Can I Give My Child Something to Remember a Lost Loved One?Kenny Scott | Sep 29, 2016 | Child bereavement
Are you considering giving your child something to help remember a loved one after they die?
Perhaps you’re thinking about giving them a special memento, family heirloom, personal effect or piece of jewellery to remember a loved one in their life – but are worried they might be too young.
Or maybe you’re feeling unsure of what is appropriate to give them now, and which items to keep for when they’re older – if anything.
As a children’s bereavement counsellor, I know how important it is for a child to have something to hold onto from a loved one, so I’m going to give you some ideas and advice below.
Is it a good idea for my child to have something now?
Yes, it can be incredibly comforting to have something special and personal to hold onto that reminds them of the loved one they’ve lost. This can be anything from a jumper or teddy bear, to a piece of jewellery or family heirloom that symbolises something special to the child.
After my dad died, my mum gave me the money out of my dad’s wallet to go and buy a ring; I still remember going to get it from the shop, and I still treasure it to this day.
A child I worked with used to sleep with his mum’s red dressing gown because it smelled like her, while another boy had his dad’s aftershave and would sometimes wear it to smell the same as his dad – it’s such a personal thing, and can vary from child to child.
When giving the item to your child, explain that it will help to remember the family member or friend, and the nice times they spent together. Sometimes after a death there’s lots of thoughts about them being ill, or the funeral etc. so it’s nice to remember the times they shared before that.
What can I give my child to remember a loved one?
Again, this is an incredibly unique choice, and will depend on what the child is interested in, how old they are, and the items you have access to. Items of clothing can be particularly comforting, such as a special football shirt, jumper, or item of clothing the loved one wore often.
If possible, a special item that is particularly personal to the child and reminds them of the bond they shared with the loved one is ideal – perhaps a special fishing rod, photo album, or a memento from that one trip they went on a couple of years ago.
Sometimes it’s nice to buy two identical teddies before the funeral and have one placed in the coffin, and the child keeps one. Other things can be given in time; days, weeks or months after the funeral, depending on the nature of them.
Cremation glass jewellery is also growing in popularity, and may be suitable for older children – or it could be kept safe until your child is old enough to wear it. Or if your loved one was buried, perhaps a piece of jewellery such as a silver or gold locket with their photo inside, or special ring.
My child is too young – can I keep it safe for them?
If your child is too young for a particular item or heirloom, it’s a good idea to show them the item now, explain to your child that it belongs to them – and its value – and tell them that you are keeping it safe for them until they are older.
That way they may even ask to see it from time to time, and know it’s there waiting for them. However, it’s also important that they can have something else in the meantime, to comfort them – like I mentioned above, an item of clothing or teddy bear are good choices for younger children.
I hope that this blog post has given you some guidance and ideas for when it comes to giving your child something special to hold onto from a loved one after they die. It’s important they have something personal to comfort them in this difficult time and in the future.
If you’re looking for ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes, you’re welcome to read our ebook: ‘6 Things You Can Do With Your Loved One’s Ashes’.