Remembering a Child
If you already have said goodbye to your precious child, we are so very sorry. The grief of losing a child is like no other. We are here to support you.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are healthy ways to grieve that help lead to healing. These involve recognizing your emotions and feeling them, no matter how difficult the process is.
The death of a child is devastating and often referred to as the worst experience a parent can endure. You may feel overwhelmed by suffering and intense emotions that flood the days, weeks, months, and years following the loss of your child. The pain of grief is extremely intense. You are digesting the pain of never seeing your child again, as well as the loss of future hopes and plans.
It is important to allow yourself to grieve the loss of your child and to feel the emotions that accompany that grief. While painful, it is an important part of the healing process. Many families find comfort in activities that help them process their feelings or create a legacy for the child they lost.
Families who have lost children have shared some activities that were helpful in their healing:
Many parents may feel robbed of the chance to make memories with their precious child. These activities can help create healing memories of your child even after their death and can provide important rituals to lean on during painful times, such as anniversaries or birthdays.
Other ways to work through your grief:
Whatever ways you choose to help you cope, be gentle with yourself. There is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of your child. Be attuned to your emotions and needs, lean on your support network, and give yourself the time and space you need to begin the healing process.
Planning Memorials or Remembrances
Planning a funeral or memorial for a child can be very painful, but it can also provide comfort in bringing together loved ones to honor your child’s life.
If you do choose to have a funeral or other memorial service, your healthcare provider, as well as a chaplain, minister or faith leader of your choice, can help you explore what options might be right for your family. A funeral director can also help you understand the range of options available to you.
Make sure you plan a ritual or ceremony that is individualized to your wishes, beliefs and preferences, within the bounds of whatever state and local regulations may exist regarding burial. If your wishes are within regulations, your healthcare provider should honor them. Don’t feel pressured to do things simply because you feel that that is the way they are supposed to be done.
Some families choose to have a funeral for their child. Others may choose a memorial or other form of remembrance. Some people wish for a small and private memorial, whereas others welcome the support of a larger group of friends and family. Other families may choose not to hold a memorial at all and grieve privately. Again, it's important to note that there isn't a right or wrong approach.
If you will be choosing burial over cremation, your funeral home will guide you through all of the choices. With cremation, some parents prefer to wait a while prior to having a memorial to decide what they want to do with the ashes. Some people wish to keep ashes in a special jar, whereas others prefer spreading them in a special location that honors the baby.
Many parents may wish to preserve their baby's memory in some way by creating a memorial garden, planting a tree, or naming a star, and some choose to incorporate that element into the service or memorial.
Remember, whatever you choose, it will be the right way to remember and honor your precious child.
Helping a Sibling Cope
Many parents with living children worry about how their other children will cope with the death of their sibling to Trisomy 18. That’s understandable. The death of a sibling can have a profound impact on a child. But ensuring they are able to grieve and providing them the support they need can make a significant difference in how they handle the loss. Here are some things you can do to help them cope.