walked that long, bumpy road before. 


An exemplary work on a difficult subject.

– Nigella Lawson

Watching a friend grieve for someone they love is heartbreaking. This book makes it easier and shows you ways you really can help.

– Darren Clarke, pro golfer 

This is a practical, sensible and thoughtful book. If you know someone recently bereaved, get hold of a copy (or three!), read it and distribute it to friends as well.

– Lindsay Nicholson, Editorial Director, Good Housekeeping 

Both touching and practical.

– YOU magazine, Mail on Sunday 

[Caroline Voaden] explains that navigating the rocky road to recovery is difficult enough, overwhelming without assistance, and her forthright guide helps everyone to give the sort of help that makes such a pivotal difference in these circumstances.

– The Good Book Guide 

An invaluable resource for both the bereaved and their friends and family, this compassionate, brave piece of work covers everything from the practical issues (flowers, letters, what to say) to the intangibles (moral support, mental health) to taking those first steps to moving on.

– Daily Record 

The book

The phrase you are likely to hear more than any other after bereavement gave the book its name. “If there’s anything I can do, just shout!” is a seemingly innocuous thing to say to someone who has lost a loved one. But in reality, it’s really not that helpful. 

Caroline has combined her own personal experience with that of dozens of other widowed men and women to come up with some great ideas for how you, as a supportive friend or family member, can offer real, practical help that will make a difference. 

Grief is exhausting. And in the early days pretty relentless too. At a time when you are faced with making lots of decisions you are utterly wrecked. And if you’re a widow with children, even more so!

As a friend you can’t take away the grief, but there are things you can do to make everyday life more bearable and ease the anxiety and exhaustion. No one knows better what those things are than people who have been bereaved themselves.

This book is full of useful hints, tips and advice about how you can really make a difference. From food to admin, DIY to parenting, socialising to holidays, you’ll never be short of a good idea again! 


Caroline was previously Chair of the national charity Widowed and Young. She is available for interview about the book, about her experience of widowhood, and about bereavement issues in general.

If you would like to interview Caroline or include her on a panel, please do get in touch

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