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should we tell DD (5) we are going to a funeral?

(12 Posts)
MissPB Thu 21-Jul-11 11:48:46

DHs grandma has died and we are going to the funeral next week. My two daughters will stay with their grandparents (we have to travel a long way to the funeral). My question is - should we tell eldest DD who is 5.2 that we are going to a funeral? she has had phases of asking lots of questions about death and dying so would it be a good thing to tell her or shall we just tell her we have to go out for the day?

I am in two minds because I don't want to worry her iyswim but I also think it might be good for her to know what happens when a person dies......

seeker Thu 21-Jul-11 11:50:13

I can't see why you wouldn't - have you told her that her great grandma has died?

MissPB Thu 21-Jul-11 11:57:02

no not yet - it happened yesterday. DD had never met her great grandma (lived far away) if that makes any difference!

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Thu 21-Jul-11 12:00:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MissPB Thu 21-Jul-11 12:04:09

Yes you are right - this would be a good "introduction" to the idea that people we actually know die and what we do at the funeral and so on. I don't want it to be a secret! she knows that people die because we have talked about my grandma and also her DHs mum (who died a long time ago).

DrCoconut Fri 22-Jul-11 00:32:56

I think that children deal with the facts of death in the way that it is taught to them (the emotional fall out from a traumatic bereavement is obviously an additional concern but that doesn't seem to be the OP's situation). So if you explain in an age appropriate and non alarmist manner a child will pick up that while it is sad it is normal and also that it won't be happening to their immediate family any time soon (unless you know someone is ill then it becomes a different matter). I went to my first funeral at the age of 2. I went to my dad's memorial service after he died when I was 6. I just accepted that the people had died. With hindsight losing two relatives at a young age maybe made me a bit weird since other kids had their parents panicking about how to explain what had happened to the goldfish while I was visiting the crematorium as a matter of fact! My dad had a massive emotional impact on me, that took years to show its full effect. Some people felt I should have been "protected" more but I don't feel that being shielded from what happened would have made it better, in fact it would probably have made it worse. A few years ago as an adult I went to see my grandma after she died and in a weird way it was beneficial. I guess I have just learned to confront death head on. Not saying I recommend it for children who are not ready for it though. Anyway, I have digressed somewhat but felt it was needed to show where my stance on the subject came from. In a roundabout way I'm saying that I feel age and experience appropriate honesty is the best policy. But it has to be the parents' decision based on what they feel is right. You know your child best and how any explanation is likely to go. Sorry it's been a bit long.

LadyDamerel Fri 22-Jul-11 00:38:29

I'm just going through this with my 3 as my Grandpa died last week. There's my thread here asking about taking them to the chapel of rest - the last post is what happened this afternoon when we went.

Basic summary is that they all dealt with it amazingly well and I honestly think it has removed so many of the misconceptions and imaginings they had about 'death' and what is means when someone is dead.

They all knew Grandpa well so it's a bit different but I would really recommend being very upfront and matter of fact about it. It is surprising how easily they accept it if you don;t make a big deal of it.

manchestermummy Sat 23-Jul-11 11:43:59

Sorry for your loss sad

Please do tell her. My grandmother died when DD1 was 3 and I explained why mummy was sad. I didn't go to the funeral (was 39 week pg at the time and it was on a different continent) but had that been an option, I would have told her where I was going and why. I would have thought (and my two are younger, btw, so I may be off the mark here) that it would be better to learn about this from you - i.e. someone she can trust - than the playground.

UniS Mon 25-Jul-11 22:22:32

yes tell her, tell both of them. it all helps kids understand that death is a normal thing at the end of a life.

DS lost 3 great grandmothers in less than 12 months. 1st funeral ( pretty formal, DH doing eulogy) he didn't go to but did go to family tea afterwards, 2nd funeral he didn;t go to at all ( small family affair followed by pub lunch no children present) 3rd time he didn;t go to teh crem ( formal, I did a reading) abut did come to the memorial service ( informal, lots of people all ages, tea and cake after). In each case we made the choice of his going or not based on what would be right for him AND other family members.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Jul-11 07:00:23

I would tell them both. Death is a normal part of life and DCs are interested in it, it is adults who find it difficult.

notevenamousie Tue 26-Jul-11 07:13:17

Definitely tell her. It will help her no end in the long term - why do you think so many adults are messed up about death? Because our parents couldn't or wouldn't deal with us honestly about it - that was I know more the way things were then. No excuse for it now I don't think though.

pseudonomic Tue 26-Jul-11 07:20:09

Yes tell her. Kids understand a lot more than we give them credit for and it will be VERY confusing if you don't.

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