mil doesn't want dc's (5 and 3) at FIL funeral.. apologies for rambling

(18 Posts)
yaddayah Tue 20-Mar-07 16:11:18

My FIL died suddenly on Thursday, he's been ill for some time, but it was still a shock to us all. Mil is ADAMANT she doesn't want any children at the funeral, i'm fine with that .. its her perogative , but how do i explain it to DS (age 5) .. we have told him his grandad is dead, he understands, but refuses to discuss it (other than i'm sad because... my shoulder hurts/my "flowers" have died i want them to live for ever etc etc..

We're not religious, so the up in the sky, gone to heaven idea is something i'm not really comfortable with, i tried a book (the mog one) but he won't look at it, sorry this is rambly, we saw them fil/mil at least twice a week .. he really ws such a huge part of all our lives, that it just seems to poor Dc's that theres no real goodbye

TIA

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laundrylover Tue 20-Mar-07 16:19:19

What sad news.

No advice really as my two went to their Great Nanny's funeral only yesterday. DD1 (3) said 'bye bye Big Nanny' as the curtains closed at the crem and I think the whole experience helped her to understand what has happened. Why not have your own bye bye party?

My mum is a complete convert to having kids at funerals, we never went as kids but she was really keen for her grandkids to go yesterday. Shame about your MIL being so adamant.

sophiewd Tue 20-Mar-07 16:27:03

I looked after a friends two children a few years ago when she went to their Gf's funeral. Again didn't think it was a good idea. We went to a flower shop and got a rose each and went to a river, said a prayer and put the flowers in the river to say goodbye. Their grandfather had had a massive heart attack when fishing. They seemed to appreciate this as they associated their grandfather with fishing and were able to talk about it.

RubyRioja Tue 20-Mar-07 16:31:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bundle Tue 20-Mar-07 16:34:24

my Dad died in November and I was equally adamant that my daughters would go to the funeral (though my sister took the opposite view). They are nearly 4 and 6.5.

I explained that people would be very sad and that they should try to be quiet and respectful in church (which they were) and that their main job was to help Nanny. I told them that they should be quiet too at the crematorium, but that they could make as much noise as they liked at his "party" afterwards, when we had the wake.

I suspect it's a generation thing, and even in some cultures eg my Dad's family were Irish, the women/children hardly ever went to funerals, it just wasn't done.

re: discussing it with your ds, I wouldn't push it but just let him decide at his own pace. my girls have been incredibly supportive to me and I'm really glad I've been open with them about his illness/death.

wishing you strength at this difficult time, especially for your dh, xxx

auntymandy Tue 20-Mar-07 16:38:05

I think older people tend to want to protect children from these things. I wanted my children at my Dads funeral. My brother didnt want his children there. We both did our thing! I think its important for them to say goodbye just as much as it is for us. Children are stronger than we give them credit for and often a great comfort at this time!
Try and talk to Mil if you want them there.

beckybrastraps Tue 20-Mar-07 16:40:13

My dh's grandmother recently died, and my dc stayed outside the crematorium, but went to the thanksgiving service in the church afterwards.

Sophiewd's suggestion is lovely.

EllieG Tue 20-Mar-07 16:41:29

Sorry to hear your sad news.
my step-daughter lost her Mum a couple of years ago (prior to me being on the scene)and wasn't allowed to go to the funeral as was deemed too little (was 6). I noticed a while back that she seemed to be having some trouble dealing with this, and felt that she had not had any sense of 'closure' (if one can) on this happening. We made up a photo/memory album of her and her Mum and Dad and she did some pictures of the things she used to do with her Mummy, because she told me she was worrying she was forgetting her. On mother's day (last year and this year) she made a card and attached it to a heluim balloon to 'send up to Mummy' and on her mother's birthday this year she decided she wanted to plant a tree. This may sound like a lot but it hasn't been really, and by giving her things to mark her memories and a way of expressing her feelings she has been much more able to deal with her grief. It might be that a funeral is not the most appropriate venue for a small child, but it is important that they feel they have marked their loved one's passing too - it enables them to feel their love and care and sadness is also validated. Sorry for waffling.

yaddayah Tue 20-Mar-07 16:43:01

Thanks all

She just says "its not the right place for young children" I completly think thats wrong

i think they should be there, but she's under so much stress, i really don't have the heart to make a big issue out of it ..

The flower is a lovely idea, i think its the DS not talking about it that's freaked me out a bit.. i mean its so obvious he's not here

Also as hes being cremated and the funeral directors will be storing the ashes.. theres not even a place they can visit afterward (mil hasn't decided what she wants to do with "him")

sorry for the babble its just nice to be able to put this down, i can't really speak in RL for fear of upseting people IYKWIM

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bundle Tue 20-Mar-07 16:45:25

yaddayah

don't worry about ds - of course he misses him, it's just children of his age don't fully comprehend the permanence of death (who does???)

I told my girls that my dad didn't need his body any more and that he couldn't feel any pain. they know about the ashes and that my mum wants to scatter them some time in the place where she met him, which is a lovely rambling park where I spent a lot of the happiest days of my childhood, near to where my dad's mum lived.

bluejelly Tue 20-Mar-07 16:46:06

How about taking them to see the grave afterwards?

bundle Tue 20-Mar-07 16:47:29

yaddayah

don't worry about ds - of course he misses him, it's just children of his age don't fully comprehend the permanence of death (who does???)

I told my girls that my dad didn't need his body any more and that he couldn't feel any pain. they know about the ashes and that my mum wants to scatter them some time in the place where she met him, which is a lovely rambling park where I spent a lot of the happiest days of my childhood, near to where my dad's mum lived.

bluejelly Tue 20-Mar-07 16:47:39

I brought my dd aged 3 to my grandmother's funeral but to be honest i wished I'd got a babysitter. She was v wriggly, got nothing out of it and I wasn't able to properly grieve. So I can understand your MIL's feelings

bundle Tue 20-Mar-07 16:47:45

sorry for double post

wheresthevalium Tue 20-Mar-07 16:47:49

A friends father died last year, and his and his brothers children didn't go to the funeral. I think they were all aged between 5-10.

They were taken to his grave a week or so later where they left a letter/card for him from each of them, and took helium filled balloons which they released, so GD could look after them in heaven.

Don't know if this is any help at all, but it sounded like a nice idea to me.

auntymandy Tue 20-Mar-07 16:56:52

will there be a memorial service?

yaddayah Tue 20-Mar-07 17:17:54

Sorry for the delay in replying.. multiple phonecalls

No memorial service but there is a wake in his local pub, am thinking perhaps if dc's went there afterwards for a while, that might be more MIL friendly/give them a "goodbye"

no grave has been planned.. i think eventually we'll scatter his ashes.. he always wanted to be put in the Agean sea (his favorite place) .. possibly a bit of an abstract concept for a 5 year old ?

Thanks for the reassurance (particularly bundle) re ds .. never dealt with this sort of thing before so got a bit panicky !

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yaddayah Tue 20-Mar-07 17:20:41

bluejelly. i hadn't thought of that, i think thats what mil is thinking too

balloons or perhaps a tree.. he loved the garden .. thanks

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