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.

sixlive Fri 24-Jan-14 14:02:32

I was taken to a couple of funerals when under 10. I think it did harm me I was very upset and bewildered that so many of the people I loved were crying and very upset. Funerals can be long and boring for kids at best and harmful at worst. I think people want kids to come for their own adult needs rather than the kids needs. My overwhelming memory of my grandfather over 40 years ago was the funeral.

skaen Fri 24-Jan-14 14:46:57

I went to my sisters funeral when I was 4. Tbh, the fact that my parents were upset was a fairly minor thing for me then - my sister had died very suddenly and they were utterly bereft. They weren't saving their grief for the funeral.

I still remember though feeling that it finally made sense of what had been going on and gave me a feeling of finality - I knew she wasn't coming back. I am still very glad my parents took me and I fully intend to take my DCs to any close family funerals.

EmmaBemma Fri 24-Jan-14 18:50:45

"Someone saying 'Oh NO you should do it THIS way' - err, back off lady - I'm the parent thanks!!!"

You have absolutely now way of knowing that's how it went down. I highly doubt she said that, or anything like it. It's at least as likely that the OP's husband expressed some doubt about whether their children should go, and she gave her opinion. The OP herself said that she and her husband haven't talked about it between themselves very much, even.

EmmaBemma Fri 24-Jan-14 18:51:10

"no way of knowing", not "now way"!

ukatlast Fri 24-Jan-14 18:54:52

YANBU my parents kept me away from a Great Grandparent's funeral at age 8 when I said I wanted to go...they made the right decision.

The adults need to be free to grieve without worrying about the effect their tears could have on their impressionable 6 year olds.

Yika Fri 24-Jan-14 21:04:15

I tend to think its important for children to attend funerals. They also experience loss and they also feel grief, just like adults. I think the expression and acknowledgement of emotional truth is extremely important for children.

But I also like the OPs idea of a private family goodbye ritual and this may be enough. The children I think must have the opportunity to express their own feelings, to share in the collective grief (this feels very important to me after my own experience this week of the sudden death of a young colleague) and to say goodbye.

I hope no vicar would try to 'godwash' at a funeral. I have a vicar in my family who, yes, of course has their own strong faith, but also believes very much in the role of the priest as a facilitator of the rites of passage of the whole community - religious or not.

bluesky what a moving and sensitive post. I fully agree and am sorry for the loss of your son.

deakymom Fri 24-Jan-14 21:50:02

i took my daughter to my nans funeral as they were close she cried her heart out and started everyone else off a few weeks later my uncle died and she couldn't attend because she was ill there were a lot of comments saying they wished she was there so they could cry as they felt better the last time (after they had a good cry) kids emotions tend to be on the surface if you think they will get something out of it eg say goodbye have a good cry etc by all means but if you think its going to confuse or upset them find a sitter? xx

Pilgit Fri 24-Jan-14 22:01:12

I took my DD's to my grandfathers funeral. It was a big church affair - coffin in the middle. DD1 was 3, DD2 - 5 weeks. My 3 year old nephew was also there. For them, it helped them say goodbye (he was much loved by both of them) BUT we are religious and it was something that helped my mum and my aunts (they were a source of amusement and comedy at various points). However we did not take them to the graveyard (although this was more because it was January and bitterly cold). When they are older we will take them to the graveyard to see both my grandparents. There is more than one way to say goodbye to a loved one and it is down to you and you DH to decide between you what is best.

They can be helped to grieve and accept it in different ways. DD1 and I had a beautiful chat about my grandfather at Christmas - we have some of my grandparents tree ornaments (they are special as they were made for them by a glass blower friend in the 50's - they look old and tatty!) and putting them up made me cry (having DD2 10 days before his death - I didn't process it all). DD1 came up to me gave me a hug and said 'this is how we remember him, how much he loved us and how much we miss him.' Unsurprisingly, I couldn't speak for tears! I suppose the point is - she didn't deal with it because of going to the funeral but because at all points where it has come up we have talked about it and discussed it. Just as the OP is with her sons. It's how it's dealt with in the round that matters.

LeeLooLahLah Fri 24-Jan-14 22:44:59

Thank you for all the replies. I have been really touched by some of your comments and have taken on board others.
So I've just had a discussion with DH. Turns out he feels stronger about the boys attending the funeral than he first let on. He asked the minister for her opinion and then left that detail out when he told me what she said.
We both have reasons for feeling the way we do but have agreed to discuss it with the rest of the family including DT's and make a decision that is appropriate.
There have been lots of posts that included things I hadn't thought of so I am torn.
At the end of the day, my boys are my priority but your posts have helped me to open my mind on how to help them through this.

LeeLooLahLah Fri 24-Jan-14 22:46:09

Thank you for all the replies. I have been really touched by some of your comments and have taken on board others.
So I've just had a discussion with DH. Turns out he feels stronger about the boys attending the funeral than he first let on. He asked the minister for her opinion and then left that detail out when he told me what she said.
We both have reasons for feeling the way we do but have agreed to discuss it with the rest of the family including DT's and make a decision that is appropriate.
There have been lots of posts that included things I hadn't thought of so I am torn.
At the end of the day, my boys are my priority but your posts have helped me to open my mind on how to help them through this.

LeeLooLahLah Fri 24-Jan-14 22:46:10

Thank you for all the replies. I have been really touched by some of your comments and have taken on board others.
So I've just had a discussion with DH. Turns out he feels stronger about the boys attending the funeral than he first let on. He asked the minister for her opinion and then left that detail out when he told me what she said.
We both have reasons for feeling the way we do but have agreed to discuss it with the rest of the family including DT's and make a decision that is appropriate.
There have been lots of posts that included things I hadn't thought of so I am torn.
At the end of the day, my boys are my priority but your posts have helped me to open my mind on how to help them through this.

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