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DH's son has raised a doubt in my mind ...

(19 Posts)
Carla Wed 09-Feb-05 22:23:31

Is 5 and 6 too young to go to a funeral (his mother's)?

beansprout Wed 09-Feb-05 22:26:48

Is that their grandmother? (sorry, am tired!)

It's a personal decision but I wasn't allowed to my nan's funeral and it took me a long time to accept she had gone. Dsd went to both her grandparents' funerals and was ok (in the way that children can often just go with something). I say that as I don't really know what is best, but can only pass on my experience.

I think it is important to say that I don't think there is a right or wrong decision though. If they don't go, could they mark her death in some other way?

Chandra Wed 09-Feb-05 22:27:13

I was going to say that it was OK if it was his mother but then I thought it should be terrible for a kid to see how the coffin is lowered into the earth. Anyways, I don't know what are the funerals practices in England but at least, would it be possible to organise something for him in order to say good bye. Lots of hugs to your DH's son

beansprout Wed 09-Feb-05 22:29:12

Or is it a cremation? They seem to be a bit easier (IYKWIM).

Gwenick Wed 09-Feb-05 22:30:03

I guess it depends on the child. I think some 5/6yrs olds have a better 'understanding' of death than others.

Aero Wed 09-Feb-05 22:32:28

I think it depends very much on the child in general and their understanding of death and also their need to say goodbye - and in the case of it being his mother, then I don't think it's too young, but have no experience in this department with such immediate family. We took ds to my grandfathers funeral when he was only 13months - mostly because we felt he was as much part of the family as anyone else and my grandfather was very fond of him. Think at 5 or 6, I'd have discussed it with him and let him choose whether to go or not. But if it were one of us, I'm absolutely sure my 6yo would want/need to be there.

Carla Wed 09-Feb-05 22:36:49

Yes, it's a cremation. I asked fully expecting him to say 'yes of course' (dds adored his mother and she them) but he said 'only you know'. Thinking about it, I'm even beginning to wonder if I should be there, given the number of conservative cronies attending who will no doubt blame the breakdown of their marriage on me. But we were good friends.

Slinky Wed 09-Feb-05 22:44:24

Hmmm - difficult one. I think I probably would in this case due to it being their mother.

I didn't take my 5yo or 7yo to my Aunts on Monday, and was reluctant to take my 9yo (she has several issues with death anyway) but she begged and begged.

She was fine at the service. I explained what was going to happen beforehand. We went round to the graveyard (it was a burial) and she became very upset. I did ask if she wanted to watch at that point (my brothers girlfriend offered to take her for a walk) but she wanted to stay.

I'm glad she went in hindsight, so is she.

(As an aside, I wouldn't take a baby/toddler - a woman (no idea who she was!) was sat at the back, and her child cried and sometimes screamed all the way through the service - very p**ed off - particularly as my cousin got up to say a few words (which he found very difficult anyway) and had to keep stopping and starting whilst the "little darling" at the back kept crying!!

Gwenick Wed 09-Feb-05 22:45:02

Carla - if (as you say) you had a good relationship with her stuff what the old cronies say! I doubt very much they'll say anything on the day - that would just be downright rude!

Caligula Wed 09-Feb-05 23:10:58

I can't imagine that a funeral will be any more upsetting for them than the actual death, and may actually help them to come to terms with it.

IMO a child is only too young to go to a funeral because of age per se, if s/he is under about 3. Even an advanced 3 year old can get some sense of solemnity and "goodbye" from a funeral if the relative is close enough.

JulieF Thu 10-Feb-05 00:04:41

It really depends on the family. I was given the choice whether to go to my grandad's funeral when I was 15 but I was given the job of looking after my nanna who wasn't up to going to the graveside.

My brother who was 10 wasn't allowed to go. He was quite an emotional child and my mum felt that she would not be able to cope with both my dad and him if they both got upset. My dad took the whole thing badly.

