Made possible by a grant from the Funeral Service Foundation
“Funeral Service Providers are the first line of support for bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings. We have heard from many Funeral Directors and their staff that the death of a child is one of the most challenging situations they experience in funeral service. The resources and information on these pages offer helpful suggestions, insights, and information for funeral service professionals to support the compassionate care they have and continue to offer bereaved parents, grandparents, siblings, and their families.”
The most important thing you can do is listen and try not to fix.
The death of a child is a life-altering situation. It is a major disruption of a person’s life with many ebbs and flows that are unique to each individual. After the death of a child, a parent begins a lifelong journey of experiencing the pain of grief, adapting to a new way of understanding themselves and the world around them, and learning to live a changed life when a person may have greatly loved their old life. Grief changes many things for bereaved parents including aspects of their personality and preferences, priorities and lifestyle choices, and many things they have deemed important in the past. Having a better understanding of a parent’s grief can help us to be more empathetic as we interact with them, whether we are a friend, family member, professional, co-worker, or neighbor. Click HERE to read more and download information about a parent’s grief after a child dies that might help build perspective.
When a sibling dies, surviving siblings lose a part of their past and of their future. Siblings feel the pressure of the loss in many ways. Siblings may feel pressure to take care of their parents, to be strong for others in the family, or the pressure to fill the void left by their sibling. In addition to these stresses, siblings struggle with survivor’s guilt that they are still living but their sibling has died. They often feel that a piece of them died when their sibling died. They also feel overlooked. They will miss their siblings for the rest of their lives, but their grief is often overshadowed by the grief of their parents. Their grief is different than their parents’ and it is comforting when people ask them how they are doing. Acknowledging their unique grief is helpful and will be remembered as they think back to those first few days after the death. Click HERE to read more and download information about a sibling’s grief after the death of a brother or sister.
The relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild is very special and unique. When a grandchild dies, a grandparent’s grief is intense and painful. It leaves bereaved grandparents feeling helpless as they experience a double loss. Not only do they mourn for their grandchild, but they also grieve for their child and their inability to take away the pain their child is experiencing as a bereaved parent. The death of a grandchild is not something a grandparent ever expected to experience, and because of this, many grandparents experience a sense of denial, shock, or even numbness. It can be challenging for grandparents to express their own grief when they are worried about the health of their adult child and other family members. Click HERE to read more and download information about a grandparent’s grief after the death of a grandchild.
The grief experienced by a parent after the death of their child at any age is profound and like no other. Many Funeral Directors have expressed that a child’s death is one of the most difficult situations to provide funeral services. The challenges include caring for and preparing the child’s body, meeting with the family to plan for burial/cremation and funeral/memorial services, and follow-up or referrals for after-care. Click HERE to read more about suggestions for funeral directors caring for bereaved families after a child dies.
The death of a child is an enduring loss that has a lasting impact on the life of parents. The depth of grief and pain experienced by parents after the death of a child cannot be fully understood if you have not lived that experience yourself. However, there are things that are important for those caring for bereaved parents to know in order to reflect compassion and empathy. Here are a few things that Bereaved Parents want you to know about their grief and loss. Click HERE to read more and download information about a parent’s grief after a child dies that might help build perspective.
Siblings have a unique relationship with one another. They often are the witnesses of important milestones in their growth and development. They can be confidants, protectors, and partners amid life’s challenges. When a sibling dies, surviving siblings’ lives are forever changed. Siblings feel the pressure of the loss in many ways. Siblings may feel pressure to take care of their parents, to be strong for others in the family, or to fill the void left by their sibling. They often feel that a piece of them died when their sibling died. Click HERE to read more and download information about a sibling’s grief after the death of a brother or sister.
The Compassionate Friends (TCF) has been providing highly personal comfort, hope, and peer support to bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents grieving the death of a child for the past 50 years. TCF was founded by Rev. Simon Stephens in 1978, when he introduced two families whose children had recently died to support one another. He believed that peer support, being with others who understand, was better than anything he could ever say or provide. Over the past 50 years, this movement has spread across the world, including here in the United States.
Today, The Compassionate Friends has a presence in hundreds of communities across the United States in the form of chapters, local support groups, and online support. These peer support services are offered at no charge to those who need them. It is our vision that no one grieves alone and that everyone who needs us will find us. Click HERE to read more about aftercare services offered through The Compassionate Friends.
Use the chapter locator to find out information about chapters in your area. Locate a Chapter by selecting your state and zip code.