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funeral on dd1's 7th bitrthday

(24 Posts)
jenhden Mon 03-Aug-09 22:05:26

we are a really close family and my grandma (who i am especially close to) really wants me to take my 3dc to her sisters funeral and i think my mum would like my support as her death has been a massive shock to everyone - but it falls on dd1s 7th birthday.

when i reminded my gran she told me that there would be cocktail sausages and other party type food etc at the wake and we could stop at a cafe on the way home to celebrate it!

my dd was already scared at the idea of going but now i've said we won't go i feel like i'm abandoning my gran and mum just when they need me - but what does it say to my dd1 if i leave her on her birthday or make her go to it?
is it unreasonable to go or not go?

5inthebed Mon 03-Aug-09 22:09:08

Can't you leave your DC with someone while you go to the funeral, and then do something with your DD afterwards? I'm not one for chilren going to funerals.

So sorry for your loss.

Geocentric Mon 03-Aug-09 22:11:20

I agree with 5inthebed...

What a difficult situation. sad

EyeballsintheSky Mon 03-Aug-09 22:11:34

I wouldn't take the children but arrange something really nice for your dd when you get back, however much you might not feel like it.

PortBlacksandResident Mon 03-Aug-09 22:14:01

Ah 5inthebed you see, i'm the other way. Life, death, birthdays etc. - it's all one big tapestry. Although obviously if it is a sudden or young death i can see why not - but a sad passing of an old lady is different.

Think how much you lot being there will cheer your grandma up - who will be thinking about her own mortality that day too.

Why is Dd scared at the idea of going? If you explain she's not going to see anything gruesome and that she gets a meal after she might be fine.

blametheparents Mon 03-Aug-09 22:14:55

Gosh, what a difficult situation.

It is quite clear that the idea of cocktail sausages at a wake by no means makes it suitable for a child! And it is not a nice way to spend your 7th birthday, esp as she is scared of the idea of going.

I think I would be tempted to say that I could not make it.

Or, would it be possible for your DP to have your DD and then you go to the funeral and join them later?

It sounds to me like your family want your DD to be there in oart so taht the mood will be lightened at the wake. But this is not a good reason to take your DD along.

good luck with whatever you decide.

FWIW - I would not take my DD but would try my best to attend the funeral itself alone.

MrsKitty Mon 03-Aug-09 22:18:21

I agree with previous posters - Best option for everyone, I think, would be for you to go alone & celebrate with DD when you return (Surely you needn't stay for the whole wake?)

I do think it would be unreasonable of you, or your family, to insist that your DD attends - particularly as she has already expressed a fear of attending. I don't think young children should be taken to funerals unless they express a wish to do so.

MmeLindt Mon 03-Aug-09 22:18:30

When my Granny died we asked a friend to look after the DC during the actual ceremony and just took them to the wake. I felt that they were still too young to go to a funeral.

Would that be an option for you?

Still makes it hard for your DD though, I think that I might be inclined to not go. At the end of the day, however much your mum and Granny would like your support, they are adults. Your DD is just a child.

What does your mum say?

pinkthechaffinch Mon 03-Aug-09 22:22:18

I'm taking my 7 year old ds to his step-gran's funeral tomorrow. I think if it had fallen on his birthday, I would have arranged for my parents to look after him.
I'm all for DC's attending funerals though, they need to be able to say goodbye just as adults do, and the formalised ritual of a funeral can equally help them IMO.

jenhden Mon 03-Aug-09 22:25:20

sorry should have explained that i would leave them if it was local but its a 3 hour drive away so i'm torn. i agree that children should be part of every stage of life and if it was the day after of before i would have taken them and stayed in a hotel but it just seems really harsh to drag her around the country.

5inthebed Mon 03-Aug-09 22:25:22

PortBlacksandResident, you do raise quite a good point about it cheering the Op's grandmother up.

Would you be able to take the kids to the wake, if like me, you don't think your kids should go to the actual funeral.

I would say that a birthday is just a birthday, and another comes around the same time every year, and that she won't remember it....but my sister has had two deaths and a funeral on her birthday three years in succession, and always talks about them when she wants people to feel sorry for her. Obviously not saying your DD would be like this though (my sister is a bit of a drama queen)

sweetkitty Mon 03-Aug-09 22:28:37

My MIL died 2 weeks ago very suddenly. It was the day before DP's birthday, 2 days before DD3's birthday and 7 days before DD1's, we switched the funeral days so DD1 could still have her party on the Friday as MIL would have been mad with us if we cancelled, so party Friday funeral Saturday, we took the DDs to the wake afterwards with us as there were a lot of family there that wanted to see them and I think they lightened a sad day a bit.

5inthebed Mon 03-Aug-09 22:30:10

Sorry, Jenhden, didn't realise you were travelling such a long way.

I would definitely give it a miss if that is the case. Could you visit the day before or after with the DC?

