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Family bereavement - young children at the crematorium

(172 Posts)
SpiritedLondon Wed 21-Dec-16 20:02:28

My MIL very sadly died this week following a short illness. We live a long way away from her so I feel very grateful that we made it down to see her this weekend and she had the chance to see my DD4 ( who is her only grandchild). My DH has returned home today and he has told DD that granny has died. She asked a few questions but seemed slightly oblivious about what death is. My husband has been discussing the arrangements for the funeral which are a cremation followed by a church service and a gathering / food/ wake. He assumed that our DD would be attending all parts of this. I was actually a bit horrified about her attending the cremation - that is absolutely not what I want her to remember of her granny. The whole coffin behind the curtain thing is bad enough and I know my husband will be in pieces. I am happy to answer questions about life and death but I don't want her to imagine granny lying in a coffin or being cremated. I am quite happy for her to go to the church service and the wake but she will be the only child attending. If I asked her she would say she wants to go but she would have no idea of what she was agreeing to. I genuinely don't know if IABU. Unfortunately the long distance from us means that there is no- one to watch her for us for the cremation part so I would need to look after her for that part, and as a result would not be able to be with my DH for arguably the most upsetting bit. WWYD?

StarUtopia Wed 21-Dec-16 20:04:30

Can your parents not look after her?

I would absolutely not be taking my kids.

As a child myself, I didn't attend any funerals. I have lovely happy memories of those who passed. As an adult, my last memories are now of weeping at the funerals sad

I will probably be in the minority, but no, I don't think a funeral is a place for a child (if they don't have to go)

LottieDoubtie Wed 21-Dec-16 20:06:07

We recently had this situation in reverse. I went to the crematorium and my DH stayed with DS.

It was hard for me- but not as hard as having DS there would have been for him and for me. So for the best I think.

Redglitter Wed 21-Dec-16 20:08:23

My nieces didn't attend my dad's funeral - they were 3 & 6. We explained things to them as best we could but to be honest having them there would have been a nightmare. His death was very sudden and unexpected. We were all in bits at the service then had to circulate and see people at the wake.

They both stayed with one of my SIL family.

I know other people will disagree but we just didn't feel it was the place for young children

DavidPuddy Wed 21-Dec-16 20:09:43

My condolences, it is tough. We have just been through the same thing. Whichever way you decide is not wrong.

Littledrummergirl Wed 21-Dec-16 20:10:49

When fil died our dc were 10, 8 & 6. The was no question in our minds about them being at the service to say their goodbyes with the rest of their family.

They are very glad they had the opportunity to be there.

Namechangebitch Wed 21-Dec-16 20:11:38

I attended funerals as a child. I took mine at about 10, but would have taken them younger but the issue didn't arise.

Different families have different traditions and different ways of doing things. I think funerals are part of life. Having his daughter with him might be a big help to your DH, life goes on, a new generation etc. At 4 your daughter might know she is helping daddy.

If you are really uncomfortable with it that will be clear to your DD so perhaps best avoided then.

Wanderingraspberry Wed 21-Dec-16 20:11:44

We've taken both children to the cream for their great grandmother's and for their grandads funeral. It was fine, we didn't have childcare for them and felt it was important for them to be included. Do whatever you, or more importantly what your DH wants.

lakewiththewhiteswans Wed 21-Dec-16 20:11:54

I absolutely would take children. I think learning about death and goodbyes is hugely important.

sooperdooper Wed 21-Dec-16 20:12:00

Sorry for your loss.

I think it's down to personal preference, my DN was at my mums funeral and she was 3, she was wonderfully behaved during the service and a distraction to us afterwards

But do what you feel is right for you

Addictedtocustardcreams Wed 21-Dec-16 20:13:38

You haven't said how old your DD is but I would be inclined to agree with you that she shouldn't go. My FIL died in the summer & we opted to do the same as you & just have the DCs at the wake. My DD was too little to understand what was going on & I explained a funeral was a special time to remember FIL & she got really excited & thought it was going to be a fun party. I was worried not just about how the kids would cope but whether they would behave appropriately.

Catlady1976 Wed 21-Dec-16 20:15:03

We have always taken our DC to funerals. Obviously it's a personal choice though. No right or wrong answer and sorry for your loss.

galaxygirl45 Wed 21-Dec-16 20:16:04

I don't think children should attend funerals, even as an adult they are upsetting let alone when you don't really understand what is happening.

OhWotIsItThisTime Wed 21-Dec-16 20:18:20

My dg died and I took ds1, 8. He needs to learn adults get upset and about the culture of what we do when someone dies. His grandparents aren't getting any younger, so he needs to know that when someone dies it is ok to cry, to laugh about the things the person did, to get upset some more. And to know that people come together to show that person meant something.

ALongTimeComing Wed 21-Dec-16 20:18:23

I think children should attend funerals. They need to understand death, it's part of the life cycle and seeing a funeral helps them prepare for the future as an adult. Children also provide hope and lift people's spirits at funerals too. Children in my family attend wearing their smartest outfits, wether that be a party dress or just their best clothes, no black for them.

HOHOHOvariesBeforeBrovaries Wed 21-Dec-16 20:21:34

I attended funerals as a child, including my brother's when I was 3, and wouldn't hesitate to take my own daughter to funerals (hopefully we won't have cause to for a long time, obviously), but it's a very personal choice. In this situation, I'd be led by what DH wants.

SpiritedLondon Wed 21-Dec-16 20:24:19

Sorry I should have said DD is 4. I have no problem with the church service it is the separate cremation event that I feel uncomfortable with.

IonaNE Wed 21-Dec-16 20:27:21

Death and funerals are part of life and it is important to learn about them. I think it is good for children to attend funerals.

Crisscrosscranky Wed 21-Dec-16 20:30:10

You know that the cremation won't actually be the act of being cremated? She'll be too young to understand the finality of the curtains closing round the coffin so if you're OK with her attending the church service I would take her. I think it's important for children to understand death, saying goodbye and the celebration of life at the wake after the sad funeral service.

Nanny0gg Wed 21-Dec-16 20:32:28

Is there any relative that could look after her for that bit?

I wouldn't take her to the crematorium if you don't have to.

Candlestickchick Wed 21-Dec-16 20:35:54

I can understand your reluctance but i don't think it will be harmful to your DD if managed appropriately (which I'm sure you will), and absent any actual harm to her, I do think you need to consider your DH as well. I would take her if your DH would like you both there.

Finola1step Wed 21-Dec-16 20:40:11

When my MIL died, dc were 4 and 6. We decided that they would attend the wake only. It was what DH and I thought was most appropriate and manageable.

Namechangebitch Wed 21-Dec-16 20:40:44

Your DH has just lost his mum. What he wants counts a lot. It's important for children to learn sometimes it's not about them, they have to think about and help other people.

Finola1step Wed 21-Dec-16 20:41:56

I should add, my ds was 4 when my Dad died. We had a cremation and wake. I felt better able to cope knowing that ds and dd were being well looked after elsewhere. Sorry for your loss. flowers

Doilooklikeatourist Wed 21-Dec-16 20:46:00

We went through this when my Mum died ( our children were 4 and 6 )
They came with us to the church , and then they were looked after by The in laws while we went to the crematorium
When my MIL died , she was buried , and they went on a brisk walk round the grave yard with a family friend

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