It's difficult to figure out how to approach death and related topics with a child. You want them to understand what's happening, but you don't want them to feel frightened. Cremation is one such subject that, if not handled properly, could cause a child undue alarm. To help you communicate the truth of the topic without causing unnecessary trauma, Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home of East Haven, CT, offers some suggestions below for discussing cremation with a child.
How Do You Explain Cremation to a Child?
Keep It Simple
Don't try to get overly technical and stay away from detail. Keep the explanation simple and, above all, stay calm during the conversation. Your child may ask additional questions—many children do—so be prepared and don't let them lure you into more graphic responses.
Avoid Triggering Language
The cremation process involves several concepts that children may find unsettling, so be careful what words you choose. Avoid terms that might trigger upset or alarm, such as "burning," and "fire.” Instead, say something like, "Grandma's body is put into a hot room until it turns into ashes, which they’ll put in an urn that we can take with us.”
Your attitude will help determine your child's reaction to the discussion, so stay positive. Accentuate the fact that death is a natural process and cremation simply helps nature take its course. If you plan to scatter the ashes, emphasize that the remains will help plants grow and contribute to the cycle of life. Help the child understand that grieving is also natural.
Talk About Your Spiritual Beliefs
If your family follows a religious tradition, share your beliefs with the child. This is an ideal time to explain how your faith helps you deal with adversity and sadness. You should also explain the meaning of the funerary rituals of your religion.
If someone you love has passed away, contact Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home to help you through this difficult time. For over 67 years, they’ve offered cremations, memorials, and traditional funeral services for people throughout East Haven, New Haven, Branford, and North Brandford. They'll even help you assemble the information needed to compose a eulogy and obituary. Visit their website for location information, or call (203) 467-2789 to make arrangements.