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Helping Children Remember Loved Ones Who Have Died

As an adult, when a friend or family member dies, we can draw on years – sometimes decades – of shared experiences, stories, and memories. But how can we make sure the children in our lives remember that person as well? How can we help a loved one’s legacy live on in the mind and heart of a child who doesn’t have a deep well of time together to draw from?

Our team at Woodlawn Cemetery has experience both personally and professionally when it comes to commemorating important relationships. We’re here to help Bronx families tell their loved one’s stories and help those memories continue. Consider these ideas to help children remember that special person long into the future.

  1. Plan a gathering on the loved one’s birthday or the anniversary of the death. Gather to look through photos, watch videos featuring the friend or family member who died, and share favorite stories.
  2. Visit your loved one’s final resting place as a ritual of remembrance and an opportunity to talk about what made them special.
  3. Create a memory book that includes photos and accompanying stories, favorite quotes, and funny or poignant sayings your loved one was known for.
  4. Frame a hand-written item such as a letter, a recipe, or even a signature. You might be surprised how much comfort can come from seeing a loved one’s handwriting and how many stories will be brought to mind.
  5. Reimagine an article of clothing. A loved one’s well-worn plaid shirt could be made into a pillow to give to a child as a gift. Ties could be incorporated into a quilt. Pieces of fabric from a favorite sweater or pair of jeans can be transformed into a teddy bear.
  6. Talk about the loved one’s favorite songs and create a playlist to enjoy for years to come.
  7. Repurpose jewelry into a child-size necklace or charm.
  8. Jot down your loved one’s favorite foods or meals and prepare or enjoy them together.
  9. Help your child select an item that belonged to the person who died, then keep it in a special place like a treasure box.

In our experience here at Woodlawn, and in talking with the many families we meet within New York City every day, spending extra time with a child to talk about a loved one who died can make all the difference. Death is confusing for children and brings about a complicated mix of emotions. Encouraging them to express their feelings and talk about the person who died will help in developing healthy coping skills. 

If you have lost a loved one, our Family Service Associates are here to help and guide you in making decisions to create a beautiful memorial service and burial. Reach out to us anytime knowing we are committed to excellent family service. We are here to support you any way we can.

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