Update: Help with Funeral Costs
by Kara L.C. Jones

Last year, Katie (Kota Loss Co-editor) and I ran a couple articles about how bereaved families could find help with funeral costs. These costs are often unexpected and difficult to deal with in the midst of the Grief Beast. So we wanted you to know that there was help out there.

Unfortunately, I recently had a woman contact me who had seen our articles from last year, but she had found that none of what we listed would help her. Either the resource was no longer in existence or the resources we listed were already out of financial grant monies for the year! Very sad! And I did some scrambling to try and find some updated options.

The following are what I found -- this is April 2004 -- and I hope they are helpful. But if you are coming across this article at some point in the future and none of this information helps, please be in touch with us. We'll do the best we can, at any time, to try and help families get the support they need at this most crazy grief time.

Ever Life Memorials - they have low cost headstones and may be a good option for families who can cover some of the costs involved.

One Bright Star Foundation - Their site says they are "a non-profit organization offering financial and counseling support for families who have experienced the death of a child". I found out about them because they were recently able to offer a $500 grant to a family in need here in our area.

The TEARS Foundation - This is an outreach in the South Western Washington - Tacoma area. I've been communicating with Sarah Slack who is the President of the Foundation. They are doing so much work to keep their funding available and to develop TEARS to be doing more and more outreach. I recently got this update from her:

I wanted to let you know that a lot has happened since I last contacted you. Through our fundraising, we were able to pay the $500 filing fee to file to become a 501(c)3 organization with the government and we were approved in Sept. 2003.

We have continued to fundraise and we were able to help our first family in Nov. 2003 to pay for part of their baby's funeral expenses. We also have a website up and going (although it still needs some work and changes, which are "in process"). We are at www.thetearsfoundation.org .

We are now gearing up for our fundraising for this new year, and our first fundraiser is a raffle in which the winner will get to be the Mariners guest groundskeeper, along with receiving '2' 100 level seats for friends or family to watch them. We are selling the tickets for $1 a piece and we are hoping to raise $5,000 with this fundraiser. Right now we are in a position that nearly ALL the money we raise goes directly to families to pay for their precious baby's funeral expenses. We only have minor operating expenses such a a PO Box to maintain. So, I am excited to continue on and be able to help newly bereaved families in our area.

Sarah Slack- President

Another very interesting thing I found online was actually a resource in England. They apparently have help for families available through their Department of Social Security!! I found it so interesting that a government would actually acknowledge child death AND the resulting complications that come up for bereaved families. Somehow seemed that they are about five million light years ahead of us! I could be wrong about how it all works, but the information I found is at:

And last, if nothing else works, try contacting your local Hospice!! They are well appraised of local supports for families when a loved one is dying and maybe be able to help you. In Seattle you can call 1-888-782-4445 to reach the Pediatric Hospice program called Safe Crossings: when a child dies. If they can't help directly, I'm sure they would have some ideas about other local options.

Don't give up trying. Grief, by itself, is overwhelming. But if you are also facing some financial concerns on top of it, I know how awful it can be. So reach out. Ask for help. It is okay to need and get help! You are not alone.


About the Author
Kara is a freedom fighting guerrilla artist who has recently taken to henna as a solace and form of expression. Check out her new site at: HennaHealing.com

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