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Planning A Funeral or Memorial Service

Planning a funeral, memorial or celebration of life service is an immensley emotional experience. It is also an integral part of the grieving process, and healing process, and it is a day you will remember forever.

There are so many decisions to be made that it can be almost overwhelming. Ask family and friends to support you in this exhausting preparation. However, well meaning relatives and friends may try to assume the whole burden to save parents from the pain. While the process will certainly be difficult, it is also a critical step in the healing process. 

The choice of whether to bury your child or have them cremated is a very personal one. Having your child buried in a cemetery means that you will always have a place to visit when you want to feel close to them. Especially on their birthday and anniversary. Choosing to have your child cremated means that you can keep their ashes with you in your home if you wish, or chose to scatter them in a special place, or even have some ashes placed in a piece of memorial jewellery.

 

Selecting the Funeral Home

 
Base your selection on several factors. First, make some phone calls and speak with the funeral director. Be sure to tell him or her that you have just experienced the death of an infant. His or her attitude should be sensitive and gentle. Assuring that the director will be sensitive to your needs as a bereaved parent is the most important factor of choice.
If you are comfortable with the director's level of awareness and sensitivity, arrange to make a visit. Upon arrival, consider the options that they have available to you. Remembering important issues such as location, flexibility of service options, coordination options with clergy and the cemetery you have chosen, and payment arrangements. Be sure to make your memorial desires clear to the director so they are able to coordinate the schedule and other arrangements according to your wishes.
 
If it is too difficult for you to deal directly with the funeral director, find a family member or supportive friend who you can speak with and ask them to communicate and coordinate your requests for the memorial service on your behalf.
 

Options

 
Funerals
 
There are two types of funerals. One is with your child's body present so that family members and friends may have the opportunity to say good bye, the other is without your child's body present. You may chose an open or closed casket viewing. If you choose to have your child's body present, consider decorating his or her casket with pictures of his or her family, stuffed animals or toys, flowers and other items of memorial. A common myth surrounding a burial is that all bodies must be embalmed. This is your decision. Express your questions and concerns to your director.
 
Cremation
 
If you are considering cremation, think about what you would like to do with your child's ashes before acting on your final decision. Most bereaved parents who cremate are very comfortable with their decision. If you do cremate, you may keep the ashes in an urn at your home, you may bury the ashes (interred) with a memorial headstone or you may scatter the ashes at a special location. If you choose to scatter the ashes, we strongly recommend that you save a small portion of the ashes to keep. There are special boxes, charm necklaces and mini urns that are available to keep a small portion of the ashes in. If you decide to cremate, you may still have a memorial service for family and friends. It is a crucial component in the bereavement process.
 
If you are feeling pressured into cremation either by a lack of funds, lack of time or sheer confusion surrounding the decision making process, please ask someone professionally to assist you in that decision so you do not have regrets later.
 
Some parents express that they feel cheated if they do not have a special place to go and care for their child's body. An occasional visit to the cemetery where your child is buried or the ashes are placed can have a special healing effect, as many parents have expressed. It is a place to go on your child's birthday or Christmas to remember your child or even just a serene place to go and gather your thoughts.
 
It is an individual decision, however, either way we recommend much consideration be given to this subject.
 
Memorial Service
 
It is important to have a memorial service whether you have made the decision to bury or cremate. You may choose where to have the service, for example you may have it at the funeral home, at the cemetery or even at your home. If you have made the decision to scatter your child's ashes in a special location, you may have a memorial service, called a committal service at that special location.
 
Please include siblings in the memorial service. Offer them an opportunity to speak, read a letter or a poem to their brother or sister. Encourage siblings to draw a picture or write a letter and allow them to place it in the casket with their sibling. Also, choosing a special toy or memorial item from home is helpful. Older siblings may want to help carry the casket at the cemetery. By including siblings in the service, it will grant them the realization of the death of their baby and also give them special memories they will carry their lifetime.
 
The memorial service can be directed by your clergyman or woman, a staff member of the funeral home or even a friend or family member. Please consider a video tape of the service and photographs. It may be painful to look at them right away after the death of your child, however, someday you may want to have it available to you. Consider songs that you would like to have played, poetry read in memory of your child and even having your child baptized if you are religious and had not yet done so in the hospital.
 

Some ideas for your baby's special day.

 

♥ Consider whether you would like to see your baby before the service.

 

♥ Choose a special outfit or blanket for them to be wrapped in.

 

♥ Place any special items you wish to stay with your baby, a special toy, a letter, a flower.

 

♥ If you have other children don't be afraid to include them in the service, they may want to draw a picture and have it put in the casket with their sibling.

 

♥Think about asking a family member or close friend to read a poem.

 

♥Choose some beautiful music to be played throughout the service.

 

♥ Consider having an order of service printed with the poems and music you have chosen inside.

 

♥ You may like to hold a gathering after the service to share food with family and friends.

 

♥ Think about having some photographs of your little one displayed for family and friends who didn't get to meet your baby.

 

♥ Have a special book for family and friends to write a loving message for you inside.

 

♥ Consider asking a friend or family member to take some photographs for you on the day. A dear friend of ours did this for us and we now have a lovely album with all our nearest and dearest who came to share with us in saying goodbye to Lily.

 

Most of all do what feels right for you, say goodbye to your precious child in whatever way you wish.

 

We offer our deepest peace and love to you.

x x x

 

 

Resources for planning a funeral Service

UK Sands When your baby dies

♥ UK Sands Planning a funeral service

 

Music

Poetry