AIBU to think the church minister has guilt tripped my husband regarding children at DFIL funeral

(86 Posts)
LeeLooLahLah Thu 23-Jan-14 23:20:59

Short summary: DFIL fought cancer for a long time and sadly passed away on Monday. DH and I have never mentioned taking our 6yr old twin boys to the funeral and after going to organise the service with his family we agreed the boys wouldn't be attending.

So today, DH goes to his Mums and the minister who is conducting the service is there. Cut to DH walking in and telling me that the minister thinks children should be there as it is proven to help them understand and cope with death so he wants them to go.

I was like; Erm, These are my children. She has never met them and she has never met me. How does she know I am not helping my DTs understand and cope in other ways? DH got annoyed because I said it sounded like she was trying to guilt trip him into bringing the children.

We are not religious and I have been very careful with the way I have worded answers about the whole cancer/death/cremation topic so I am confident my 6 year olds understand and can grieve. I do not want them to get confused by a lady standing there talking about God and stuff when it isn't something I can back up if they ask questions afterwards.
Plus, DH and I will be handling our own grief that day and I don't think it is fair on children to see Mummy and Daddy upset or else it's not fair on us if we feel we can't get upset because they are there, it'll hinder our ability to release our own feelings

AIBU to think this minister was trying to guilt trip my husband into bringing the children to "godwash" them or am I being a bit emotional and overprotective of my boys?
Should I take them to the funeral? This is so tough.

CailinDana Thu 23-Jan-14 23:24:39

Honestly I find it bizarre the way some people "shield" children from death. Where I'm from grief is a community thing and children are very much involved. Leaving them out just seems totally wrong to me. But I understand that's influenced by my upbringing.

livelablove Thu 23-Jan-14 23:27:54

I think you are being a bit paranoid to think that the minister is trying to "godwash" them at a funeral. Its not like one of those fun-filled kid's services. I'm sure she was sincere in thinking it helps to give closure.
But they are your kids and you know best if this would be likely to upset them. I don't think they will miss out by not going to the funeral at this young age.

thedogwakesuptoodamnearly Thu 23-Jan-14 23:31:24

Are you angry because you'd agreed something and now your OH is going back on it after hearing a third party's view? That would make me feel undermined.

6 is very young to have to deal with adult grief.

BackforGood Thu 23-Jan-14 23:32:11

Not sure where you get the 'guilt tripped' from.
She's made a suggestion, and presumably let it be known she's quite happy for them to be there and has come across families who have found it right for them. Don't see in what way this is 'guilt tripping' anyone.

For me personally, I'm with you all the way in them not going. My children didn't attend their first funeral until they were teens (well, the younger one wasn't quite). I totally agree with trying to look after young children can get in the way of your own grieving, and I personally would send them to school as normal / let someone else look after them.

ilikebaking Thu 23-Jan-14 23:32:16

Did the children know him?
I think not allowing them to attend the funeral may make them very angry in later life. I personally would be.
It does give you time to say goodbye and get closure. Even if you are not religious yourself.
I don't know what you think the minister is trying to achieve by having two boys at the funeral, except to help them and your family, it isn't a cult you know.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Thu 23-Jan-14 23:38:35

My DN's (6) comment at my Dad's funeral: "I'll be alright as they don't open the box".

At 13, when DM died: "That was a really nice floral arrangement with the big willow basket".

"Er, that was the coffin".

"Yeah, pretty cool".

Possibly the wrong side of blasé.

chocladoodle Thu 23-Jan-14 23:39:05

Have you asked your sons if they want to go?

Winston's wish has some good advice for children and bereavement

Preciousbane Thu 23-Jan-14 23:39:33

I would take them, my DS has very sadly attended three funerals of very close family.

I agree dc should not be totally shielded against all the sad things in the world including death.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 23-Jan-14 23:41:34

I think 6 is probably too young to attend a funeral. Not in the "shielding them from death" sense but in the being able to behave appropriately for a considerable amount of time sense.

So Yanbu not to take them.

Yabu to think the vicar was trying to "godwash" them though, in my opinion. She was just making a suggestion.

ClaudiusMaximus Thu 23-Jan-14 23:48:56

Please take them. I wasn't allowed to go to my grandparents' funerals as a child and to this day it makes me angry and upset that I wasn't allowed the opportunity to say goodbye.

Even if they don't totally realise what's going on, at least they can say they were there.

LeeLooLahLah Thu 23-Jan-14 23:49:00

Yes reading back what I said, it does come across a bit anti-religion. Didn't mean to offend.

Thedogwakes - you are right. I feel undermined but I suppose I deflected away from DH as I know he's hurting. He did tell the minister I had said no and she told him to give me her number if I wanted to talk about it.

Ilikebaking - my boys adored their Grandad. Which makes the decision about them going even harder. I wouldn't want them to regret not going later in life but right now they are just so young and innocent.

I was planning on arranging our own "service" for just DH, me and DT's. Something like going to release a balloon or put a message in a bottle or something so the boys have some sort or remembrance occasion.

I guess the emotion of it all is clouding my judgement.

thedogwakesuptoodamnearly Thu 23-Jan-14 23:51:47

" He did tell the minister I had said no and she told him to give me her number if I wanted to talk about it."

