Teaching Children about Death

When a loved one dies, it can be very difficult to process, even for adults. Many parents find it especially hard to talk to their children about death. It’s uncomfortable and you might not even know where to start, but death is a natural part of life’s journey — and if you explain it to children simply and with sensitivity, you can help them process the information in a healthy way.

First, don’t assume your child doesn’t already know about death. Even before they experience the death of a beloved relative or cherished pet, they see dead bugs, dead flowers and other indications that living things don’t last forever. Fairy tales touch on death, as well. Children have a wonderful natural curiosity that leads them to be inquisitive about the world around them, and it’s important to tell them the truth so that they don’t have misconceptions that may prove damaging.

When you talk to a child about death, use simple language.

  • Don’t speak in euphemisms, which can lead to confusion. Saying someone “has gone away” or “fallen asleep” may seem like a good way to soften the blow, but in fact, it can cause children to become anxious. They might worry when a parent goes on a business trip that he or she will not return, or they might fear that they’ll fall asleep themselves and never awaken.
  • Explain death simply. Tell the child that when someone dies, the body stops working. The person’s heart stops beating, and he or she no longer breathes. Explain that death is irreversible and that the person is no longer in the body.
  • Listen to the child, taking cues as to readiness and answering questions . Don’t go into great detail or over-explain. It’s better to answer questions as they are asked rather than overload the child with information that’s difficult to process.
  • Consider reading an age-appropriate book about death. The right book can be a valuable tool for a difficult conversation. Look for books that explain death simply, in terms the child can readily understand.

At Evergreen Cemetery and Mortuary, we provide support to families even after the funeral is over. If you’ve lost a loved one, our grief support team can help you find resources to help you and your family heal. Call us at (520) 399-6652 to learn more.

When a First Responder Dies

First responders are brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the service of our communities. When they lose their lives, we as a community grieve along with their loved ones, respecting and appreciating their sacrifice. It’s only fitting that they should be honored with a meaningful memorial service.

  • First responder funerals are similar to those of veterans. Although there are rituals unique to the person’s particular area of service, some traditions remain the same.
  • A flag-draped casket is an important honor. Just as members of the military are honored for service to their country, firefighters and police who have died in the line of duty are also entitled to a flag-draped casket.
  • The presence of an honor guard is another tradition shared with military funerals. The honor guard is involved in many aspects of the funeral. Duties include casket watch, pallbearers, and color guard. A designated member of the honor guard escorts the family into the service before assuming the duties of the ceremony.
  • A ceremonial volley may be fired if it’s deemed appropriate . If the family feels that the sound of gunfire would be too traumatic, a 21-bell ceremony is another option. For firefighters, it’s traditional to toll a bell three times.
  • At the end of the service, the flag is treated with special care and respect. It’s taken from the casket and folded carefully into the traditional triangle fold, then presented to the family.

Law enforcement funerals are heavily endowed with symbolism and meaning. A police escort accompanies the mourners to the cemetery, and sometimes officers from around the country come to pay their respects. Additionally, blue-tinted flowers are sometimes placed in a vase beside the casket as a tribute to the Thin Blue Line a phrase that refers to law enforcement as a barrier between order and anarchy .

Funerals for first responders honor the hero who has lost his or her life, but they are also a time of great respect for the person’s family. The family’s wishes are taken into account first, even ahead of longstanding traditions. During this time of grief and mourning, the community of first responders comes together to support the family and help its members begin to heal.

First responder funerals are meaningful and special, but every person deserves a funeral that honors the life that was lived. At Evergreen Cemetery and Mortuary, we understand the importance of a life-honoring memorial that respects the legacy of the person who has died and helps friends and family members begin to heal. Call (520) 399-6652 today to learn how we can help you honor your loved one.

Remembering on Special Days

The loss of a loved one can be extremely painful, especially if you were very close. Sometimes holidays and other special days can deepen the pain of that loss. Birthdays, anniversaries and any other days that were significant to you and your loved one can be difficult. How can you manage the pain and promote healing?

Not only can you manage your own pain, you can turn that pain into something positive by doing something to mark the occasion and acknowledge your grief. There are many different options:

  • Pamper yourself. A day that you used to spend creating happy memories with a person you cared about is a perfect day for treating yourself well. Whether it’s a day at the spa or just some time with the phone off and reading a book in the bath, some sort of self-care can remind you of the care your loved one had for you.

  • Cook the person’s favorite meal. When you do something you used to do for your loved one, you’re honoring the memory and reminding yourself of happy times.
  • Plant a tree or a memory garden. A growing plant is a beautiful way to memorialize a loved one. It also provides a tangible space where you can reflect and remember.
  • Go through photos and remember the good times. You might just look at them and think about your history together or you might do something more proactive, such as making a scrapbook or digital slideshow. You might also consider inviting a friend or family member to go through the photos with you so you can share this meaningful time.
  • Light a candle in honor of your loved one . Sometimes, a little light can be a healing force. If you make a point to light a candle every year on the anniversary of a special date, the ritual can be comforting.

Sometimes the best way to alleviate pain is to focus outwardly, thinking of others. You may be able to find ways to honor your loved one by reaching out to others, and you can use your experience of mourning to help others work through their grief.

  • Donate to charity in your loved one’s name . Did the person have strong feelings about a particular cause? By donating to a meaningful charity, you’ll be furthering your loved one’s legacy.
  • Spend the day volunteering for a worthy cause. Work at a food pantry, read to children at a local library, run a 5k for charity or find another way to put your values into action. It feels good to give back, and you’ll be helping others in a concrete way.
  • Reach out to someone else who is grieving. Whether it’s through a support group, a ministry or a mentor program, you can find ways to use your experience to help someone else.

At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we know the importance of remembering. We can help you plan a meaningful service to honor the life your loved one lived, and we have grief support services to help you work through your own pain. Call (520) 399-6652 to learn more about all the ways we provide support, comfort, and care.