You may not be able to decorate or bake ClayLinks® prints onsite. That’s okay! It is more important that the print go home as soon after a loss as possible, the same day if it can. Don’t let baking stand in the way of sending families home with their loved ones’ prints. The experience of decorating and baking ClayLinks prints at home can become a healing ceremony for families.
When you present it this way, families see that you are providing the opportunity to honor their loved one in their own way. The benefits to you of making ClayLinks prints in your hospital or organization and sending them home unbaked are:
- The ability to send home prints the same day as the loss.
- No need to store ClayLinks prints in your hospital or business until they are picked up.
- Team members still get the chance to provide a meaningful keepsake to families.
- You can still involve families in the process of making the impression. This may make them more likely to be comfortable in decorating and baking the print at home.
- Families have something to do when they get home that is a healthy way to begin to process their grief. Or, if they need more time, they can wait up to four weeks to decorate and bake. Unlike air dry, there is no rush.
- It takes the pressure off you and your team members to decorate the print in a certain way, spell names correctly, etc.
A Healing Ceremony
Click here for a convenient handout for families. You can send this home with them to explain why you are sending their ClayLinks print home unbaked and undecorated. It walks families through our recommendations for how to make the at-home part of the process a healing ceremony.
For example, they have a chance to think about what names, dates, or other decorations they want included on their print. They can include their other children or other family members in the process. Even those who weren’t present to say goodbye. Then, while the print bakes and cools, we suggest that families can journal, light a candle in memory of their loved one, listen to comforting or meaningful music and gather sentimental items.
All you have to do is print the handout and send it home with the family along with their loved one’s ClayLinks print. To protect the unbaked print, simply put it back in the original resealable bag. Or, place it in a Take & Bake Container. Then, mark that the print needs to be baked. Both options have baking instructions and our company contact information should your clients need assistance.
You may also want to tell your clients to keep their print in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight until they are ready to decorate and bake. To avoid cracking, we recommend baking prints within 4 weeks of it being made.
Remember What is Important
The goal for families when they decorate their loved one’s print is not necessarily that it is designed well or looks professionally made. Instead, it is important that it is comforting to them as a linking object. Linking objects are a tangible reminder of someone who has died and have been found to be very helpful to those who are grieving.
ClayLinks prints are ready to touch and hold as soon as they are baked and cooled. Meaning, families can hold the physical reminder of their loved one’s hand or foot the same day they say goodbye. The most unique thing about ClayLinks prints is they are meant to be touched and held. So, send prints home (even unbaked) immediately after a loss. That way, you ensure families have the chance to have this comfort as soon as possible.
You Have Options to Simplify Your ClayLinks Process
All that said, if you have a system down where you can decorate and bake prints for your clients, that is wonderful. We know it is very appreciated! We just want you to know you have options if this part of the process is proving too time-consuming or stressful, rather than healing and fulfilling, for your team members. Instead of feeling you must use a no-bake product of lesser quality, just simplify your ClayLinks process.
Until next time,
Chief Growth Officer
World by the Tail, Inc.