I think that's rude. Your own family ceremny to remember their grandad sounds lovely.

LeeLooLahLah Thu 23-Jan-14 23:53:40

Yes reading back what I said, it does come across a bit anti-religion. Didn't mean to offend.

Thedogwakes - you are right. I feel undermined but I suppose I deflected away from DH as I know he's hurting. He did tell the minister I had said no and she told him to give me her number if I wanted to talk about it.

Ilikebaking - my boys adored their Grandad. Which makes the decision about them going even harder. I wouldn't want them to regret not going later in life but right now they are just so young and innocent.

I was planning on arranging our own "service" for just DH, me and DT's. Something like going to release a balloon or put a message in a bottle or something so the boys have some sort or remembrance occasion.

I guess the emotion of it all is clouding my judgement.

Joysmum Thu 23-Jan-14 23:56:35

If your children go, you have to be parents first, thinking about your children rather than being able to put your own grief first.

My MIL's funeral was horrendous. She was religious and would have wanted a religious ceremony so that's what we did. The service was 75% about religion and didn't adequately celebrate who she was as a person.

You don't need to be at a religious funeral to grieve and say goodbye. Why not do something with just you and the kids that is more child friendly to encourage your boys to share their memories, celebrate their nan and ask questions. An adult funeral doesn't cater to the needs of 6 year olds.

Joysmum Thu 23-Jan-14 23:57:56

* sorry, grandad, not nan. Confusing this with my own situation their I'm afraid blush

TossedSaladsAndScrambledEggs Thu 23-Jan-14 23:59:33

I was very close to my granny who died when I was 6. I am still upset to this day that I was not allowed to the funeral. But it is up to you.

CailinDana Fri 24-Jan-14 00:03:44

You say they're young and "innocent." In what way would a funeral damage their innocence? Death is a (very sad) fact of life. I don't see how excluding your children from participating in marking the passing of a beloved grandfather is a positive thing. It won't make them any less sad, in fact, it's more likely to make them feel unimportant and forgotten. Funerals aren't nasty or evil their purpose is to honour the dead and your sons have a much right as anyone to be part of that.

LeeLooLahLah Fri 24-Jan-14 00:04:03

Thank you for your comments. It's hard to think clearly about it all as I just want to help them through it appropriately.
Joysmum - I'm sorry for your loss xx

msmoss Fri 24-Jan-14 00:04:34

I can still clearly remember being left at home when everyone went to my grandfather's funeral when I was five, I can understand why I was left but I would much rather have gone. It is a time for family to say goodbye and they are family.

K8Middleton Fri 24-Jan-14 00:04:54

My grandad died when I was 6. We went to the wake but not the funeral. I think that was sensible.

I don't think the funeral service is particularly accessible to young children, but I also don't feel a funeral per se is necessary to say good-bye.

Joysmum Fri 24-Jan-14 00:04:59

Tossed did anyone do anything for you to allow you to mark the occasion? wrong wording I know but I'm tired and struggling to find the right words

beanandspud Fri 24-Jan-14 00:11:00

I can only add my own experience but DFIL died when DS was 5. It was after a long illness and not unexpected.

We talked with DS in simple terms about the death and the funeral. My parents offered to stay with DS while we went to the funeral etc. (3 hours drive away) but in the end we decided that we were a family unit and that it was important to us that we went together and supported each other. Up until a few minutes before the funeral we gave DS the option to stay outside with me (we would have walked around the gardens and talked about his grandad) or to come in to the service. DS made the decision to come in and was as good as gold. We were very proud of him and a lot of people commented on how he was part of the day.

On reflection, I'm glad that he was there. He talks about his grandad and remembers a little of the day. For us it was the right decision.

ProcessYellowC Fri 24-Jan-14 00:17:40

Hmm it does sound tough and it must be so hard to deal with this question in addition to your grief.

I don't think the minister was being all that forward, and the offer of her number might be worth taking up once you have had a chance to sleep on it. I am sure she would be amenable to talking through your concerns, even those about not being religious yourselves.

It's not clear how your DH is doing either and what his thoughts are. It sounds like he is grief stricken and going with what the last person he speaks to says. Can he talk openly with you about whether he really wants the children there or not? Not trying to be rude, but it does sound like the views on their attendance, and the alternative small-family service (which does sound lovely - in addition to a funeral) are led by your own views. I don't see why you would have to hide your grief if they were at the funeral - surely it would show them that it is ok to be upset if their mum and dad are upset. I come from a family that hid emotions away under lock and key, and trust me it is not great.

I am surprised you haven't had to deal with your DCs picking up on religion at school (even if not taught). DS seems to buy my line for the moment when he comes home with a "new" religion, when I tell him that some people believe in that, DH and I don't, and when he is older he can choose whether to believe or not.

Caitlin17 Fri 24-Jan-14 00:24:18

I dont think not taking 6 year olds to a funeral is shielding them from death. Taking 6 year olds to a funeral where they are likely told their gf hasn't really died/will be with god /whatever might be, especially as it's not what their parents believe.

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