No one wants to think about the end of life. Especially not when talking about our kids. There are a lot of decisions to be made: cremation or burial, church or funeral home, who should talk, what music, what types of flowers, plots, crematoriums, urns, caskets. The list goes on and on.
With Casey, we did our own version of pre-planning. We talked a lot during Casey’s life about what we wanted. We talked about our final wishes for not only her, but for ourselves as well.
We didn’t go into a lot of details; we didn’t pick the funeral home, flowers, etc. We just knew that we wanted for all of us to be cremated. The rest of the details we decided we would figure out as we went.
Casey passed away March 2016. We were told that she would never survive a single day, much less a year. The fact that we had nearly 10 years with her was such a gift. Knowing that any day could be our last helped us to make sure that we made every day count.
When Casey died, we could barely function.
Making a decision as big as cremation versus burial was something we could not have handled at that time. We were glad that we had already decided. All that we had to do was the little stuff and things all kind of just fell into place.
I know families that have chosen to bury their child and other families that have chosen cremation. This is a very personal decision that each family has to make for themselves. Some families have strong religious beliefs that will determine their choices.
There were a few major factors that helped us make this choice. We are young and there is a chance that we could relocate to another city or state. The idea of having Casey buried here and then us moving away never set well with me. All our families had always been buried, so we had to prep them a little before her service.
Another thing that weighed heavy with us was her body.
She had been through so much in her 10 years. There were countless times she was poked or cut open for one medical need or another. At the end, having her body poked or cut open in any way was too much for us. We wanted her to be at peace and to be left alone. We were able to send her favorite stuffed animal, blanket, and pillow with her to be cremated along with her body.
When we are away from home, we can take her urn with us if we want or need to.
There are a lot of advantages for burial as well. I urge you as a parent to think about what makes sense for you and your family.
If you expect to outlive your child, it is hard and something none of us wants to think about. It’s good to at least have some idea of what you want beforehand. I promise, if and when the time comes, the fewer major decisions you must make, the better.
Go to our (Bereavement page to be created) for more information.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.