Utilizing Critical Thinking Skills During a Crisis:
Insights from a Bereaved Parent's Point of View

by Katie D. Smith, Co-Editor

"Change is an emotional issue, not an intellectual one."

This is a statement presented in a current class by my facilitator.  I disagree.  I believe change equally hits emotional and intellectual aspects of decision making.  When someone is facing change in his or her life, yes, it will be emotional; however, most people will also look at the entire situation to intellectually come to a decision that will help them with the change regardless of emotions. Let me share a particular example to illustrate my point:

There are events in life that are inevitable for change where we have no control to prevent them from happening such as death.  When I lost my Son, I was faced with numerous decisions.  It was a very emotional time for me.  I was struggling with my grief, and I had to make difficult yet level-headed decisions on my own without much help from others. 

Planning a funeral is not an easy decision making process.  You have the funeral director trying to make a sale and profit from your loss, while you are sitting there trying to decide if cremation or casket is the best option for burial.  I didn't know many of my options and I researched it with little time to spare.  

I opted to have my Son cremated to keep his ashes with me until my own death.  However, I also wanted the opportunity to say goodbye to my Son during the funeral before his cremation.  The funeral home wanted me to purchase a casket for the funeral services and have him cremated in that. At the time, they told me that was my only option. I disagreed and did some research.  It is not mandatory to purchase a casket for a funeral and/or cremation for a baby. A casket is a rather costly item let alone the expenses that come with the loss of a baby. I was on a limited budget at the time; you can't get life insurance on a baby that was stillborn. All the costs of this experience were totally out of pocket expenses.  

Having a funeral for my Son seemed so unnatural....babies shouldn't die, but they do.  It was difficult enough to know I will have to continue life without Charles.  I did not want my final memories of him being in a casket.  So, my Pastor gave me an antique wooden doll's cradle donated by the church for Charles to rest in during the funeral. I was able to create some beautiful memories with my Son by having a pleasant atmosphere.  We took photos and I was able to hold Charles. It was very easy emotionally and physically to take him in and out of a cradle rather then a casket.  

Facing the loss of my first child forced me into my life being changed forever.  I have had to make many more decisions since that first week of my loss regarding my journey with bereavement.  I make these decisions based on my love for Charles; however, I also use my intelligence, common sense and critical thinking to come to a reasonable solution. 

Editor's note about the author:
Katie is currently working full time to make the ends meet, full time on her mission as a bereavement advocate, and going to school! We are so grateful for her time and input here at KotaPress!    

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