Saying goodbye to a special person who has died is one of the most painful and confusing experiences a child can go through. One way to support them through it is to think of ways to honor and remember the loved one in years to come. These activities or rituals give an opportunity to talk about that person, hear stories, and share memories to help keep their legacy alive.
Our staff at Nalley-Pickle & Welch has experience both personally and professionally when it comes to commemorating important relationships. We’re here to help the families we serve before, during, and after the funeral – and this includes offering these ideas to help children remember that special person long into the future.
- Help your child select a memento that belonged to the person who died. This could be an item of clothing, a book, a blanket, or anything else that brings their memory to mind every time they look at it.
- Create a scrapbook together about the person who died. Include photos, favorite quotes, funny or poignant sayings your loved one was known for, and cut-outs of whatever helps you remember them.
- Start a journal featuring memories and stories from various people who know your loved one. This can be looked back on in years to come and added to any time.
- If there is an online obituary or memorial page, encourage your child to help select photos to feature.
- Plan a gathering on the loved one’s birthday or the anniversary of the death. Look through photos, watch videos featuring the friend or family member who died and share favorite stories.
- Visit your loved one’s final resting place. Bring along flowers, a wreath, or another memento to leave behind.
- Frame a hand-written item such as a letter, a recipe, or even a signature. You might be surprised how much comfort can come from seeing a loved one’s handwriting and how many stories will be brought to mind.
- Reimagine an article of clothing or beloved blanket. A loved one’s well-worn plaid shirt could be made into a pillow to give to a child as a gift. Ties could be incorporated into a quilt. Pieces of fabric from a favorite sweater or pair of jeans can be transformed into a teddy bear.
- Repurpose a piece of jewelry into a child-size necklace or charm.
- Prepare your loved one’s favorite foods or meals together while listening to their favorite music.
Spending extra time talking about the person who died can make all the difference to a child, while helping them develop healthy coping skills. Encourage them to express their feelings. Listen as they try to make sense of what happened. With older children and teenagers especially it’s important to validate and support their conversations at they let their voice be heard. Support them as they remember what they loved most about that special person.
For many people, the weeks and months after the funeral are the hardest. Our aftercare services are designed to aid families in the grieving and healing process. We have relationships with support groups and services to help you and your family cope. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our professional staff anytime. We are here to help, from one neighbor to another.