Making Funeral or Memorial Arrangements
Contact your church or synagogue as soon as possible. They will provide names of mortuaries and cemeteries.
If you do not have a religious affiliation, a local church, or synagogue, will still be able to provide you with guidance or service. Perhaps a family member or a friend can recommend a church or synagogue which they attend.
If you have a family member interred at a cemetery that you are familiar with, this is a very good place to start.
Most cemeteries have sections dedicated to children. Many parents find comfort in the thought that their child will be among other children.
Some religious beliefs and customs dictate that funeral arrangements are to be made in a timely manner. If this is the case, the burial has to be done fairly soon. However, a memorial service or a scattering of ashes can be done whenever the time is right.
Here are some untraditional things parents have done to personalize their services.
-Tommy was remembered at a memorial gathering and picnic in his family's backyard, where several people shared music, words of memory, inspiration, and hope.
-Zachary's friends and family gathered at a park for a memorial service at the end of which helium balloons were released skyward in his honor.
-Danielle's service in her family's parish church included a poem written by her nine-year-old sister.
-Merry's friends gathered for her service at a beautiful garden where they often visited.
-Luis' parents invited friends, family, and local parishioners for a service and meal on the one-year anniversary of his death.
-Aaron's extended family went to the beach and talked about their experiences and feelings they had over his life and death. Weeks later, other friends and family gathered by the tree where his ashes were spread and also shared their thoughts and feelings.
-Jackson's parents asked everyone to wear white to his service because they didn't want a gloomy atmosphere.
-Months after her death, Claire's parents took a trip to Yellowstone to scatter her ashes.
Honoring Your Baby
Parents find many different ways to honor their babies, from large in scope to very private tributes. What matters is that your choices have meaning for you and for the memory of your baby's short life.
Here are some things that parents have done as a legacy for their child:
-For Tommy, his parents invited people to bring a gift in memory of him to his surviving twin sister's birthday party for the first few years. They would then donate his gifts to Toys for Tots. Also, they planted a tree in their backyard so they can watch it grow.
-For Aaron, his ashes were spread under a tree in a park where his parents wanted him to play with his brother. Every year, their Christmas card photo is taken in front of that tree.
-For Shane, playgrounds were (and are being) built across the country that can accommodate children with special needs.
-For Olivia, a room was made in the NICU at Cedars-Sinai so families would have a beautiful, private "goodbye space" to share their final moments with their child.
-For Claire, a fund was established to build a hiking trail at Yellowstone Park where her ashes are spread.
-For Gabrielle, friends and family established a fund for research into her rare medical condition.
-For Ken and George, a musical toy was donated to the NICU at Cedars-Sinai for future babies to play with.
-For Matthew, friends and family donated books to the school that his older brothers attend. Every year on his birthday, additional books are donated.
-For many babies, plaques hang on the hallways of the NICU at Cedars-Sinai.
-Some families include stockings or ornaments, along with those of other family members at holiday time.
-Some parents get involved in charitable events and causes (including Forever in Our Hearts) as a way to honor their child's memory.
-Some families find comfort in reaching out to others in need, who have experienced a similar loss.
-Some parents and friends of families make donations to the CSMC NICU or to Good Beginnings/Forever in Our Hearts to help other families and their babies.
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