SecretNinjaChipmunk Mon 03-Aug-09 22:30:21

will the funeral be a sombre affair or will it be a celebration of her life? i think that would make all the difference.
if you took the time to explain to dd how much it would do for her relatives emotionally that she be there would she change her mind? and then possibly chip off early and plan something nice to do that afteroon/ next day just for dd?

EyeballsintheSky Mon 03-Aug-09 22:31:47

But if she has already expressed a fear... I was taken to my grandfather's wake in Ireland when I was about the same age. I remember very clearly being taken up to the open coffin and made to kiss him and I will never forget that. If your daughter has already shown, what is a perfectly natural response then I really wouldn't push her, particularly on that day. I think your dd has to come first. There will presumably be other family members to look after your grandmother.

What an awful decision to have to make

pollyblue Mon 03-Aug-09 22:41:14

Could you explain to your dd how much your Mum and Grandma really need your support and how kind and mature it would be of your dd to be without you for her actual birthday? Could you arrange to have a special day together, perhaps the day after or the following weekend?

I think 7 is a little too young to go to a funeral she's expressed anxiety about, I wouldn't force her, but i think she's old enough to understand that it's a sad time for other people in her family and they would really appreciate you being there.

paranoidmother Mon 03-Aug-09 22:46:55

Does your DD know what is going to happen at a funeral? Is she worried because she thinks it is going to be something it isn't?

Whatever you choose to do I wonder whether it is a good time to just have a chat in case this is what is worrying her. Does she think that you might have to see the body? I use to think this as a child, it was years before I found out that most funerals you don't.

Toffeepopple Tue 04-Aug-09 09:06:29

In our family birthdays were (and are) shifted round to suit what else is going on. There is no reason if a birthday in on a certain day, it can't be celebrated the next day or the next week.

So I would say in answer to "what does it say to my dd1 if I leave her on her birthday" it says to her that - her birthday can be celebrated another day, another way. And also that you all value supporting family members in time of need.

In terms of going to the funeral, will your DH be there? Is there a side chapel he could sit in with them if it got too much? Or is there somewhere nice he could take them during the service then meet you at the wake.

My DS was not able to go to a funeral when he was three, as children were expressly not invited. He really felt emotionally strange that the adults got to say goodbye and he didn't. So that may be something else to think through.

There is a useful link here on helping children decide whether to attend a funeral:
www.winstonswish.org.uk/page.asp?section=00010001000200110005

Good luck. It is not a nice dilemma to have at all.

gagamama Tue 04-Aug-09 09:48:54

I think the scary part of a funeral for a child isn't the death, it's the grief of adults around them. Are your family very emotional? It is likely that there will be lots of tears? I appreciate that the DCs being there might lighten the mood, but if it brings down the DCs in the process, I'm afraid I'd find that unacceptable.

Also, were your DCs close to your great aunt? I think if you know the person well, your thoughts turn to the living person at the funeral - if you don't know them well, they're more likely to think about the corpse, about dying and about grief - things which are likely to spook them.

I think the birthday issue is neither here nor there, lots of parents have to spend most of the day away from their DCs on their birthdays because of work, or the child has to go to school, etc on their birthday. I think the issue is really whether they should go to the funeral.

MANATEEequineOHARA Tue 04-Aug-09 10:05:39

How awkward. My dc's went to their Great-Grandad's funeral a few months ago, it was all fine, the service is not that long. And now, sometime soon, they will have to go to there Dad's funeral . Which will be awful, but possibly less so that they know the concept of death. I don't think it should be hidden from children, I personally think you should go, and your dc's. As someone else said, it is all part of the tapestry of life, and unless there is a huge amount of travelling involved, there is plenty more time in the day to celebrate her birthday in the way she wishes.

ShauntheSheep Tue 04-Aug-09 11:12:25

I think at 7 she is old enough to understand that birthdays do not have to be celebrated on the day and that things happen which means we have to change plans. I think that you should go as it is very important to your family to be there to support them.

Why is she scared of going to the funeral? What does she think will happen there? I personally think that it is important that children be part of all family events and that includes funerals however I would not insist that a child goes if they really do not want to go.

ipiratethief Tue 04-Aug-09 11:19:04

God, difficult one.

I wouldn't go, a round trip of 6 hours, plus the funeral, on my dd's birthday? yet I am taking into account that my family would probably not insist I go.

Hmm, saying that, I might go on my own, plan something for dd to do with friends, or partner. Then do something in the early evening, go out for tea or cinema. Not easy.

LIZS Tue 04-Aug-09 11:19:21

dd is about a year older and tbh I would n't want her to have that memory of her b'day, especially given that she is reluctant anyway. We've often celebrated on an alternative day due to circumstances. Are your other dc even younger ? Could you mum arrange for a neighbour or local cm to look after them while you attend ?

mosschops30 Tue 04-Aug-09 11:30:15

Jen- am I right in reading that your grandma wants you to take your 3 dcs to her (your grandmas) sisters funeral??

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