Remembering a Child Who Has Died

When a child dies, there are many more questions than answers. During this time of sometimes overwhelming grief, support from others provides a measure of comfort to bereaved parents and family members. While you can't take away the pain and loss, you can honor the memory of the child who has died in several ways that will show your concern.

  1. Light a Candle

    • The Compassionate Friends (TCF), an organization devoted to the support of parents who have lost a child, sponsors a yearly worldwide candle lighting ceremony. At 7 p.m. local time, you can unite with others across the globe to remember the deceased child, no matter the child's age. The group's website lists local services, which welcome those of any faith, for you to join with others. In 2010, TCF reported that 530 services participated nationally along with services in 15 other countries.

    Written Memories

    • Write a special poem to honor the child or use one such as "Prayer After the Death of a Child" (see Resources). You can type it up, print it out and frame it. You might choose to include it in a thoughtful card. Write a note from your heart about what the child meant to you. Avoid well-intentioned but trite phrases such as, "He's in a better place" or "God must have needed another angel." While you mean well, a simple, "I am sorry for your loss and I will be thinking of you" sincerely honors his memory.

    Make a Donation

    • Make a donation in memory of the child. If the child passed away because of illness, give to find a cure for leukemia or kidney failure or whatever the cause of death was. Check with a family member or close friend to confirm that the child's parents would appreciate your gesture. You also can donate to the parents' house of faith. You might want to plant a tree in the chidl's memory as another option.

    Create a Scrapbook

    • If you were especially close to the child, create a scrapbook to honor him. Find as many photos as you can and organize them into sections. If you have hundreds of photos, don't feel you need to include them all in the scrapbook, though. Make copies of any photos that you especially enjoy and give those to the child's parents. Write down your memories of the child and describe his special qualities. Ask other family members or friends to contribute their thoughts, as well.

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  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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