Losing a child is one of the most painful experiences a family can endure. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death or whether it’s an infant, teenager or adult child, the overwhelming grief the surviving family members experience is something funeral professionals are uniquely qualified to handle. And as difficult as it is to witness a families’ crushing sorrow, funeral professionals understand that expert care and compassionate service is exactly what these heartbroken families need. In recognition of Bereaved Parents Awareness Month, here are just a few of the invaluable ways you can help grieving families during the most difficult days of their lives.
Explain Funeral Service Options
Successful funeral professionals understand the importance of offering different types of services to honor their loved one’s memory. Immediately following the tragic death of a child, the grief is often too overwhelming and crippling for the family to try to make funeral arrangements. No matter what they ultimately decide, reassuring the family that your funeral home staff will be there to assist them through the entire process will provide much-needed comfort.
Assist with the Obituary
Helping to write a meaningful obituary is just one of the important details your staff may be asked to assist with. Regardless of whether the family decides to have a service right away or wait until a later date, writing and publishing the obituary typically has a greater sense of urgency. Helping with this important task can be a huge relief to the family. When the family is ready to share their loved one’s story, keep in mind this obituary is the family's last tribute for their child and should reflect a feeling of hope and comfort.
Provide Grief Support Resources
While no words, books or videos can take away a family’s grief after losing a child, there are many valuable resources available to help provide support, hope and comfort. Whether you follow up with text-based aftercare, provide access to online grief support materials or host grief support meetings for families you’ve served, your assistance can play a crucial role in providing grieving families with some of the tools and resources they’ll need to guide them through their healing journey.
If your firm doesn’t have a grief support specialist on staff, consider partnering with professional counselors in your area to provide ongoing support workshops. You could also keep materials on hand to distribute or mail to families who can benefit from them, such as the Finding Hope booklet series by Dr. Jason Troyer. Contact your account executive to learn more about these booklets.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
As funeral professionals, you experience many challenging and heartbreaking days throughout your career. Know that your caring and compassionate services are invaluable to helping these families during the most difficult time of their lives. But remember, you also need to take care of yourself during challenging times. First and foremost, be sure to consult an appropriate professional if you need to discuss matters related to your own physical and emotional health.
The Finding Resilience program offers resources to help funeral professionals prevent burnout and cope with challenging situations. This includes a weekly email program, a free pocket-size journal and a guide with resources and inspiration. Visit the website to learn more about Finding Resilience.