What would you include? Is this even a good idea?
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  1. #1
    Registered User MissSeetonFan's Avatar
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    Default What would you include? Is this even a good idea?

    We lost our fourth child this last December. We have been going through the grieving process and one of the things that I have been considering doing to ease things for others is creating a pamphlet that details as many of the decisions that people MUST make and as many decisions as possible that I wish I had known about.

    This is mostly aimed at those who have lost children, whether from miscarriages or later on through accident, illness and other causes, but I welcome all suggestions.

    I am going to detail types of losses and what sorts of decisions are available to be made at which stages.

    I'm hoping that by having something that lays things out with pros and cons, it will help those who are in shock make some better informed decisions about what to do for funerals, mementos, anything and everything.

    I am looking for suggestions from those who have lost a loved one, child or not. Things you wish you had known. Things you are grateful someone told you about. Things you wish people had done for you.

    This type of pamphlet would then be aimed at hospitals, hospices, counselors, morticians, etc to give to bereaved people to help them through some of these processes.

    I know some of this stuff is out there. But the morticians have stuff that deals only with death and burial, a little about things like autopsies, etc. The hospitals have some things but seem to be aimed more at the grieving process.

    I want to talk about things like having to decide whether to do an autopsy, whether you should spend time with your loved one after death (especially in the case of infant or prenatal death), what sorts of mementos to make. The fact that you will need to chose clothing, burial/cremation, services. Or that you can chose to have someone else make those decisions or guide you through it.

    If you know of something out there already, please let me know. I would like to review it to see if my idea is still a good one. If something else does detail things, I'd like to get a copy and make sure that it is available to people.
    MissSeetonFan

  2. #2
    Registered User wanderlusting's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry for your loss I don't have advice for your pamphlet, but that sounds like a really good idea. I'm sure it'll help many people
    Wife to Air Force DH for 7 years.
    SAHM to twin boys, Samuel and David!

  3. #3
    Registered User SwirlyThing's Avatar
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    I'm sorry that you've had to go through this as well.

    I lost my 7 month old son 16 years ago. I'm trying to think of what might have helped me then, but it's been a LONG time.

    At first, when I read the post, I was thinking that this sort of thing might have made me feel really overwhelmed. I mean, you're presenting me with a big list of decisions that I need to make. Immediately after the death, that might not have gone over very well.

    However, now that I've thought about it for a while, I think that it would be a good thing if not presented at the wrong time. Maybe a couple of days later.

    I haven't really thought of much that should be in it, but one thing did come to mind. Include information about working with funeral homes. They really push you to spend a lot of money. People should know that you can supply your own coffin for burial, you can even make one. My son's grandfather made the coffin and his grandmother made the coffin liner and pillow for him.

    People who have children die should know to talk to the hospital's social worker about help with burial arrangements. Our hospital actually donated a burial plot... which we then traded at the funeral home for one that was near my parents.

    Maybe include that the family can go in and dress their loved one for burial if they want to... they don't have to let the funeral home do it.

    We actually transported our son from the funeral home to the church for the funeral, and then from the church to the cemetery ourselved. Small coffins do not need a hearse.

    I'm sure there are other things in dealing with the funeral home that could be included. People should at least know that they are not entirely at the mercy of the funeral home and their outrageous pricing.

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    I am so sorry..

    a death is overwhelming but the death of a child has to be worse
    I would work with a social worker on this project and a hospital maybe even a funeral home...

    It will be a blessing to very many people

    prayers

  5. #5
    Registered User FrabjousDay's Avatar
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    That's a lot to try to capture within the limitations of pamphlet, loss/grief are highly personal and culturally specific experiences. I would start by taking time to explore existing materials and resources to see what information "gap" could be filled. Many funeral homes, hospice organizations, and counselors maintain resource libraries.

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry for the loss of your child.

    I would start with talking to some of the people who helped you through your crisis. They may know what's lacking and also would know what's already out there for parents in similar situations. They would also have good suggestions for you.

    If there is a grief support group in your area, maybe you could ask them for suggestions. Groups are often confidential, but you may be able to do a written survey that could be anonymous and ask people how whatever their experience was could have been handled in a better way, and ask what they wish they had been told that they weren't.

    I think in situations like that, people are often told things verbally and they just don't retain it. IMO a brochure would be good because then they can review the information later when their minds are more clear.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  7. #7
    Registered User MissSeetonFan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I am trying to find out what is out there. I'm contacting my funeral home - it is run by relatives who let us do whatever we wanted, and I'm looking through all the stuff given to us by the hospital. That is actually why I thought I'd put this together. I don't remember there being something all encompassing.

    I think it is something that could also be broken up into different sections. Then, they could be given out based on what fit the circumstances and needs.

    I will keep working on things.
    MissSeetonFan

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    Registered User Rhiamon's Avatar
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    When my brother died at 9 I was six my mom started a Bereaved Families support group. She said it helped that she was able to help others. I don't know if they have these types of groups in the states if not you could always email one of the Canadian ones I am sure they would be willing to help you get information together.

    I used to have to make pamphlets when I was an office assistant. The big thing I found was to make sure contact information was several different places on the pamphlets.

