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Should I take my children to the funeral or not?

(16 Posts)
MamaVikki Wed 13-Jun-18 10:27:15

I’m looking for your opinions please. I’m feeling very lost on this. Our closest friends teenage daughter has died in tragic circumstances. We are completely devastated. My children are finding it very difficult to come to terms with and have all struggled in different ways. We are trying to support them as best we can (this is the long story cut short) - I am now at a loss as to know what to do about the funeral. My children are 14, 12 and 10. My 14 year old is adamant he wants to go. My 12 & 10 year old girls are one minute wanting to go, the next not so sure. As parents we feel we should be guiding them to the right decision but I don’t know what this? In fact there’s probably no right or wrong but I would really appreciate hearing your opinions? I don’t know whether going will be too traumatic for them or not going will make them feel that they missed their chance to say goodbye. When I described what to expect at the funeral they cried. I'm wondering if we go with our son and do a separate special goodbye with the girls. What do you think? Please help?

Potentialmadcatlady Wed 13-Jun-18 10:36:03

At that age I would encourage them to go. It is incredibly sad and I would explain/explain and explain some more that feeling sad/upset/distraught is totally acceptable and normal. In other I believe they need to feel the pain then in time they need to be helped to carry on. Too much damage is done when we try to ignore ‘sadness’..
I am very very sorry for your loss

MargoLovebutter Wed 13-Jun-18 10:42:47

Firstly, I'm so sorry to hear what you are all going through.

The funeral will be very hard, but it may also help them come to terms with their grief and realise that they are not alone in that grief. It is also a way to say goodbye to the person who died, with all the other people who knew and loved her. Everyone comes together to acknowledge that this was an awful thing that happened and mourn the loss.

Obviously you don't want to force children to go, but if they can, I think it may be a good thing. Get all those tears and sadness out and recognise it all.

paap1975 Wed 13-Jun-18 10:48:56

I'm so sorry. Let your kids decide and let them change their minds as many times as they need to.
Maybe explain that funerals can be a helpful step in the process of saying goodbye. But also say that if they prefer to say goodbye in their own way, then that is fine too.
Good luck!

Shiftymake Wed 13-Jun-18 10:50:01

There is something about saying goodbye and showing it is OK to morn and reflect on the person who has passed away. The funerals are for the living, for us to say goodbye to the person that has passed away and share with others that are feeling the same grief.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Wed 13-Jun-18 10:54:20

Condolences OP. I was refused permission to go to funerals at similar ages and I think that was the wrong decision and damaging. I think attitudes to children's grief have changed a bit since then, thankfully. One of my own DC has recently attended a funeral for the first time, and although difficult and upsetting it was definitely the right decision. I would say that you know your own DCs best, but unless you have any particular concerns, I would guide them to attend. Don't force them to, obviously, but encourage it. I think it is an important part of the grieving process.

2blueshoes Wed 13-Jun-18 11:10:56

At these ages, it would be ok for them to go to a funeral. I'd let them decide but explain what a funeral entails first.

AideenPlayTherapist Wed 13-Jun-18 12:48:27

I'm so sorry for you loss.

Whether or not to bring your children to a funeral can be a difficult decision. I support many of the comments that others have made about encouraging your children to attend. Undoubtedly there will be lots of grief and it will be a difficult day, however the process of sharing that grief with others, celebrating a life and having a chance to say goodbye is a very important part of mourning and healing after a loss.

I would encourage the children to attend, tell them that you think it will be helpful for them to be there, but ultimately leave the decision up to them. It can be very hard to parent a grieving child when you are grieving yourself, but try to talk about what to expect and prepare them for the experience as much as possible. And keep talking about it afterwards.

It might also be worthwhile appointing someone else who will be there (and perhaps wasn't as close to the friend that you've lost) who can be a backup support for the girls if you are struggling yourself on the day, or if they need to step out and have a break.

Havetothink Sun 17-Jun-18 09:43:44

I would take them, it's natural to be upset at funerals but it's also part of saying goodbye and part of life unfortunately.

Steeley113 Sun 17-Jun-18 10:19:55

I’m in 2 minds, I went to the funeral of a teenaged friend when I was also a teenager and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Seeing her mum so utterly devastated broke my heart and I will never forget it. I’ve been to lots of funerals including a still borns but here was still the most traumatic. I wouldn’t want my children to feel that way but I also think it would be incredibly difficult to say no if they wanted to. I’d be very honest with them about how sad and difficult they are and just hope they decide not to go and do something separate instead.

TittyGolightly Sun 17-Jun-18 10:26:04

I would take them, it's natural to be upset at funerals but it's also part of saying goodbye and part of life unfortunately.

This. DD attended her first funeral at 6 months, another at almost 4 and this year at 7. All very different services and approaches, but all very important in dealing with the grief and understanding that death is part of life and we need to be grateful for the time we have with loved ones.

I’d absolutely be encouraging teenagers to attend.

flissypix Sun 17-Jun-18 19:24:27

Really sorry for your loss. My dds went to the funeral of their very very close friend he was 11 last year they were aged 10 and 7. It was really tough but the correct decision. my mum was there and my Dds sat with her near the back, I was sat with his mum as I gave part of the eulogy and my dh was a pallbearer. The church was packed with friends, teachers and other parents who were all crying. I actually thought it was good for my girls for them to see others upset firstly to let them know it’s ok to feel like that and secondly so they could see how important their friends was and how much he meant to so many people. They coped with it really well.

BorisHair Sun 17-Jun-18 19:46:37

So sorry to read this.

In your position I would be encouraging DC to make their own decisions and let them change their minds as many times as they need to. I agree that sometimes we need to go to funerals, to mourn and to say goodbye to loved ones. However, you can say goodbye in a number of ways and if they choose not to go to the funeral they could walk quietly in the gardens, say a few words of their own or even go to a favourite place with friends.

My only thought is that given the circumstances the funeral is likely to be more upsetting than that of, for example, an elderly relative who naturally came to the end of their life. I would explain that to the DC so that they are not surprised that may adults could be very upset.

I agree with a PP who suggested taking another friend who could stay outside with the DC if it gets too much or if they decide at the last minute that they don't want to go in.

MamaVikki Wed 20-Jun-18 10:43:38

I wanted to thank you all for replying to my message. I really appreciated you taking the time. We talked & talked & talked and I'm pleased that each of my children made their own decisions separately. Like I said in my original post I don't think there is a wrong or right answer to this. The girls decided not to go but while the funeral was happening they went to a different church with their grandma and lit a candle and said prayers. Our youngest cried but I think our middle daughter is bottling a lot up. Would it have been better for her to come to the funeral? That I don't know and we can't change things now. My son came to the funeral which was totally heartbreaking and he coped as best he could. 2 days later and he is still quite teary and emotional but I don't feel it was wrong that he came. Like some of you have said, life can be hard, and this is one of those moments in life which we just can't change.
Anyway, thank you for all your kind words xxx

MargoLovebutter Wed 20-Jun-18 11:22:00

Glad it all worked out MamaVikki. There is no getting away from how tough a funeral like that will be. Hope you are ok too.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Wed 20-Jun-18 18:37:12

Hi again OP. I think the fact that you talked so much will really have helped them begin to understand and come to terms with loss. Not just this one, but for the future. They know that grief is individual, support is important and feelings shouldn't be brushed under the carpet either. Well done OP, and I hope you're doing OK. flowers

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