While there is nothing to take away the pain of losing a child, there are steps that can be taken to help the grieving process. One of those is planning a funeral that will be meaningful to family and friends and that will reflect the light that child brought to the world.
The first step in planning a child funeral is to educate your children about what happens at a funeral service. This is important because it will give them the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether they would like to attend a funeral service or not. It is also helpful because it will help them understand and accept the death of their loved one.
You may find it best to explain that a funeral is a time for people to pay their respects to the person who has died and to say goodbye. You can also teach your children about caskets and urns, so they will not be shocked or scared when they see their sibling’s body at a visitation or in the casket at the funeral service. If you decide to have an open casket, it is important to help your children understand that their loved one’s body will be cool to the touch and that they can pay their respects by touching them. If you are going to have cremation, it is also important to teach your children that their loved one will not be hurt or feel anything during the cremation process.
In addition to explaining what will happen at the funeral, you can also prepare your children in advance by reading them stories about grief and loss. You can read them books about losing a parent or sibling, or you can choose songs that were special to your child or are meaningful to the family. You can even ask a relative or friend to read a tribute, poem or letter on your child’s behalf during the service.
It is also important to help your children understand that everyone will be feeling different emotions at the funeral. You can do this by telling them that adults may cry, laugh or be quiet during the service. You can also show them how to express their feelings by letting them see you do it during your own moments of sadness.
During the funeral service, it can be helpful to have someone designated as your child’s “funeral buddy.” This is a trusted and familiar friend who will be willing to take your child outside or into a hallway for breaks if needed during the services. This will allow you to fully attend the services, knowing that your child is being cared for by a familiar and trusted adult.
Although you will want to make every effort to keep your child with you, there are times when it may be necessary to leave them. This is especially true if you are planning to view the body or make a speech during the services.