    I think it is a great idea. I wish when I had lost my babies they would have given me something in the ER instead of just telling me your baby died or your baby died and you need a DNC.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SwirlyThing View Post
    I'm sorry that you've had to go through this as well.

    I lost my 7 month old son 16 years ago. I'm trying to think of what might have helped me then, but it's been a LONG time.

    At first, when I read the post, I was thinking that this sort of thing might have made me feel really overwhelmed. I mean, you're presenting me with a big list of decisions that I need to make. Immediately after the death, that might not have gone over very well.

    However, now that I've thought about it for a while, I think that it would be a good thing if not presented at the wrong time. Maybe a couple of days later.

    I haven't really thought of much that should be in it, but one thing did come to mind. Include information about working with funeral homes. They really push you to spend a lot of money. People should know that you can supply your own coffin for burial, you can even make one. My son's grandfather made the coffin and his grandmother made the coffin liner and pillow for him.

    People who have children die should know to talk to the hospital's social worker about help with burial arrangements. Our hospital actually donated a burial plot... which we then traded at the funeral home for one that was near my parents.

    Maybe include that the family can go in and dress their loved one for burial if they want to... they don't have to let the funeral home do it.

    We actually transported our son from the funeral home to the church for the funeral, and then from the church to the cemetery ourselved. Small coffins do not need a hearse.

    I'm sure there are other things in dealing with the funeral home that could be included. People should at least know that they are not entirely at the mercy of the funeral home and their outrageous pricing.
    I agree about how to deal with funeral homes and knowing what is available. My father died 4 years ago this month. Looking back, I can see how the funeral director influenced my and Mom's decisions. He would say things like "Your father was so well-known that you'll want this and that", and we didn't think to disagree or ask about cheaper options. A pamphlet even just listing places to contact for more information or on the laws in each state would be so helpful.

    I am sorry about your child and all the other losses mentioned.

  10. #10
    Registered User pinecone's Avatar
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    My heart hurts for you, I cannot fathom what you have been through.


    Quote Originally Posted by SwirlyThing View Post
    ...
    I haven't really thought of much that should be in it, but one thing did come to mind. Include information about working with funeral homes. They really push you to spend a lot of money. People should know that you can supply your own coffin for burial, you can even make one. My son's grandfather made the coffin and his grandmother made the coffin liner and pillow for him.....

    I'm sure there are other things in dealing with the funeral home that could be included. People should at least know that they are not entirely at the mercy of the funeral home and their outrageous pricing.
    There have been a few on here that have commented on the funeral homes. Please don't paint them all with the same brush. I have had experience with 5 firms and they were very compassionate and considerate giving several options. Like any occupation there are those that give the profession a bad name.

    piney

  11. #11
    Registered User AnneBoleynTudor's Avatar
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    I am so sorry about your loss. Losing a child is awful. I think you have a great idea. I lost my son in 1996 and I know what you mean.

    One of the things that really bothered me was what funeral homes try to get you to do. I understand that they run a business, but come-on. I kept it together, thank heavens. Limo service to the funeral home and back to my house was at the time $300.00 to go a mile and a half. I said no. I contacted a florist myself, it was cheaper. Things like this. He was cremated, but for a service we had to rent a casket that held a liner that he was in.

    Also a couple of my girls and their boyfriends took his clothes to the funeral home for me. They asked to see him. I'm glad they did, because they told a funeral director that if their mom, (me) saw him like this she would lose it. I'm glad they did that to spare me more hurt. I didn't know they did that until after everything was over.

    I chose to have both serious and funny things about my son during his service. The minister was a friend. Although it's an awful thing to go through, it helps to have something light. To this day people tell me that they thought it was a wonderful service because of that.

    I also chose to have the wake for 2 hours and the funeral right after. I remember how awful it is to stand for hours the night before and have to get up and go through it all over again the next day.

    There's also a support grouop that's pretty much all over the U.S. called Compassionate Friends. I went to a few meetings, but stopped going after a while. I was expecting it was to help you get on with life. The people that came were dwelling on their losses and it made me feel worse. I had my own grief and I was grieving for them too and it was just too much.

    There's a website Find A Grave that has helped me through some bad times. I've met several people on there that have stories similar to mine and we help one another, some are from all over the world. Usually when an obituary hits the newspapers they are entered on there. On this site you can leave little tokens on a person's memorial page. On my son's page I have pictures of him and he's gotten thousands of tokens. I guess my point is is that they are never forgotten. People can leave you messages and if you choose you can put on a profile. It is used for geneology so much. I've gone to several cemeteries to take pictures of grave sites if needed near my home. I have gone to look for headstones that are almost 300 years old in some cemeteries that aren't even used anymore. Even after all those years they are still remembered. I choose to do this. I wish the name was different because it sounds like it isn't respectful, but it is.

    I hope that this gives you some more ideas. Blessings to you and your family.

    AnneBoleynTudor

  12. #12
    Registered User freebs's Avatar
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    I do know that when my brother died my parents wouldnt have read anything. Everything they were given was put in a pile and later gone thru by someone other than themselves. But of course they were on the super hiway of death as they lost both of their mothers and their ougnest son all in 6 weeks. Nothing can prepare anyone for that kind of grief!

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