We have come across an excellent booklet called, “Answers to a Child’s Questions about Death”. This booklet has illustrations with questions and answers in a language most youngsters can understand. The concepts covered are well within most children’s grasp.
Here are examples of some of the questions. Why do people die? Does death hurt? Is death like sleeping? Where do dead people go? Why are people buried when they die? It helps if children talk about what they are feeling and this book helps them feel okay about asking questions.
Although this booklet incorporates basic Judeo-Christian concepts, it does not reflect a specific religious point of view. You might consider introducing this book to your child when an acquaintance, but not someone close, dies. Then, in the future, if someone close does die, your child may feel more comfortable talking about the loss. Feel free to pick up a copy.
When a child loses a parent, the child naturally worries about the family, how will they manage? Will everything change? What is going to happen to them? The child needs constant reassurance that the family will be all right.
When a parent dies, children are often worried about the surviving parent, afraid that he or she might also die. It is important to be predictable, be on time and be there when your child expects you. Don’t give your child a reason to worry about you. A child may hide his feelings because he doesn’t want to worry you. Even if your child seems okay, keep reminding him that the family is going to be all right.
As time passes, the apprehension will diminish and your child will regain some of the sense of security that was enjoyed before the death of a parent. Reassure your child that he will always be taken care of and will always be loved no matter what.
When we share children’s grief and try to help them, it is important to be aware that their individual needs may differ greatly. What is beneficial and comforting for one child does not necessarily fulfill the needs of another. With that in mind, we offer some suggestions.
Looking at pictures of the child and the deceased could be used to stimulate conversations and get feelings out in the open. You might play a game called “Remember When”, a mild contest of memories in which you try to remember meaningful events the family had experienced. One memory will usually lead to another. Before you know it you and your child might be smiling about some of the loving and funny moments from the past.
Share the sympathy cards with the child. Looking through the beautiful cards and reading the sentiments will be a reminder that friends were thinking about the family and were sorry for your loss.
Everyone reacts differently in his or her ability to understand and accept the fact of death and children are certainly no exception.
Experts think it wise to include children in the activities and preparations for a funeral when the death is a member of the immediate family and if you think the child is old enough to understand. As with adults, children benefit by being involved in the planning.
Let the child know it is all right and normal to cry and feel sad and even be angry. Gently encourage the child to talk about what has happened. Questions should be answered with honesty and loving concern. Be an “unconditional listener”. Listen to questions and thoughts without shock, anger, disapproval or criticism. Let him know he can confide in you without risk. Let the child know there isn’t any question that is off limits or silly or stupid and you will answer all questions as best you can.
Many funeral homes advertise they offer crematory service and they do. The difference between our crematory service and theirs is that we operate our own crematory that is on our premises and they depend upon out of town crematories.
Many of you know we installed a state of the art crematory a few years ago. Our crematory is kind to the environment and has virtually no emissions.
The families we serve like the idea that we do not have to transport their loved one out of town for cremation and that we have control of the final arrangements — from start to finish. Our funeral directors are all certified to cremate and every aspect of the cremation process is done in a precise manner. We have a viewing room to give families the opportunity to see the beginning of the process if they choose. Whether you are present or not, our cremations are always done with dignity and respect.
How many times have you heard that funerals are the third most expensive purchase one will make in a lifetime? That simply is not true. The reality is that the average cost of a funeral is far less than weddings, cars, RV’s or even teeth implants. And many of these purchases are made more than once, even weddings. The average wedding cost is $30,000. The average cost of a full funeral with a vault is less than half of that.
Funerals have many of the same elements as weddings. They are both celebrations with flowers, food and special clothing. Yet, in many ways, planning a funeral is more involved than planning a wedding and the funeral directors do it all in two or three days.
A funeral is a remarkable value when you consider the services that come with it. A professional team and a beautiful facility are available at moment’s notice to help you create a memorable celebration of life.
Many things have changed since my grandfather, Louis Dengel, came to Ottawa in 1944. He and Joe Towner owned a funeral home on Walnut Street. Three years later he bought our present funeral home. In the early days Louie’s office consisted of a desk in an alcove and a file cabinet. Even in the 70’s and early 80’s the staff was small. It consisted of Mom and Dad, a full-time embalmer and occasional part-time help.
Today, our facilities have almost doubled in size. A few years ago we installed a state of the art crematory. Our staff, including myself, includes three embalmer-funeral directors, a secretary, an employee who handles cemetery set-ups and monuments, a pre-need counselor and five part time employees.
Even though we have grown and changed over the years, there is one thing that will not change and that is our pledge to always set the standard for the very best in funeral service.