Funeral for a child

Parents and family may want to be closely involved or make all the arrangements themselves for the death of a child.

You may want to use a funeral director or do all the planning among friends and family. You may want to use a celebrant or – if you are able – lead the tribute yourself or ask a close friend or family member. Talk this over to work out what’s best and who feels able. You can always have a Plan B lined up in case you find it too hard on the day.

Some families want to place their child in the coffin themselves, others prefer the funeral director to do this. It’s a matter of personal choice. You may want to keep a lock of hair, or a handprint or footprint among your keepsakes. The Victorians dressed and posed their children in death and photographed them in repose, at peace. You can too.

You may want to place a favourite book, toy or possesion in the coffin. This can all be part of a private ritual the family carries out away from the burial ground or crematorium, giving space for thoughts, wishes, poems, private tears.

Otherwise, browse this site for ideas and get a sense of the rules and options. Don’t do anything you don’t want to. Ask for anything you do want.

In this film, parent Gemma shares generously the importance of thinking ahead and talking openly when dealing with death and dying and Jen, her hospice social worker talks about her role.

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