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to let her go to the funeral or wake?

(55 Posts)
MissMuesli Sun 20-Oct-13 15:41:30

I'm really not sure if I am being unreasonable on this one.

My DD is 2 1/2 years old, and I am separated from her dad. Sadly, there has been a death on his side of the family and the funeral is coming up- he wants to take DD.

I personally don't want him to at all, the person who has passed away is a distant cousin who my DD has never actually met, but he feels she should go as after all they are still family.

I also worry about how the day will emotionally impact my daughter. She is very good with speech and her cognitive ability is pretty good aswell. She defiantly is at an age in which she would notice and understand that people are sad and crying. That's not necessarily a bad thing I know, however I'm not sure she is at an age that she could understand even a simple explanation. I feel she would be thrust into an unknown environment with lots of adults upset which is something she hasn't witnessed before but without the ability to understand why or how to deal with it.

It's "my" day to have DD on that day, and I feel inclined to say it isn't appropriate, although I don't want to cause any more upset to my ex. Also, I do understand that children can help "lift" the atmosphere at funerals I'm not sure my DD should have the responsibility of that.

Am I being unreasonable? Please by kind..!

MissMuesli Sun 20-Oct-13 15:42:03

Ahh! Title should have said "To not let her go"

PedlarsSpanner Sun 20-Oct-13 15:43:33

Could a compromise be sought? DD goes to the after-event only for eg

Finola1step Sun 20-Oct-13 15:49:14

I wouldn't take a small child to a funeral. My dad passed away six months ago and even though he was very close to my children, my dc are only 2 and 5. No way were they going. Your dd is in your care on the day. Say no.

WhoNickedMyName Sun 20-Oct-13 15:52:37

My DH's niece who was 3 at the time was a total PITA at a family funeral, it's really not a place for young children. A good compromise could be that she can go along to the wake for an hour or so afterwards.

mrsjay Sun 20-Oct-13 15:55:23

I didnt take dds to their grandmas funeral although I regret not taking dd1 she was 9and we should have taken her but dd2 was only 4 and just out of toddler hood I dont think a funeral is a place for small children they dont understand you need to sit you need to be quiet and they don't understand coffins and sadness either I think the wake would be fine just not the service

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 20-Oct-13 15:55:28

If it was a member of your family and the funeral was on the day it was ex contact day how would you feel if he said no.

He is her parent just as much as you and can make decisions.

oldgrandmama Sun 20-Oct-13 15:55:35

Can't see why your ex should even want to take her? She doesn't know the dear departed and it doesn't sound as though your ex was that close to them anyway. Definitely UANBU - keep her with you.

CelticPromise Sun 20-Oct-13 15:58:01

I'd let her go. My mum died last year and I was just talking to DH this morning about how I'm glad DS (then just 3) was able to visit her in hospital, go to the funeral etc. I answered the questions he had and he took it in his stride. He understands that we can't see Gran anymore and that's why we are sad sometimes, and he understood the idea of a celebration to say goodbye. In my family, it is the done thing for children to be involved. DS had already been to a cousin's funeral aged 2ish and he didn't really ask questions about it. I think you have to be guided by what they want to know.

It must be tough if it is the done thing to take children on one side of the family and not the other. But I really don't think it does any harm.

ilovecolinfirth Sun 20-Oct-13 16:03:02

My husband stayed with our 2 and a half year old son when my grandmother died. It was too stressful an event for him to go to, however he did go to the reception afterwards, and he and his giggling 2 year old cousin brought some much-needed light relief.

MissMuesli Sun 20-Oct-13 16:03:06

"If it was a member of your family and the funeral was on the day it was ex contact day how would you feel if he said no"

It's hard because my experience of funerals are limited. I went to one where a family member had had a still birth. She sobbed until she was hysterical then literally had to be carried out. I hate to be so horrible, but the funeral service can go on without my daughter there (who didn't know the cousin- had not even ever met them) and as her parents it's her well being that I have to consider. I generally go by the rule that if it doesn't hurt her physically or emotionally then I leave ex to it, but I do genuinely believe this has the potential to upset and confuse her.

Also, to the member who said about a 3 year old being a PITA, my daughter would likely be that child. She comments on EVERYTHING, and that could either be really funny (and lift the mood) or really be inappropriate and cause more pain.

Can someone tell me more about what happens at wakes? The only one I went to (same family member) resulted in again hysterics and eventually very drunk. Maybe that would be option?

MissMuesli Sun 20-Oct-13 16:04:34

CelticPromise- I understand why it was maybe abit more appropriate in your case, but my daughter has never even met this person before, no relationship or recognition.

SamG76 Sun 20-Oct-13 16:05:09

Agree with IlCF. Our family rule is that the kids go to everything. They often end up as a comfort to the other mourners....

DoJo Sun 20-Oct-13 16:05:22

Could you offer to go with them and look after her, so that she would have someone with her who wasn't as involved in the grieving process and could take her out if she was upset/distressed without feeling as though they were missing out on saying goodbye? That would be a nice gesture to your ex and would enable you to maintain some kind of line between being a comfort to those grieving and getting upset herself.

