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DS4 and going to funeral

(15 Posts)
Greydiddi Sun 25-Sep-16 16:35:41

I'm sorry for asking again as I am sure this has been done before but was just looking for some advice, as I am struggling to decide what to do.

My DDad was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer 2 months ago and now is in very final stages ( probably a week at most). We live 8 hours away and have DS 4 and 2. I went up to see my dad and my mum has asked if I will be bringing DSs to the funeral.

I'm really not sure what to do. My DS is 4, just started school. He is quite close to my dad despite the distance and I have told him what is happening - so to the extent he can he understands he will die soon. He has been asking to see him a lot but my Dad doesn't want this. He is a very, very sensitive boy and I'm concerned the funeral may be too much for him - he wouldn't know anyone except my mum and sister, it is in two locations the wake so lots of travelling ( and travelling to get there as well). I was thinking if he didn't go we could do a little family goodbye a few weeks later in my parents garden, or mine, maybe releasing a balloon and saying goodbye ( he has a thing about saying goodbye).

But against this I didn't know if it was better for children to go to funerals to help them grieve? I missed out on my best friends funeral when I was little and I found that very difficult. Equally however I found seeing the adults grief prior to that funeral very frightening and it had a profound impact on me.

I just can't decide. My DM hasn't expressed any thoughts either way when asked, although I feel she might prefer them not to go.

Sorry that was long! If anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it.

Paffle Sun 25-Sep-16 16:46:48

I don't have an answer to your actual question (except to say that you need to mourn too and it may not be that easy with a 4yo there, but I've heard contrary opinions and I think each to their own personally). But I do recommend a book called Mr Badger's Parting Gifts as a way of helping kids to understand a bit about death. Downside is that adult reading it to child usually ends up sobbing about halfway through.

flowersflowersflowersfor the tough time ahead.

Greydiddi Sun 25-Sep-16 16:51:12

Thank you Paffle yes I do have that book for him, but must confess I have mainly asked my nanny or DH to read it with him as I find it too difficult sad

BackforGood Sun 25-Sep-16 16:57:13

I don't tend to be in the majority with MNers on this one, but I personally don't think a funeral is a good place for a 4 yr old, a two year old, and - IMO, very importantly, I thin it totally changes the way you are able to grieve because you are constantly looking after them, rather than letting your emotions be released.
I lost 3 members of my immediate family when my dc were this age and they didn't come to the funerals. I am 100% sure that was the right decision for us.

evelynj Sun 25-Sep-16 17:03:00

Tough one. Could the nanny come and look after dc for the service & take him to the graveside or wherever? I find it easier if outdoors to cope with emotions and dc who are emotional.

You'll not really know until the day but agree with pp that you need to grieve too. I'm sorry you're going through this

Greydiddi Sun 25-Sep-16 17:17:43

Thank you all - unfortunately given the distance I think if they didn't come we would need to leave them at home with their nanny. There isn't really anywhere to stay near my parents other than trying find a hotel/self catering ( I don't think my mum wants us staying with her as she mentioned feeling obliged to be more positive when the children are around). I think DS would also be a bit confused as to why he wasn't at my parents.

My DM is very much an introvert so is already worried about the funeral and DSis is not coping at all well ( I have nephew who is 10 who is also struggling), so I am worried about my DS finding seeing others very distressed extremely upsetting. I feel DH and I will need to be able to step in at the funeral, if that makes any sense? The more I think about it the more I wonder if the DC coming will stress my DM actually - that she will feel obliged to try and act differently for them?

I'm just wondering why it is that ( I think) it is now often recommended to take children to funerals?

Paffle Sun 25-Sep-16 17:29:25

It is increasingly thought that they should not be sheltered from mourning and they benefit from the closure as much as adults do. But it does rather overlook the impact on the responsible adult. I thought your idea of doing something separate was a good one.

