The death of a baby or small child is a tragic event that no parent ever wishes to experience. It is a time of terrible grief and anguish for the parents, the siblings, and other loved ones of the deceased. Planning a funeral for your child may be the last thing you feel like doing during this time, yet giving your loved one a significant and personal goodbye is an important part of the grieving process. Here are some things you might like to consider when planning your baby or small child's final farewell.
A religious or secular funeral
Whether you choose to have a religious ceremony in a church or a secular service is generally dependent on your personal views. Many people who don't consider themselves overly religious still like to have a religious ceremony because the religious views of the afterlife offer them comfort after losing their child.
Secular funerals can take place in a funeral home like Tony Hollands Funerals, or they can take place in a location of your choice in the form of a memorial service. These are usually presided over by a celebrant, but can also be presided over by a friend or family member.
Burial or cremation
Whether to bury or cremate your child is, again, a very personal choice that can only be made by the parents. If you choose to bury your child then you will need to choose a resting place that is in a cemetery or churchyard that is legally permitted to inter bodies.
If you choose cremation, then you will have more choices for where your child's remains will rest. Ashes can be interred in a garden setting within a cemetery, or you can scatter the ashes at a significant location such as the beach or in a forest. There is also an increasing array of options available for beautiful ways to immortalise your child's remains, such as planting them with a tree seed, pressing them into a diamond, and having them put into a soft toy such as a teddy bear.
A closed or open coffin
Like all other aspects of planning a child's funeral, whether to have a closed or open coffin is a personal decision. Some parents like the idea of friends and family being able to see, or even hold, their child, as they say their final goodbyes. For other parents, this may not be something they would desire.
If you choose to have an open coffin, then bear in mind that your child will look quite different from when they were alive. Many funeral homes will offer to apply a light amount of makeup to your child so that they appear to be asleep, but again this is a personal decision and is not for everybody.
Planning a baby or child's funeral may feel like the most difficult task you've ever undertaken. If you don't feel as though you are able to make all the arrangements yourself, then the funeral home that you've chosen will be able to gently guide you through the decision-making process.