When a child dies, the family is usually faced with the difficult task of planning and arranging their funeral. For grieving parents, this can be a very traumatic time. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to help the process go more smoothly and allow families to honor the memory of their beloved child.
The first thing to do is decide how you want to remember your child. Some people choose to hold a simple, private memorial service in the comfort of their own homes or at a local funeral home, while others may prefer to have a larger ceremony with a wider group of friends and family. The choice is yours, and the service you plan should be something that reflects your family’s wishes and feelings about your child.
You can also consider a special tribute in the form of a flower arrangement, balloons, tree seedlings, and other items that represent your child. Some families even ask for donations to benefit a charity that is important to their child’s life or interests.
Make sure that your child knows the details of the funeral, including how it will look and what will happen. Let her know about the visitation, the service, and the funeral home.
Explain how the casket will be decorated, and that it will have photos and other mementos of your child on display. Talk about your child’s special outfit that will be worn during the funeral, if they were involved in making this decision.
During the service, children can participate in the music and readings, or they may want to light a candle or place a memento in the casket. This can give bereaved children a chance to say goodbye to their loved one and feel like their feelings matter.
For younger children, a funeral is likely to be very emotional and they are likely to feel restless and uncomfortable. It is a good idea to have a favourite toy or cuddle available and a small snack in case they get hungry.
If you have other young children in the house, it might be helpful to arrange for them to stay at a babysitter’s home during the funeral. This will ensure that they can play and run around, but you will need to be aware of how long they are in the home so that they do not become too bored or upset.
When you discuss the funeral, explain that there will be people crying and laughing. These are normal emotions that will be felt by people at the funeral, and it is fine for your child to feel these as well.
Be prepared for your child to be restless, as they will not understand what’s going on. If this happens, a good friend or relative could take them out of the room and have them play.
Explain that the funeral is an important way to honor your child’s memory and help the people in your family to say goodbye. Afterwards, you can spend some time together to talk about your child’s life and the things that are important to you.