Taking an 8 year old to a fuenral? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-13-2009, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My grandmother passed away yesterday morning The visitation is tomorrow, and the funeral is on Monday. We've explained to him what has happened and what it means (according to our religion.) He gets that it's a sad thing, though is not seemingly upset himself. Is he too young to be there? Should I leave him home with dh? I've not had to deal with something like this since I've been a parent and am a bit lost.TIA.

Elizabeth wife to Matt , mom to Logan (2/21/01) , and little man Desmond (9/23/08)

Mourning the loss of her father: Robert Edward Dillon 5/31/52 - 01/03/2011

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#2 of 18 Old 06-13-2009, 10:12 PM
 
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I'm so sorry for your loss. I am of the opinion that it is really important to include children in meaningful family events. 8 is plenty old enough to attend a funeral and learn something about the process of grief and rituals your family performs. Funerals can be very enriching and healing. Again, I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother.
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#3 of 18 Old 06-13-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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I was left out of my own mother's funeral at age 7 .... don't belive it was a good idea (maybe at the time, 35+ years ago that was the "correct attitude" to "protect" a child ?)

took my own children (aged 4 and 6) to my father's funeral (closed casket , my sister and I did NOT choose to go and "view" the body at the funeral parlor, we noted that those who went were not our generation but older, it was something that was important to them ....)

sorry for your loss.
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#4 of 18 Old 06-13-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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I think I was 12 when I attended my first funeral, for my grandfather. My parents left the choice up to me and I chose to go.

My husband did not allow our children to go to his father's funeral. They are 8 and younger. (Well, the nb went.) But one of our nieces who is 5 went. I am not sure she really understood what was going on. She didn't seemed bothered by it at the time. We had the casket closed most of the time and only opened it at the end.

I think if you think he will be bothered by the body, but still want to take him, maybe you could sit in the back or not go forward at the end. I refused to go see the body myself (for my fil, I did see all of my grandparents) and have no regrets about that personally.
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#5 of 18 Old 06-13-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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I would ask him if he wants to go. If he does, I would take him.

I'm sorry for your loss.

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#6 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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I'm so sorry that you lost your grandmother.


I do think children can handle funerals, and I would encourage you to take him. It's an important ritual in our culture, and being familiar with them can help a child cope with the idea of death.

Sadly, my 8 and 6 year old sons have been to six family funerals already. Going to the first one when ODS was 3 made a huge impact on him...he spent 3 months obsessing over death. Then, the second funeral happened, and he was able to kind of make sense of it all, incorporate death into his understanding of the world, and move on.
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#7 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 03:08 AM
 
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I took my DD to a funeral when she was almost 2.5. She is almost 4 now and we still have the occasional question or good conversation about it. Ask your child and then be willing to explain the situation or answer questions - even a year from now.
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#8 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, everyone. I'm going to take him, because I do agree that it's an important part of life. I was just a bit older than him when my other grandmother passed and I didn't go to her funeral and have beaten myself up about it ever since. If it turns out to be too much for him I'll have dh take him home.

Elizabeth wife to Matt , mom to Logan (2/21/01) , and little man Desmond (9/23/08)

Mourning the loss of her father: Robert Edward Dillon 5/31/52 - 01/03/2011

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#9 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 05:48 AM
 
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

I was left out of a funeral at 5 yo., because they though I was too young, and I never forgave them for not being able to go and say goodbye.
All my kids come to funerals with us, no matter what age, from infant and up. Never leave them out if they know the person. It's a natural part of life.

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#10 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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So sorry for your loss. My parents did a lot of things right, and a lot of things wrong, but they always included us in funerals where we knew the person.

My aunt passed away this January - she had advanced stage Alzheimer's, and the children had visited her even when she was pretty far along. We had talked about how sick she was beforehand. I was honest with them, in a 3 & 5 yr way - from the start.

We had to transport her to New York for her funeral, but before we did, we wanted to have a private viewing for just my father. I went and took the children with me to support him. I showed them the casket, told them how it looked like she was sleeping but that really she had died, her soul (had to explain that concept too!) was in heaven with with God. Then I said my goodbyes and got ready to go. My five year old hesitated. I asked him if he was ok, and he said he wanted to say goodbye one last time. I offered to go with him, and he said yes. So hand-in-hand, we went up to the casket. He stood back, and silently waved a little goodbye, then turned away. It brought me to tears.

