Surrey Family Cementery

How to talk to children about death

One of the most challenging parts about losing a loved one is helping children deal with the loss. It is hard enough as it is to tell friends and family, but children are a different matter altogether. It is a sensitive topic, and it can be tricky trying to navigate what details to say to them and how to explain it to them. Here are some things you should and should not do when your children are mourning the loss of a loved one.

What you should do

Cry together – It is a healthy way to release intense emotions. Crying is a natural part of the grieving process so do not feel as though you have to put on a stoic exterior or their sake. It can be helpful for both you and your children to heal together.


Be open – If you have lost someone close to you who was not close to your children, be honest about how you are feeling. Letting them know why you are emotional can help them understand the grieving process better. Children also tend to mirror their parents but be open with them about what you are going through can help them make sense of what is going on. Do not hide your tears and leave them wondering.


Make sure they understand – For especially young children, it can be challenging to grasp something as permanent as death. Using that word might be difficult for you to say to them but it is vital that they know what happened. Telling them instead that the person went to sleep will leave your children feeling confused and unaware of the situation entirely. Explain to them what death is so that they are clear about what happened.


Be ready for their reaction – If this is your child’s first loss, anticipate any type of response. Everyone reacts differently to trauma no matter how old they are. Let your children deal with it their own way and give them time to process this loss.


Prepare them for the funeral service – Answer any questions your children may have about the burial or cremation service. If there is a viewing planned, prepare them beforehand, so they are not shocked. Discuss funeral etiquette and details about the plan for the day so that they are not caught off guard.

What you should not do

Hide your emotions – Keeping a strong front may seem like the right thing to do in this situation, but it could hinder your children’s’ ability to grieve fully. It is crucial for your children to see you get emotional so that they know you can relate to how they are feeling.


Do not be afraid to say, “I don’t know” – Your children will likely have many questions about death – many of which you cannot give an answer for. It is okay to tell them that in this new chapter of your lives there will be things that you will need to figure out with them.


Be afraid to laugh – Feel free to share stories that you and your children can enjoy and laugh about together. It can be therapeutic to focus on the good times you had as a family with your loved one rather than on the feeling of losing them.


Change your routine – Be as consistent in your daily routine as you can be for your children. In this time of uncertainty, they need consistency and be able to see that life can still go on.


Set a timeline to grieve – Everyone deals with loss differently and in their own time. There is no correct length of time to grieve. Just because they start to ac alright again sooner or later than you does not mean they care more or less than you. Remember that everyone grieves their own way.


Losing someone and dealing with grief is never easy for anyone affected. Be a point of support for your children and let them be there to support you as well. Coping with the loss of a loved one requires patience, understanding, and time. Heritage Gardens Cemetery is here for you and your children. Reach out if you need advice or assistance during this challenging time.


Family Cemetery

How to Save Historic Cemeteries

Preservation of historic cemeteries tends to be a grassroots effort, which is why it is so important for community members to get involved. Neglected cemeteries are unsafe but just having people visit for a stroll, tour, or presentation makes it a safer space and makes them aware of the community’s past. These burial plots can be found along roads, in someone’s backyard, or connected to an old church. They end up unmaintained when the occupants’ relatives pass away as well. But, these cemeteries are an essential part of history, and its gravestones tell the stories of people who helped shaped the town or city into what it is today.

These are a few things people can do for free to save historic cemeteries:


Go for a walk with your kids to these outdoor museums and learn about local history, connect names with influential people in town, or look at the symbols on gravestones. There is no need to fear a cemetery as it contains just as much history and knowledge as a conventional museum.

Help out

You can volunteer your time to support clean up efforts. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Take pictures to help keep documentation
  • Clear away plants that cover the stone by gently slipping them near the base
  • Use soft brushes
  • Start at the bottom of the stone and work your way up with cleaner
  • Rinse thoroughly


  • Apply shaving cream. People have used this to make the letters stand out, but the stone absorbs it allowing the cream to eat away at the marker
  • Put flour on the stone either. People consider this a more natural way to make letters stand out, but it can help plants and moss grow, causing the roots to dig into the stone and break it down
  • Use bleach. It may make the stone look bright at first, but over time it will eat away at the stone and leave an orange tint
  • Use other household cleaners. Buy products specifically designed to preserve headstones
  • Scrub with a brush that is harder than the stone as it will leave scratches
  • Use sealers. This stone is porous, and even a sealer can cause it to crack and crumble over time.

Contact local organizations

Find out if there are any cemetery preservation efforts already in place in your area. If there is no effort in place, ask your local historical or genealogical society for help documenting gravestones.

Schedule events

Host a small tour to draw attention to the significance of the local history to more community members. You could also start a website to attract people who care about the maintenance of the cemetery. Once there is more awareness of the need for people to get involved, it will be easier to organize cleanup days.

Record locations

It is vital to document cemetery locations and not just the gravestones in it. You cannot protect a cemetery if you don’t know it exists or where it is, so bringing awareness at local and state levels will give it a better chance of survival.