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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm x-posting this question here (more traffic) and in Grief and Loss to see what you guys think... DH and I disagree about how to handle our 18 m/o regarding DH's grandmother's funeral. She is about to die any time now - probably in a few hours - and the whole family is with her in the hosp, with me taking turns there and coming back to DS at my mother's.<br><br>
DH feels that DS should have no part of the funeral, or even be around the grieving family. He thinks this both b/c of the negativity that DS would be around, and that DS would be an imposition on the bereved.<br><br>
I feel that DS is a part of the family, who had a loving relationship with his great-grandmother. I feel that he deserves the chance to see her for a very limited time (certainly not for the duration of a funeral or wake!), and he deserves the opportunity to grieve in his own way. I'm offended at the idea that he'd be an imposition to those "really" grieving. I think that sadness over loss of family is natural, and it's disrespectful to DS to pretend otherwise, or to keep him from it. I think he'll feel our sadness and then just be angry at the facade if we keep him away.<br><br>
Any thoughts about this? Any idea how DH and I can reach an agreement?<br><br>
TIA...
 

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imo, unless you have expectations that are transmitted somehow to him, i doubt the baby will be affected much one way or the other.<br><br>
the rest of the grieving family, on the other hand, might be greatly comforted to see a happy toddler around. That's what I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I'm just really bothered by the cover-up attitude they have. I've never in my life met a family who pretends so hard not to feel anything so as not to upset anyone. They lie constantly, just in case it might scare, sadden, or upset someone. Even this morning they tried to keep GFIL away from his dying wife, b/c they thought it might upset him to be too close to her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh"><br><br>
Anyhoo, this is how DH was raised, and I don't think it's a very healthy way of dealing with grief. He's actually a whole lot better about it than anyone else in his clan. I want to include my son in family events, happy and sad.
 

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ahhh, I see what you mean a little better now.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Oo. I agree with you. The toddler has zero concept of death, but he'll certainly pick up that the people he loves are upset and that strange things are going on -- he's not stupid. Imagine how upsetting and scary it could be for him to have Mama and Daddy act as if nothing unusual is happening!<br><br>
It's way, way healthier for him to be exposed to strong feelings like grief, and to have older family members model the expression of those emotions, than to cover it up. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"><br><br>
I would definitely insist that my toddler go/stay with me and be involved in any proceedings just as much as he would be involved in any other large family event. And I would talk to him a lot about how we're sad because we miss Nanny (or whoever).
 

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OP. When you mentioned "see her briefly", did you mean while she was still alive or after she passes? My granny died when I was 8 and I remember seeing her through the hospital window and waving to her. Then the next time I saw her, it was when I put a flower on her as she rested in her coffin. I have mixed emotions about it. I know 8 is a long way from 18 months, but memory can be powerful. Gosh, I'm trying to help here...do what feels best. Maybe dc could arrive after everyone has arrived and has a moment to hug and cry and settle in a bit. The effects of a toddler, especially one that is family may very well lift spirits and put some well needed smiles on their faces. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I think you should include her, it sets a precedent. So that if someone dies when she's 8, or whatever, you don't have to go through the whole debate again as extensively.<br><br>
When I was very young (maybe 5 or 6), a close friend (my sisters' godmother) who was living with us died IN OUR HOUSE. My sisters (a couple of years younger than me) and I were kept as far away from all of it as possible--had to stay in the attic (where our bedrooms were) w/ our teenaged foster sister (who was just as clueless about death as we were and had been sharing a room w/ the deceased), were not permitted to go to the funeral, etc.<br><br>
heck, after my maternal grandfather died (and our not going was a matter of money, I think, as it was in California and we couldn't afford to fly the whole family out) when I was 12, we went to visit the grave, but mom made my sisters and I stay in the car so she could have alone time at the grave.<br><br>
Sheltering children from death like that is a bad idea. What happens when, as an adult, one loses a loved one and has no clue how to cope because of being totallly cut off from seeing it happen and seeing loved ones cope during your childhood?
 

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I think since this is your husband's family it might be best to let him make the call on this one. It's possible that people really just do not involve children in these kinds of things in his family. He has already lost (or is about to lose) a grandparent. It may be, to him, that breaking family norms and risking putting out other grieving relatives may just be too much to deal with at this time.<br><br>
I'm sorry for your loss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
About visiting her before she dies vs after... Personally, I'd take him for a *brief* visit with her in the hospital because I think it would he healthy for both. Gigi would love to see him and he always loves seeing her. I do know that it would be difficult for him to understand why she can't hug him etc... But I have been talking to him about her leaving soon. However, I'm sure he will not be visiting her before death b/c DH could not handle the thought of DS being in a hospital. I let that one go for DH's sake, even though I'd like him to see her.<br><br>
The funeral is another matter. I think it's disrespectful to DS to exclude him. I think he deserves to know what's happening and grieve in his own way. I know their family has their own way of doing things, but we go against them on many things we disagree with - most esp if their ways are unhealthy for DS. How will I help DS with his confusion about where she went and why he can't see her if he's not a part of our rituals designed to help us through our grief?<br><br>
Anyway, thanks all for the thoughtful discussion... and for the sympathy!
 
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