Once we got to New York, we had a wake there that they were at briefly, then the funeral and burial. Sadly, a few months later, another uncle passed away, and they went to the wake with us (open casket).

I believe in being honest, including them, not imposing on them, and taking your cues from them. I remember my grandmother's funeral at 6, my grandfather's at 11, my grandmother's at 16, and my mother's at 19.... and many others. It's an important part of life that only you can teach them.

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#11 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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you know its amazing how well children do with death. the younger they are, the chance they have of taking care of a sick person, i swear helps them in a deeply profound manner.

i personally think its soooo important for children to go to a funeral esp. in a culture where death is sooo invisible.

however i did want to point out one thing to you.

the open casket thing. talk to your son if there is going to be open casket. some kids do freak out when they see an open casket. when they view the body.

my dd was with me from age 4 thru to age 5 as i took care of her gparents both dying. she was there holding their hands as they passed. she sat next to them and sang to them and read to the body and even drew them goodbye cards, as all the adults got busy with the funeral arrangements. that was the best, best gift her grandparents could have ever given her. i am so grateful she got that opportunity.

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#12 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 01:32 PM
 
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I would talk to him about what to expect at a funeral and see if he has any questions, then I'd ask him what he wants to do.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

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#13 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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I don't think 8 is too young but it depends on the child and the situation.

Dd was 7 when 19 year old sil died. We didn't take her to the service as she is very sensitive to people crying and it was extremely emotional for us. Others brought their kids who were dd's age though. I think we made the right choice for dd in that situation.

We took her to another less emotional memorial service a year later and it was fine.

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#14 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 05:00 PM
 
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I feel so sorry for you. I hope you are taking care of yourself as well.

It is so very important for your son to have support at a funeral so that he's not overwhelmed. If your dh can be that person, that is great. If not, consider asking someone else to be his support through it. You have your own things to deal with, and possibly your parents to support as well.

When my dad died, my mom was really overwhelmed and needed me. My dh completely looked after my kids, and he was amazing at talking to them about how they felt, how I might be feeling, and what I had to do instead of looking after them. My best and oldest friend came to the funeral as well, just to keep an eye on me. Knowing she was there made a big difference.

Take good care of each other.
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#15 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 10:07 PM
 
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Sorry for your loss. My twins are 8 and I had them at a funeral last October. The lady who past away was their best friend's mom. Our daughter asked to go and I thought it was important for them to be there for her and her sister. They had been to many viewings since they were 2. We talked about what it would be like and what would happen and about how sad it would be. They did get upset. The family was so thankful that I took them and seeing them with their friend in that difficult time was a good thing. We have talked many times about death. They remember when my Grandmother past away, they were 3. They stayed downstairs with 2 of my nephews for the church service but went out to the cemetary for the graveside service. We have talked about different things ever since.
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#16 of 18 Old 06-14-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

I would ask him if he wants to go or not. I woudln't take him if he's scared or for some other reason really doesn't want to go- but I also would never deny him the chance to be there.

Make sure you talk to him about what's going to happen at a funeral and what kind of behavior is and isnt' expected. DS (then 6) was kind of bouncy at a cousin's funeral and was walking over some of the graves because he didn't know any better and I hadn't thought to tell him, ahead of time, not to do that.

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#17 of 18 Old 06-15-2009, 01:28 AM
 
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I don't think he's too young at all. My kids have been to several funerals, and have done quite well through them. I agree it's good to talk about what will happen.

But I'm of the opinion that it's important to include children in special family events. I also think that having children at a funeral usually adds a bit of much needed levity to the event. People are able to see that life goes on and that there is hope for the future.

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#18 of 18 Old 06-15-2009, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We took him with us to the visitation, and he went up and looked at her, then went and watched a movie the rest of the time. Before we left he went up again and said his goodbye. He was sad after we left and wanted to know why this had to be a part of life. He also decided that he didn't want to go to the actual funeral, which is fine with us. FIL and Step MIL will be watching him for us.

Elizabeth wife to Matt , mom to Logan (2/21/01) , and little man Desmond (9/23/08)

Mourning the loss of her father: Robert Edward Dillon 5/31/52 - 01/03/2011

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