MissMuesli Sun 20-Oct-13 16:06:55

DoJo, I definitely wouldn't be welcome, although I agree that would have been a suitable compromise if possible!

YellowDinosaur Sun 20-Oct-13 16:10:28

my experience (again limited but including 2 for young men definitely dying well before their time as well as my grandad who died aged 86) is that the funeral can be horribly upsetting if they have died young or sad but heartwarming if it was just their time. In all cases the wake was mostly a positive celebration of their life and a chance for family members who might not see each other often to catch up.

Why not compromise and say you'll bring her to the wake and stay local so that if she is upset your ex can call you so you can come and get her.

This really won't harm her. She probably won't even remember. I'd try and support your ex to do this if it's important to him.

CelticPromise Sun 20-Oct-13 16:14:17

MissMuesli you must do what you think is right, but DS didn't know the cousin whose funeral we went to (had met her once or twice as a baby I think). It is just the way we do things in our family. Actually now I think of it DS has also been to a funeral of someone he had never met. It's just the way things are done in my family.

At a wake IME there is food, a sort of meet and greet by the guests to the immediate family, some people leave reasonably early and then the rest settle in to get drunk. So a couple of hours at the wake might be a good option.

halfwildlingwoman Sun 20-Oct-13 16:14:43

I think it's important that children, however young, go to the funerals of people who they were close to and who they loved.
I think it is ridiculous for a young child to go to the funeral of someone they didn't know. Tell him no.

tiggytape Sun 20-Oct-13 16:16:13

My children have always gone to family funerals from the age of 12 months onwards (DS was 12 months old when my DH lost a member of his family).
They’ve gone to more funerals than weddings over the years unfortunately.

I think your own experiences have been quite extreme so maybe that has put you off a bit? I have never been to a funeral where anyone has been hysterical to the point of being carried out. Some people cry but if she sits near the back she probably won't even see that.

Wakes vary from quiet shuffling around and eating sandwiches whilst talking in family groups to very happy celebrations of the person's life, telling stories about them, lots of laughing and a few tears.
Again I have never been to one that would have been an emotionally damaging experience for a child. Again, maybe your own experience has put you off - probably the worst that will happen if she goes to the wake is she will be a bit bored for an hour or two.

I know she didn't know the cousin who dies but funerals are family occasions and your exP may want to still include her in his family events. I would let her go to the wake at least.

LookingThroughTheFog Sun 20-Oct-13 16:16:33

I think it must be very difficult when your main experience of funerals has been fraught. Personally, I'd let her go. I think it's OK for children to see mourning, and to understand the worth of being allowed to say goodbye. I think this is a lot less confusing than people simply vanishing out of their lives. Funerals are naturally sad, but it's important for them to see that not all sadness is terrifying or destructive.

But, having said that, I think you have to exercise your own judgement as to which funerals to go to. Hell would freeze over before I allowed someone to prevent my children going to my Nan's funeral. She has a good relationship with them, despite being very old. She's an integral part of their lives. She would want them there.

With someone like a cousin, I'd be guided by their (the cousin's) closer family. If my Aunt or Uncle specifically said they'd like them there, then I'd take them. If not, I'd go alone - the children don't know my cousins well, so it wouldn't be a vanishing.

It is likely that there will be awkward questions to answer - but these will happen anyway. Whether you tell them that people die, and that's the end, or whether you say they've gone to heaven - these answers will have to be found whenever your child asks you. They will ask if you will die at some point. I'm not sure these questions can be avoided forever.

I think what I'm trying to say is that a funeral isn't always intrinsically bad.

justmyview Sun 20-Oct-13 16:17:33

If she might be a PITA on the day, that's your ex's problem not yours, if he's the one who wants to take her

The issue for you is whether your DD would be upset by going. Children of that age can be very matter of fact and interested, not really phased by other people being upset. I suspect she wouldn't be traumatised

My aunt encouraged us to consider taking my DD to my uncle's funeral, on the basis that it was better for DD to go to a more distant funeral first, where she's less likely to be upset

I don't think "it's my day to have her" should come into it - that sounds petty

ll31 Sun 20-Oct-13 16:17:58

He's her parent too. Yabu, let him take her.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 16:20:04

I can see both sides tbh. Yes I think it's a bit young but death is a part of life and you can't keep it from them. And yes children at funerals do remind people that it's not about mourning death but celebrating the life that person had.

However, in this instance with her not knowing the family member it does seem a bit pointless. She's not saying good bye to or celebrating anyone she knows and without that I don't feel that having her serve as the "cheer up squad" would be right.

MissMuesli Sun 20-Oct-13 16:23:40

Justmyview- it's not really the issue that "it's my day", more that if it was happening on a Tuesday (his day) then I probably wouldn't actually be told, therefore no discussion. Where as because it's on "my day" it does mean we have to discuss it and come to an agreement, as he can't just do it. That's what I meant by that.

And yes, as some one said, possibly my own experiences are clouding my judgement, I suppose I assume are funerals are as horrible as that.

Anyway, just had a chat with the ex, and decided that she won't go to the funeral, but she can go to the wake for an hour or so. Hopefully that's a good compromise!

justmyview Sun 20-Oct-13 16:29:17

Great compromise

she'll help to lift people's spirits

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