YouCanShoveYourOtherGranny Tue 27-Sep-16 22:41:57

so sorry you are in this place, but great to make the decisions now while you can think straight. We recently lost our DMil and a best friend/cousin within two weeks of each other, as well as our very elderly cat. 5 year old GS was at both funerals, visited DMil before she died, and was with us to take the cat to the vet for the last hurrah. He coped beautifully, totally behaved and understood when we were distraught, and gave/received hugs appropriately. He seems to have been able to put it all in perspective very well since, and having just got a new brother is seeing what we explained as the 'circle of life' in action. He still sometimes gives me a long look and asks if I am about to be crying again sad

dollylucy Wed 28-Sep-16 21:36:01

i don't think anyone else should advise you if it's suitable.
You know your child and the other family members,stick to your instincts.
My son age 7 didn't attend the actual service for his own father. I felt it would be far too confusing and overwhelming for him and distracting for me and mil.
He did come to the reception afterwards, where we had our own goodbyes and he listened to everyone's stories about his daddy. We did the balloon thing too. There are lots of ways to say goodbye and if you make it clear they can ask questions and answer them honestly, it'll be ok.
Lots of love x

mangomay Wed 28-Sep-16 21:46:37

I'm so sorry OP. My beautiful dad died from pancreatic cancer back in February. It's a horrible thing to be going through and I hope you have lots of support IRL.

My DCs are older, 9 and 7, but they both came to my dads funeral. I wouldn't have had it any other way. Yes, they saw me crying and they were upset too. But I don't think it's something children should necessarily be sheltered from.

Dad died at home and we were all there (DCs too) when it happened. It was very peaceful and gentle, he had been sleeping for the whole day and at about 8pm, he stopped breathing. DC's weren't frightened or traumatised, it showed them that death is a natural thing and not something to be terrified of. Obviously different families have different thoughts on this, but for us it was the right way to go about it. I have no regrets.

I bought them a book when dad became very poorly. It's called Grandad's Island and is the loveliest book about death. But even now I can't read it without crying. Totally worth buying, particularly for smaller kids, but perhaps have a friend or other relative read it to them, because you may find it difficult.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you're getting as much support as possible right now. flowers I hope your darling dads last few weeks are peaceful and pain free. ❤️


My df died when my kids were DS11, DS9, DD5 and I explained to them individually what was involved in the funeral, even showing them the pictures of coffins etc and gave them the choice whether they wanted to come or not, saying it was fine whatever they decided. They all decided to come and although they saw family members upset, they also saw us supporting and hugging each other and celebrating my df's life. There were lots of questions but I'm glad they came. You know your children best. Good luck with whatever you decide x

daydreamnation Wed 28-Sep-16 22:32:58

I think the hardest thing for a young child to deal with at a funeral, is simply seeing the adults they are close to, so visibly upset. I'm not for a minute suggesting you hide your grief from your dcs but obviously a funeral can be full of people understandably pouring out their grief.
So sorry your df is so poorly flowers

BigFatBollocks Thu 29-Sep-16 18:31:11

When my dad died two years ago this Xmas I took my children aged 3, 4 and 8. They too had been there (in a different room mind) when he died. We knew he was going to die so we had already 'had the chat'. Afterwards I asked them if they wanted to see him one last time, and they did. They touched him and kissed him and said good bye. Yes, the funeral was a nightmare for me but he was their grandad who they loved very, very much. I was just honest with them from start to finish.

Sorry for you and your dad.

DoctorBeat Thu 29-Sep-16 22:01:35

When I first got news that my brother had passed away, I thought that I would want my 5 year old dd to go as she loved her uncle and thought she would want to. However she took the news in her stride, and I don't now feel that her going to the funeral is necessary or something she particularly wants to do. I also feel that me and my parents will feel better if she his not there. However every child is different and I think you need to play it by ear.

DancingDinosaur Mon 03-Oct-16 10:41:59

My dc went to their grandfathers funeral at age 4 and 6 and their own fathers funeral age 5 and 7. A friend came with me to help out, which made a big difference. It was good for the children to be part of that so that they could say their goodbyes as well. People were generally pleased to see them there, and the children took the sadness of the adults in their stride.

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