Planning a funeral is difficult enough, but when the deceased is a teenager, it can be immeasurably harder. How can you plan a funeral or memorial that meets the needs of the family as well as the teen's friends? Here are a few tips to help know what to do... and what not to do.
Young friends may find comfort in knowing that parents and family members understand and respect their feelings about the loss. Try to be a listening ear to assure them that what they feel is normal and that crying is okay.
While they may appreciate some comradery, teens may not want to share their grief in the same way or in the same space as most adults and other guests. If possible, arrange for a separate room where the deceased friends can gather and share their own thoughts and feelings away from prying eyes if they wish.
Reflect Their Friend
Teenagers who attend a traditional service may not see it as something that reflects and honors their friend, but rather something more fitting for parents and adults. To help them feel the presence of their friend, try to find ways to incorporate things that the young person would have liked, such as sports, music, hobbies or other interests. Ask his or her friends for help finding ways to make the memorial service personal, then weave those unique aspects into a traditional service if you are having one.
Not all those who grieve need to express their feelings in a public setting, but young people may benefit from the opportunity. Give them a chance to share experiences and recollections of the person who passed away, read a favorite poem, play a song or share how that person affected their lives personally.
Finally, try to find a few special tokens of the deceased teenager to give to his or her friends as a remembrance. Photos, yearbooks, mementos from shared activities, posters, art or music collections are the types of things that you may be able to offer to friends to help them in the future. While such objects may not have much value to you, they can be invaluable to a grieving friend.
Tailoring a funeral to the interests of young mourners can be difficult, so ask for their help if you don't know quite what to do. Being involved in honoring their friend might be just what they need to say goodbye... and what you need to know how much that person touched the lives of others. For more information, contact a place like Holmes Funeral Home.