The Funeral Service Foundation, in partnership with the Collaborative of National Pediatric Palliative Care Coalitions, recently created a resource entitled When a Child Dies: Planning Acts of Love & Legacy for bereaved families. The booklet offers guidance and inspiration to help these families who experience the death of their child say goodbye in a way that is meaningful and important to their path forward.
Research for the booklet began in 2018 with a multi-year grant to the Collaborative of National Pediatric Palliative Care Coalitions. “We recognized a need in the grief space to help families plan a meaningful and healing goodbye when a child dies, which led us to apply for funding from the Funeral Service Foundation,” said Kristin James and Betsy Hawley, executive directors of the Greater Illinois Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition and the Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition, respectively. “Our work with the Funeral Service Foundation over the last five years has culminated in a resource that will help families understand that they are not alone as they begin to face a world in which their child is no longer living.”
Dozens of bereaved parents, along with healthcare and bereavement professionals, offered their expertise in creating this piece, which is available at FuneralServiceFoundation.org at no charge to all who those who walk alongside grieving families.
The resource offers guidance for families, including why funerals and memorialization are important steps in moving forward; entrusting their child’s body to the care of a funeral director; what to expect when meeting with a funeral director; determining a final resting place; connecting with family and community; talking to children about death and dying; and preparing families for funeral attendance. The guide also offers memorialization ideas from bereaved parents, and those who walk alongside grieving families, and gives suggestions for building acts of legacy and love in the days, weeks, months, and years after a child’s funeral.
“There is no magic wand to take away a parent’s heartache when a child dies,” said Hawley and James. “We are hopeful that this resource will bring some comfort to families and let them know that they are not alone.”
Click here to order your copies of When a Child Dies via Funeral Service Foundation website.
If you missed the May 12 NFDA Webinar, When a Child Dies: Resources for Funeral Directors and Parents, you can watch a recording on the NFDA website. After the death of a child, as the funeral professional, you are not only receiving the body of the child, but the heart and soul of the family. During this webinar, the experts shared how you can bring your expertise and compassion to the family as you guide them in the difficult decisions from transferring the care of their child to you to their final goodbye. You will discover lessons for improving the end-of-life experience for families and the community following the death of a child. To watch the recording, visit www.nfda.org/FreeRecordings.