I am sharing my experience so it can help or reassure anyone else should something similar happen.
My mother died recently. Her death was unexpected, but not altogether surprising, as she was 88 and had been in declining health. My son was underway, and of course we did not know when they would be back. Although we knew that his return for the funeral was somewhere between highly unlikely and utterly impossible, nor would we want to detract from training and mission, we decided it was best to send a message so the Command could notify him appropriately. So I looked up the Red Cross and sent a notification request online through the Red Cross Emergency Communication Service. There is a checkbox whether the service member's presence is requested, and we selected "No" for that, and included a very brief note for our son about the particulars.
The next day, we received a brief email from our son that he had received the notification and expressing condolences. (He said it didn't seem quite real. My sentiments exactly.) A couple days later, the boat surfaced "at point X off Island Y" and through some technological magic he was able to call and talk to us at some length. He also called his grandfather, and his brother. He said they had pulled him off watch to notify him, which surprised me, as it is completely at their discretion and it could have waited. But I am very grateful for the sensitivity with which they handled this, and the importance that the Navy puts on family.
I was also contacted by a Red Cross volunteer, a very nice Army spouse and mom who called to see if there was anything else we needed.
If you need help, the Red Cross is there.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Four years ago we had a very similar experience when my father died. The Funeral Director contacted the Red Cross for us and supplied verification of the death. The Command on the Sub handled the notification to our Sailor with much kindness and sensitivity. As it happened the Sub was in Jacksonville so our sailor hopped on a plane and made it to the funeral.
Everything was handled by the Red Cross and the Navy in an exemplary manner. We were most grateful.
Thank you for sharing.
Sorry for your loss.
I would like to point out however, that the Red Cross will not even notify them if it isn't direct family. My son's aunt passed away last month and my son was on hold at Groton. The Red Cross will only make a notification if it's parents, siblings or grand parents. His CO was great though and had already told him that he could attend the funeral, they initially required the Red Cross paperwork, but when I spoke to him and advised that they would not do it, said he would handle it and he did. I would not have asked, but the funeral was in VA and he was on hold.
That actually was very helpful. I am a newbie and trying to absorb all this information is daunting. However thank you.