After the Autopsy
Hospital, Coronial Services and funeral services staff understand your need to spend time with your child. They understand that it can be very important to you to see and hold your child and to involve brothers and sisters and other family members. Spending time with your child, prior to the funeral, might take place at the Funeral Home, at your house or at a place of your choice. Ask a Funeral Director to make the necessary arrangements.
“We had the chance to spend some time with Sam at the funeral place before the cremation. We both brought a letter to him to cremate with him and a lock of our own hair to place in each hand. He also had his special toy with him in the end.”
Don’t forget, you have choices every step of the way
“They said we could see her when they took her back to the Funeral Parlour.”
“When our daughter got back to the Funeral Parlour she was dressed in her pyjamas. When we undressed her, to change her into her school uniform, that was a little bit of a shock too, seeing her scars. But they did it well…if you can do an autopsy well.”
“The children held him at the funeral parlour – they all said this was a very special, important time.”
You might like to use this time with your child to take photographs and create other memories. You may also wish to give your other children, family and friends the opportunity to spend some time with your baby or young child before the funeral or memorial service.
“My regret is that the Funeral Director asked us if we wanted to take Sian home before the funeral and we said ‘No’, and that is a huge regret…..a huge, huge regret that we didn’t bring her home for a while and put her in her bed in her room. I said ‘no’ because I thought if we bring her home I won’t want to give her back again.”
“It’s a cultural thing, like a wake, bringing the person back to the house. That’s never really been part of anything I would do.”
“We really wanted to see her again and we did get the chance to get a private moment with her before she was cremated. Thankfully we did that. It’s very, very important.”
“We were able to have Iris home in the days leading up to her farewell. Having her home brought a strange sense of peace to us all, and we were each able to say goodbye in the way we needed to. We filled her coffin with gifts for her journey: her favourite bear, some crayons and paper, her favourite CD, photos, letters and her birthday present.”
“I remember going to the florist and picking out the flowers for Sian’s casket for the church…..As you walk into the florist, there is a computer screen and it plays photos of weddings and I remember looking at it and thinking (cries) ‘I am never going to be able to stand here with Sian and talk about her wedding flowers’, so I was determined that she would have the best! They were amazing, they looked beautiful. And (laughs) they weren’t cheap! I remember Mark saying that to me when I told him how much, but, you know what, these are Sian’s flowers. We will never pay for her wedding flowers, this is it, this is her very special occasion and I want it to be the best.”
This article was prepared using extracts from Your Child has Died: Some Answers To Your Questions.1 The full text is available online or contact Red Nose Grief and Loss Services on 1300 308 307 for a printed version.
Last reviewed: 18/1/19
- Same, D. & Bereaved Parents & Red Nose Grief and Loss Services. (2016). Your Child has Died: Some Answers To Your Questions: A Booklet for Bereaved Parents whose Young Child has Died Suddenly and Unexpectedly. Malvern, Vic.: Red Nose Grief and Loss Services.