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Dierdre Jarrett

I enjoyed the creative ideas presented in the article, especially the honoring of the stump!  The idea of a swing at a funeral home as a safe escape is a wonderful thought. When my father died my nephew, who was 12 at the time, had to leave during the viewing because he actually got nauseated seeing my dad in the coffin. How nice it would have been to sit close by in a swing…  I often tell adults when a patient dies that they are the models for the children around them of how to grieve, it is important that children see us cry and that we can help them create a ritual that is meaningful. My father did that for me when my grandfather died. I was 8 years old and my grandfather was actually laid out for viewing in his home. (I grew up in rural Ohio) I went outside and picked wild flowers for him because the house was full of flower arrangements. My father found a vase and then placed them in the casket with my grandfather. It meant so much to me. Talk about making a ritual meaningful!  When my mom was dying last year I encouraged my daughter to travel to see her to say goodbye. She took her flute so she could play for her.  Her grandmother always went to her concerts and football games and I was touched by her thinking of this last ritual of sharing together.  I do think ritual is important for children as a way to process, grieve, and cope with loss.