basket  0

The Funeral


A funeral is a personal, sensitive and extremely emotional occasion and in most cases you do not have much time to plan and make arrangements. Also in our experience the funeral of a child can be very different to that of an adult, but this is down to personal preference. We wanted to offer some inspiration and ideas for consideration, all from families who are in the same position as you now; they will not be for everyone and they are offered only as suggestions; but we hope that they may give you some direction in arranging the day.



Funeral Directors

It would be useful to try calling a few different companies to get an estimate of the costs involved, there are some funeral directors who will not charge for the basic services of a child's funeral or charge much less, but be aware if you should you choose a burial as the cost of purchasing a grave can be expensive. Help with the cost of a funeral in the United Kingdom is available from the Social Fund for those who receive certain benefits. You can claim on Form SF200 which can be available at the funeral directors or your local social security office. Alternatively you may decide to arrange the funeral yourself independant of a funeral director, if this is your choice then you should contact the Bereavement Services Department at your local Council.

Click here to visit the website of the National Association of Funeral Directors, they will be able to help you search for one of their members in your area, but also ask them about the costs for a childs funeral if you are not entitled to help from the Social Fund as many will charge less or nothing for the basic services.

Click here to visit the Co-op Funeral Care website. Our local Co-op did not charge for the basic services of the funeral, but it would be wise to check as we are unsure if this is the case nationwide.

Click here to visit the The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors. The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) is a trade association whose members are all independent funeral directors. The funeral service they offer is not part of a national or international conglomerate or chain, but is privately owned and managed. In fact, a large proportion of our members funeral homes have been run by the same family for generations.

Click here to visit The Natural Death Centre who can give advice on environmentally friendly burials, as well as
inexpensive funerals that do not need the services of a funeral director.

Click here to visit The British Humanist Association for information and officiants for non religious funerals.


Transport

CarriageWe chose this White horse drawn hearse for our son's funeral. It was something we thought was so perfect for him. However,the carriage was not included in the cost of basic services and we paid approximately 1200 for the carriage and White horses. Other options could include a motorised hearse, they can come in many colours now, Green, White & Pink; or some other more unusual means including a 4x4 hearse, Volkswagen or even a motorbike. It would be best to discuss your ideas with your funeral director who would be able to guide you in terms of cost and practicalities.

Floral Tributes

Flowers can be another great expense, so it may be advisable to talk to a few local florists who will be able to discuss your ideas and offer various options to make sure your tribute is perfect and personalised in every detail, as well as giving you an idea of the costs involved. We found that local florists normally tend to be cheaper than some of the larger national companies. Your funeral director should be able to recommend some local florists if you are unsure of who to use.

flowerWe have also found a website called Whisper Designs who offer an alternative to flowers, which came about after losing her own baby and she could not find anything that expressed her feelings.
Click here to visit their website.

Memorials of Distinction have a list of popular flowers and their meanings to help you choose an appropriate flower for a funeral.



Dress Code

This is very much a personal choice, however, from our experience of childrens funerals, they tend to be a more relaxed dress code. Some families choose to wear brightly coloured clothes, as a celebration for the life of the child. Some will want everyone to wear something Red or Blue for example, to symbolise their favourite TV character or football team. But some will feel more comfortable with wearing the traditional dark clothes. What you need to remember is that there is no right or wrong, what ever you choose will be perfect for you. This choice is purely a personal preference of what you want and how you are feeling.


Preparing a Eulogy

A child's funeral is going to be a very emotional occasion for all involved, that goes without saying; so when thinking about your eulogy try not to make it overly dramatic to add to the emotion. Try and focus on the child, what they enjoyed to do, share happy memories and things that would have made them laugh and try to paint a picture of them for those who may not have known them that well. If the child said anything that seems profound now that they have died, those words would be an appropriate inclusion in the eulogy as well. There are some things that are implied and universally understood when it comes to the death of a child, such as no parent should have to bury their child and how unfair it all seems. It is not necessary to include such wording in the eulogy.

As parents you may you may have strong feelings about reading the eulogy yourself. Either way do not worry if you feel you can't, nobody will be expecting you to do so. Whoever is conducting the funeral will be more than happy to read your words on your behalf. But for those who feel they want to do it themselves, it its a good idea to read what you have written out loud several times as you will become used to the words and they will have a little less impact than reading it for the first time at the funeral.

It is not easy to write a eulogy for a child. But use the opportunity to remember a few of the beautiful moments that the child had during their short time on earth. Remind everyone how loved the child was, and how much the child loved his or her family.



Order of Service

Your Minister, Funeral Director or whoever is taking the funeral service will discuss what you would like to include in the service in detail, including any music, hymns or special readings you are thinking of. If you are having a cremation it may be advisable (but not compulsory) to book a double slot at the crematorium so that you have enough time to include everything you wanted to without feeling rushed. However, you may be more comfortable with a shorter service.

Depending on how you are feeling personally, the funeral service can be either a celebration of your child's life, or something that you just have to get through, and that is OK. You may decide that you would like to light candles during the service, watch a video of your child, or listen to readings/memories/songs read from their school/college friends or siblings, or to release doves/balloons after the service or by the graveside. Only you can decide and choose what is right for you and your family on the day, but I do know that what ever you choose it will be a very special and personal occasion.

Once the order of the service has been finalised you can either print your own service sheets, or if you know someone who will do it for you, otherwise I am sure your funeral directors will be able to assist if you are struggling. Again think about the words you want on the front of the sheet "A Celebration of the life of......", "In Loving Memory of....." or just their name and dates.


Songs

We have found some beautiful songs that would be appropriate to be played at the funeral. Songs are so personal to each and every family but if there are any you would like to share, please do not hesitate to
contact us. In some cases you may consider organising your own musicians to attend the funeral and perform your special song.

Beautiful Boy - John Lennon
Carry You Home - James Blunt
Fly - Celine Dion
Gone Too Soon - Michael Jackson
Lullaby - Billy Joel


"Parental grief is boundless. It touches every aspect of a parent's being...When a baby dies, parents grieve for the rest of their lives. Their grief becomes part of them....As time passes, parents come to appreciate that grief is their link to the child, their grief keeps them connected to the child." - Arnold and Gemma 1996