Planning a Child’s Funeral
There’s nothing as heartbreaking as planning a child’s funeral. As parents, burying a child involves much more than that. We’re also saying goodbye to our hopes and dreams for our child. We lament all the opportunities they’ll not experience – graduations, weddings, births. Losing a child makes us feel lost, angry, desperate, and hopeless. When someone experiences this level of heartbreak, it’s impossible to even think about how to move on from this tragedy.
Sadly, after the loss of a child, the first step is planning the funeral. Moreover, while there’s no comfort during this trying time that can help, we’ve created this short guide to provide you with a guiding hand that can help you plan the most beautiful and meaningful funeral for your child.
Before the Service
Even before the service, you’ll have to find the strength to set the funeral plans in motion. These decisions will help you find closure. As painful as it might be, making these decisions will also help you go through the stages of grief as you process this unbearable loss.
Decide the Type of Service
First of all, you have to decide on the type of service you want for your child. Many families choose to hold a small private ceremony at home, while others reach out to local funeral homes to plan the memorial service. Remember, there’s no right or wrong approach here. Your child’s funeral can be similar to a traditional ceremony for an adult or make it as short as a few prayers by the graveside. Whatever you choose, please know you have the ultimate decision of what feels right for you as a family at this sorrowful time.
Designate Someone for Communications
Sending out funeral invitations or messages is as heartbreaking as hearing the news for the first time. Replaying the same moment when you lose a child over and over again is torture. Designate someone you trust. This could be a close family member or friend, to take charge of the communications. Another person who can take on this task is the funeral director, reach out to them and let them know you wish them to be the ones people go to for questions and more.
Personalize Their Funeral
Just as you personalize an adult funeral, you can bring every aspect of your child to their funeral. Whether they’re an infant, toddler, or child, they all have beautiful personalities. Celebrate them in every way possible and bring the things that brought them the most joy to their funeral as a way to give them a beautiful farewell.
What They’ll Be Wearing
It’s common to bury a child in their favorite clothes. Many families choose their favorite costume, their favorite sports jersey, their uniform if they were ballerinas or baseball players. Other families choose to bury them in burial clothes that resemble white gowns.
Most funerals for adults feature flowers as décor. When the funeral is for a child, families can choose to decorate with things their child loved the most. From teddy bears and balloons to ribbons and footballs, anything you want to choose to represent your child’s life is valid here. Choose a décor that celebrates what they adored and enjoyed the most. Everything that’s suited for a grand life celebration.
Music can be incredibly hard to choose. There are countless funeral songs out there and many speak to the wrenching pain of losing a child. Here are some songs suited for a child’s funeral:
- Lullabye – Billy Joel
- Baby Mine – Bette Midler
- One More Day – Diamond Rio
- Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland
- Borrowed Angels – Kristin Chenoweth
- God’s Will – Martina McBride
- The Dance – Garth Brooks
- Godspeed – Dixie Chicks
- I Will Carry You – Selah
It’s common for people to gift funeral flowers and your family can choose to accept those. Another option is to ask for donations in lieu of flowers. Donations can go to any organization you choose, families who lose a child to illness often choose organizations searching for a cure. Another option would be to ask for photos, cards, or other things that celebrate your child’s life. Again, remember, there’s no right or wrong choice here; do whatever feels best to you and your family.
During the Service
There are also many things to consider during the service. From the speakers to the prayers, you want to make sure the service itself goes exactly as you wish. Working closely with the funeral director, you can plan all of these ahead of time.
Even if you deep down want to speak, you don’t have to. Finding any words to voice the pain and the emptiness you feel after losing a child is impossible. Ask some friends and family members if they’d like to say some words during the service. If you don’t want anyone speaking at the funeral, you don’t have to. Ask the funeral director to say some words and to focus more on the prayers.
Pick the Prayers
Whether your family is religious or not, it’s often common for families to choose a few prayers and bible verses to be read at the funeral. Ask the funeral director to show you two or three options, as reading through a lot of them might only aggravate your pain and suffering. Then, choose the ones you’d like to recite during the funeral service.
Set up a Children’s Room
While this is not necessary, it might be a thoughtful idea. Whether you lost an infant, toddler, or child, it’s possible that some of your friends will visit with their kids. In this case, remember that most children don’t understand what happens at a funeral. Setting up a children’s room where they can play and be safe can be a great idea to make sure the funeral goes on undisturbed.
Plans after the Service
If you’re planning to have a graveside ceremony, consider planning this ahead of time as well. This is also true if you’re planning to set up a memorial service after the funeral at home. Some ideas for a celebration of life ceremony suited for a child’s funeral include releasing butterflies or balloons by the graveside.
Losing a child is a pain that’s often indescribable, unbearable, and incomparable. At The Gardens of Boca Raton, our caring funeral counselors understand how heartbreaking this situation can be. We believe no one should go through the planning of a child’s funeral alone, which is why we’re dedicated to offering the most caring service that cares for you and your family every step of the way, making sure to plan the most meaningful, beautiful, and thoughtful farewell for your beloved child.