IF A CHILD DIES OUT OF STATE, WHAT DO I DO?
One of the most difficult experiences a family can encounter is the loss of a child. As a Mother of two daughters, I can only imagine the emotional heartbreak a parent would experience after a loss. As a Managing Director, with 25+ years of experience, my purpose is to be a resource to anyone who might need assistance. I am always available by telephone or email.
The single, most important thing to remember is that the time remaining with your child is precious. You should spend every reasonable moment you have, reassuring and loving them. Appointing a relative or family friend to help gather information, can be helpful. The family can also ask for a Director to come to their home, hospital or Hospice to answer any questions they may have. Making funeral arrangements is a process. Expect to spend 2-3 hours if no previous arrangements have been made.
Parents may also choose to make the arrangements alone, without assistance from family and friends. This is normal. A lot of parents are doing what comes natural to them…. caring for their child. This can also be a part of their grieving and healing process. If a family knows their child will be seeking treatment in another state, pre-arranging services through a trusted funeral home in your home town, can be extremely beneficial. As a family, you can make decisions when you are able to think clearly and reasonably. Waiting until the death has occurred to begin the arrangement process can bring added emotional stress. This often has loved ones making decisions from the heart. Taking the time to pre-arrange will also help set expectations on “what to do” when the death occurs.
Often times, children battling disease and illness, will seek treatment in another state. If a child dies in another state, here are two things to consider:
* A funeral home in the state of death and a funeral home in your hometown (where the burial may take place) will need to be contacted. The funeral home in the state of death will coordinate transportation, securing a permit for shipping over state lines, file the death certificate and perform any preparation of the child. If the child is in a Hospital or Hospice, a Social Worker or Case Worker is helpful in assisting the family with a list of funeral home options in their community.
* If a family selects cremation for disposition, the funeral home in the state of death can perform the cremation and either ship the cremated remains via USPS, Priority Express with Return Receipt, to the receiving funeral home for memorialization in a cemetery or to the families’ home; or the family may carry the child’s remains on public transportation (air, train or bus) or in a personal vehicle. A funeral home can provide proper documentation for public transportation and help the family with a proper vessel for the cremated remains. *Air transportation will need a TSA approved container (urn receptacle) if the family will be traveling with the cremated remains.
Arrangements to have the child shipped by air, to their home state, can be pre-planned at a nominal cost through any Dignity Memorial location.
A Certificate of Death will be generated at the time of death. Information to have readily available is as follows:
- Decedents Full Legal Name
- Place of Birth (City, State, Foreign Country)
- Date of Birth
- Both Parents - Full Legal Names including the Mother’s Maiden Name
- Both Parents - Place of Birth (City, State, Foreign Country)
- Both Parents - Date of Birth
- Residence Address including the County
- Highest Level of Education Completed
- Decedent’s Race/Origin
- Social Security Number
YOU WILL NEED
Clothing will be needed to dress the child. Be mindful to include undergarments. Shoes are optional. You may place anything that is meaningful with them…….a favorite stuffed toy, blanket, toys, rattle, photos, cards, letters, candy, etc. If there are siblings, encourage them to color a picture and send with their brother/sister. This allows young siblings to feel they are part of the arrangement process.
Movies created from photographs are very popular and can be shared with family and friends around the world on the funeral home’s web page. The Funeral Director may ask you to bring several photographs so that a movie can be created. Gathering photos can be time consuming. Asking for assistance from extended family members and friends may be helpful.
If you would like to write and obituary or biography, the Funeral Director can assist you. You may also ask for a template if this is something you would like to create with your family members. An obituary can be placed in any newspaper when submitted by the funeral home. It is not mandatory. This is an option for a family. Most funeral homes have websites where this information can be shared.
A LIFE CELEBRATED
Make the service personal. What did your child enjoy…… a favorite cartoon figure, Super Hero, trucks, tractors, sports, unicorns, puppies, kitties, dinosaurs, princess, popcorn and candy, a favorite color…………any of these “favorites” can be used to make their service as unique and special as they were. Make their service personal so it reflects their personality. Favorite foods can be selected for a catered reception before or following the service or at visitation.