Chapter 3: Funerals, memorials, and other rituals

Taking part in the funeral or memorial

I've been there
Cath describes how children took part in the funeral.(3:22)Video transcript
I've been there
David describes how he and his boys planned the funeral and celebration of life events. (3:22)Video transcript

Annie put one of her stuffed animals in the casket but didn't want to speak. Adam read a letter to his grandpa, talking about the last time they went camping together.

Children often appreciate being asked to say, read or do something (like lighting a candle) at the funeral or memorial. Some will feel more comfortable writing or dictating a letter that someone else reads for them. It’s important not to pressure children to participate, and to let them know this doesn’t reflect how much they care about the person. 

One way to involve children is to make them "official photographers." They can take photos of the service and other events such as receptions.

Your dad loved you very much, and he knew how much you loved him. He’d want you to do whatever you feel comfortable doing.

Ask if they’d like to put something in the casket to be buried or cremated with the body. Many children find this comforting. They tend to choose items such as a drawing or letter, a stuffed toy, memento or a photo. They may want a copy of whatever's placed in the casket as a way to stay connected and to remember them.