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Another "child at funeral" rant I'm afraid.....

(138 Posts)
auntyspan Fri 24-Oct-08 09:44:13

My DD is 2.5 and on Monday her Great Grandfather (on my DH's side) passed away. The funeral is on Wednesday, early afternoon, about four and half hours drive away.

Me and DH had discussed this when GGD passed away, and I took it as red that DD wouldn't be going to the funeral, due to the fact that I feel it's totally inappropriate for a child that age to be at a funeral. It would have been nice for her to go to the wake afterwards, but not worth it due to the length of the trip.

MIL and DH discussed the situation yesterday and now DH wants her to go. I'm appalled that he would put her through such a long car journey (more than 8 hours in total) to use her as an "antidote" to the unhappiness (MIL's phrase) surrounding the funeral party. He is now saying he always wanted her there, but it's only after MIL voiced her wishes that he's been outspoken about this desire to have DD there.

We are actually travelling down to see MIL this weekend too (another long trip, returning on Monday) - this was arranged a while ago and MIL still wants us to come.

It's stalemate, but do I put my foot down and say NO, or do I respect the fact that it's his family?

CatMandu Fri 24-Oct-08 09:47:27

YABU I'm afriad, I appreciate it's a long journey, but your MIL has lost her father and is grieving. If it's what she wants then I think you should respect her wishes. It won't cause any harm to your daughter. I do understand how you feel, but I think it's just one of those family situations where you have to bite your tongue.

misshardbroom Fri 24-Oct-08 09:49:02

I completely understand where you're coming from with this, and in that respect, no, YANBU. But I always feel that in the case of a funeral, all best are off, and you need to respect the wishes of the bereaved, however inappropriate or inconvenient they are to you.

Is there any chance that you could say to your MIL that it's fine, you'll bring her to the funeral, but you really don't feel its fair to a child of 2 to subject her to that journey twice in one week, so you won't come at the weekend?

BoysAreLikeZombies Fri 24-Oct-08 09:49:23

Why not take her, and the two of you not attend the church/formalities but meet DH and the rest of the family at the wake afterwards?

I can see why having a young memeber of the family around would be comforting - a symbol, if you like, of the family continuing.

Is there any way that you could stay overnight, as a long car journey is not ideal.

LilRedWGoreandguts Fri 24-Oct-08 09:51:15

I totally see where you are coming from, but I'm afraid that you are going to have to suck it up and smile.

Your MIL has lost her Dad and if your DD helps to make her smile then that is a wonderful gift that it is in your power to give. Yes, DD will be tired, but with any luck she'll sleep on the way home. Maybe, you could take a little walk with DD during the actual service if you really don't want her there, but to be fair you could probably get away with taking her some colouring to do or a book and letting her sit on the floor and play quietly.

wannaBe Fri 24-Oct-08 09:51:16

I would put my foot down. Totally inappropriate for such a young child to be at a funeral IMO.

And it is not your mil's decision - your dd is not the entertainment.

filz Fri 24-Oct-08 09:52:40

nothing wrong with taking children to funerals. I think yabu, sorry

cupchar Fri 24-Oct-08 09:53:46

yanbu - but imho you should take her as she represents hope & that life continues in the family. Can you stay at a relatives house for her to rest before the wake.

filz Fri 24-Oct-08 09:53:54

mil and her father would find it 'comfortiong' wannabe, thats not the same as 'entertainment'hmm

Twiglett Fri 24-Oct-08 09:53:55

I actually don't think it is inappropriate for children to be at a funeral

I think it is totally appropriate

But I can see why you wouldn't want to make the trip twice

compo Fri 24-Oct-08 09:54:52

I think if they are determined you go then make the funeral into the trip to see MIL.
Only one journey of that distance is reasonable.

loobeylou Fri 24-Oct-08 09:57:26

are you concerened more about the tiring journey or her behaviour during the funeral? funerals are not usually long services and I am sure you can keep DD entertained/quiet long enough (snacks, stickers, new crayon set). If she is restless at a crucial moment, then obviously you would need to take her out

I can totally see your point and agree with misshardbroom that the compromise would be NOT doing the same long journey again at the weekend.

looking from your dh's POV, he has lost his grandad, some of the "history" of his family, it is natural for him to want the comfort of his dd there and think about the "future" of his family.

Your dd is too young to be traumatised/upset by the funeral as she will not understand. But children are a great tonic in those situations. A smile / hug from a child is often the best medicine!

It is your decision, and you and your DH have to come to an agreement, it is not MILs decision to make. I don't agree that it is up to your DD to be the distraction. Could you go and let your DH go to the funeral without you and DD?