My cousins attended their mother's funeral aged 6 and 7. I think it was very hard on them but they needed to be there. I think it would have been easier without the weeping and wailing from some quite unrelated people though!

jabberwocky Thu 10-Feb-05 00:37:43

I think he should go. Funerals are rituals to help with closure. I missed the funeral of an ex-boyfriend (long tragic story) and dreamed of him for years and years, very hard to reconcile that he was really gone.

JanH Thu 10-Feb-05 09:11:34

Carla, I had to read your posts about 3 times to work out who this is about - your DH's first wife and her grown-up son?

But your DDs and you all had a good relationship with her? What does your DH think? Is he going?

FWIW I don't think I would take them, actually - however fond they were of her, she is no more relation to them than any other friend of yours, and I don't think most people would take small children to an adult friend's funeral, let alone one where there is emotional baggage and some of the people there might be tactless/upset enough to say things you would all regret.

Slinky Thu 10-Feb-05 09:44:44

I think I misread the "relationship" of the children to the deceased. I thought it was the childrens' mother who had died.

Carla Thu 10-Feb-05 10:12:49

I'm sorry - I just reread my original post and it's about as clear as mud. Yes, JahH, you're right - DH's grown up son and it's his mother (DH's ex) that died.

DH is going, along with his daughter and son. Would it be acceptable to take the children just to the wake then? DH spoke to his son this am and son expressed some reticence about them being old enough. I heard DH say 'Why, have you got a problem with them being there then?' So now I just don't know what to do. DH thinks it will be fine (dd2 sat through an hour and a half funeral service last year in church when she had just turned 4).

Jan, are you suggesting if you were me you wouldn't go yourself? If I go, should I sit at the back and not with DH and his children? If I don't go, will people wonder why and make something of that, and will DH's first children be offended/wonder why. I do want to go. I'm just all of a dither now and need a voice of reason ....

JanH Thu 10-Feb-05 10:28:57

Well, it's a complicated situation, Carla! I was going by what you said about "I'm even beginning to wonder if I should be there, given the number of conservative cronies attending who will no doubt blame the breakdown of their marriage on me" - not knowing the personalities involved it's really hard to say.

Could you talk to DH's son again and find out what he thinks - it may really just be that he thinks they are too young, in which case you can tell him about the other funeral they went to and that they were fine there. If he is OK with you and them being there then everybody else should be too. But if there is more to it then you can think again? HTH

SofiaAmes Thu 10-Feb-05 22:52:34

Hang on, let me see if I got this straight. Are you talking about taking your (and your dh's) 5 and 6 year old to your dh's ex's funeral? If that's the case, and your stepson (the deceased's son) has suggested that he thinks your children may be too young, I would NOT bring the children to the funeral. Whether or not YOU think your children are old enough to handle it, it's not really your sorrow or your loss and if the child of the deceased has expressed even an inkling of doubt about the presence of your children, I would not bring them out of courtesy. He may truly only be concerned about their age, or he may actually not want them there for a deeper more complicated reason that he either realizesor only feels subconciously. People really go funny around death and all sorts of perceived (rather than actual) slights seem to arise and cloud otherwise happy minds and relationships.
Perhaps you could sit and write a nice handmade condolence card with your children, or do a collage with pictures of the deceased to give to their stepsiblings as a way of marking the death.
If I have gotten all the relationships wrong, then please ignore my advice as it probably isn't applicable.

JanH Thu 10-Feb-05 22:55:40

Yes, you have it straight, Sofia - it's what I thought too. The handmade condolence card is a lovely idea.

Carla Fri 11-Feb-05 06:59:19

Thank you soooo much for your sound advice. It was just one of those situations - I don't know if this will make sense - where it felt so important to get it right and yet because it was so important I couldn't 'stand out of myself' and see it from a rational point of view.

Anyhow, a wonderful mum at school who I briefly touched upon this subject with offered to pick them up today and take them back to her house for a play with her children. Needless, to say dds jumped at this opportunity. Thank goodness.

I'll collect them from her house after the service and take them to the wake - I'm certain that will be ok????

Once again, thanks so much for your sound advice. It made such perfect sense when I read it. XX

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