When my Gran died, we went to Scotland from Germany for the funeral but my Mum organised friends of hers to look after the DC during the actual service. I felt they were too young to understand and would only get upset seeing everyone crying.

Mum picked them up after the service and took them to the wake.

BoffinMum Fri 24-Oct-08 09:57:36

I think you've got to go along with her really. Anyway, one day you might have just lost your dad and be glad of seeing your own grandchildren. It's the best thing you can do to help at a difficult time.

Can I suggest something for the car journey? We recently invested in a portable DVD player for the kids to enjoy in the back seat and it has saved many agonies on long trips.

VinegArghhhWasStabbedInTheTits Fri 24-Oct-08 09:57:40

Agree with wannabe, actually, there is no need for a 2yr old to attend a funeral, especially the church service, i can understand your mil wanting her there for comfort, but its about what is best for your dd not what is best for your mil im afraid.

mazzystartled Fri 24-Oct-08 09:58:22

do you think she will cope with the service? [the sitting still and being quiet?] if not, then just take her to the wake.

re the trip, can you just stay over from Wednesday for a few days? two trips is too much i agree, but i am sure mil will really value having you there.

PsychoAxeMurdererMum Fri 24-Oct-08 09:59:22

I am not sure why it is inappropriate for a child to be at a funeral personally. surely death is part of our lives anyway and so they should be included......same as weddings in factwink.

all my children went to their great grandmothers funeral back in May and I wouldn;t have had it any different (nor would MIL.....it was her mum). I wanted to be there for my DH's sake, and the children are part of her family....in fact, without GGM there would not have been a family, and so they were included.

I do accept that this is my opinion tho, and not in keeping with others.

she is your child, and really, you should do as you see best. be sure that whatever decision you make tho is not one you will later regret.

and am sorry for your loss

WhereWolfTheWildThingsWere Fri 24-Oct-08 10:00:44

Is there not a way that you could go this weekend and just stay until after the funeral?

Your MIL would be incredibly grateful I'm sure, could you/Dh get compasionate leave from work?

I can understand not wanting to take her to the actual funeral, but I can't see why you don't want her there for the rest of the time.

The car journey is something children have to get used to. Can you not travel at night so she can sleep?.

We have to travel regually to IL's (6 hours away) btw and always begin the journey at bedtime.

souroldtrout Fri 24-Oct-08 10:01:01

You sound really hostile and angry. Is there some awful history with your DH's family?

If not, I think YABU. You should go -perhaps stay over from the weekend. Your MIL has lost her dad - a bit of compassion might be in order. Your daughter will be fine.

auntyspan Fri 24-Oct-08 10:01:41

For those people who think it's appropriate for DD to go, how can I explain to her why there are so many people there she loves (MIL. FIL, DH) who are upset and crying? I thought of the "saying goodbye" to someone tack but (for other reasons) she's being very sensitive about being left at the moment, and I don't want her to think everytime I say "goodbye" I"m not going to come back...?

edam Fri 24-Oct-08 10:02:15

I'm with you, completely unreasonable of MIL to demand the presence of her 2yo granddaughter at a funeral. Completely different situation if the parents of a small child decide to take him or her. Not up to others to insist.

BUT although she's unreasonable, do you think insisting on your right to decide will lead to a big row and festering resentment? Might be better to put up with it for now.

auntyspan Fri 24-Oct-08 10:03:07

I'm certainly not angry and hostile. I don't want to put my daughter through a long car journey for her to be paraded in front of a group of grieving relatives "to make them feel better". I would feel exactly the same if it was my grandfather.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 24-Oct-08 10:05:16

I don't think it's inappropriate for children to be at funerals. And I do think there is something very lovely actually about having great grandchildren at the funeral of a great grandparent. My DH's grandmother's funeral was rather well done I thought. There was a short service at the crematorium, which DH went to while the children and I walked around the gardens, then lunch, then a memorial service in which the children the took part. It was a great celebration of a long life.

souroldtrout Fri 24-Oct-08 10:06:32

I would do minimal explanation. Don't used words like 'passed away' or 'say goodbye'. Explain very simply that Great Grandad has died and so we are all sad. At that age she won't really remember that sadness, I don't think (my daughter doesn't - similar circs).

Your MIL and DH would so appreciate her being there. At my Grandpa's funeral recently we had all six great grandchildren (ages 6 months - 10yrs) and it made the day so very much better.

filz Fri 24-Oct-08 10:06:57

dont let her go then

I dont know why you even bothered asking

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