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Son has told me he doesn’t want to visit the graveyard anymore

404 replies

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 17:38

More of a what should I do?
My mum died while I was pregnant and I was just 21. A few weeks later I had my little boy, every week since he was born we’ve visited the graveyard, every Christmas Day we’ve gone after we’ve opened presents.
He’s been brilliant, he openly talks about her and has always wanted to go see ‘ his granny ‘
He started reception in September, this week he asked me about Christmas Day, I said we will do the same as normal open presents and then go see granny with grandad. I was so so so shocked when he said he didn’t want to go anymore. I didn’t want to pressure him into questions so I kind of just brushed over it, were due to go tomorrow and I don’t know wether to or to leave it ?
What is the best way to approach this?
Obviously going to the graveyard gives me so much comfort- I can’t go on my own as I’m a single mum so finding someone to sit in with 2 little ones so I can go isn’t an option.
But I completely understand if it isn’t appealing for a 4 year old. But do I ask why? Do I encourage him to keep going or do I just leave it and take a break?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

900 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Itsallpointless · 07/12/2019 23:29

Oh come on, unfortunately you’re being clouded by your grief


I hope you're not studying to be a counselloryour comment is totally insensitive, your ignorance astounding.

I'll have to stop reading this thread now as I'm getting really cross. @MrsDesireeCarthorse last post was spot on!

GunpowderGelatine · 07/12/2019 23:30

Do you know what, we don't have to ONLY do things our little darlings want to do 24/7. If a weekly visit brings the OP comfort but not her son - then so what? What's the worse that'll happen - that he'll learn empathy, normal human emotions and a bit about his granny. He'll also learn that his mummy is a human and not just a boy there to serve only her children's needs.

Shocked that people saying OP is BU for grieving her mum in her own way.

GunpowderGelatine · 07/12/2019 23:30

*bot not boy 🤦🏼‍♀️

GunpowderGelatine · 07/12/2019 23:34

Oh come on, unfortunately you’re being clouded by your grief. A GRAVEYARD is not comforting to a young child

@poorstudent1010 does the OP not get to have comfort just because she has a chi then?

Also we need to STOP perpetuating this belief that grave yards are spooky/sad/etc. Along with the stigma that death brings. I also lost a parent (my dear dad) when I was young and pregnant, and since losing him I'm amazed how people look at death as something that's offensive and unnatural. The OP's son might actually have a healthy attitude towards death being exposed to it.

Chancey1982 · 07/12/2019 23:37

It's not weird, you haven't "got it wrong" he's just gently telling you that he doesn't want to go so frequently now.
I'm so sorry for your loss, especially with it being a suicide. I think you've handled everything in a really lovely way. I would say to him that you hear him and his opinion is valid and that you'd like to go once a month instead of once a week. Then you both get what you need. Sending huge hugs xx

RainbowMum11 · 07/12/2019 23:46

To add to my post, we talk about DD1 lots, have photos up etc, and outlets honest & open conversations about death has enabled my 6yo to talk to a child in her class whose friend has terminal cancer, and talk to him about keeping memories alive and that people live on in our hearts, even after they physically die.
DD often asks me about my Grandparents and I'm lucky to have known them and am able to talk about them to her - it's how memories live on.
Most people have traditions or their own ways of remembering loved ones - they aren't wrong or too much. Every one has different needs.

BackforGood · 08/12/2019 00:06

OP Of course you haven't done anything wrong.
However, as he gets older, maybe it is time to start some new traditions.
As others have said - he can't grieve for your Mum.

I think this poster has it spot on:
I understand you wanting your son to have something of his grandma in his life but I don't think visiting her grave is a way to do this.

I like @formerbabe 's idea of having a nice framed photo at home that you could put flowers near. You could also maybe light a candle.

I'd maybe occasionally talk about her to him, do things together that she used to do with you? Read books that she read to you? Then talk briefly about how Grandma liked these things - that's the type of thing to create positive memories around I think, not going to a graveyard.

My dc don't remember my parents - they did meet them, and I have photos, but they both died when my dc were little so they don't remember them. I've always tried to tell them funny stories and of things they did, or achieved, or their favourite song or favourite joke, or traditions we had when I was their age. Me taking them to a gravestone won't give them any sense of the kind of people my parents were.

I am so sorry for your loss though - both the way you lost your Mum and with it being at such a young age must have been incredibly difficult for you. Remember it is your loss though, not your dcs' loss. Share the good times with them rather than the pain.

NameChangedNoImagination · 08/12/2019 00:16


Oh come on, unfortunately you’re being clouded by your grief. A GRAVEYARD is not comforting to a young child, it would have the opposite effect for some children and even scare them. I’m almost 20 years older than him and I still find cemeteries sombre and creepy.

You sound rather dense.

Pinkandbluemcdonald5 · 08/12/2019 00:18

Way too much enforced grief on a child. Those who are gone, if they were decent people, don’t want the living to spend time at their graves every week.

I have lost a parent, at a young age, he requested not to be buried for this reason.

Topazance · 08/12/2019 00:21

Maybe it's just as simple as him being bored of going and nothing more. He's 4 and they don't think that much in depth for any length of time really. He might not even be able to tell you why. Maybe ask him in a lighthearted way and whatever the response then don't make a thing of it and perhaps take a break from visiting until you can go on your own again. Don't make him go simply because it's not exactly exciting. I know someone will come along and say we'll neither is the supermarket but dcs sometimes have to go. This is different as although it's a comfort to you it isn't a necessity for him. I'm really sorry you lost your mum though Flowers

NameChangedNoImagination · 08/12/2019 00:21

OP, what you are doing is entirely normal. Please ignore the ridiculous and offensive posters. Please keep teaching your son the importance of family and love. Please keep showing him he's part of a lineage of great love and affection. Please keep honouring your mother.

NameChangedNoImagination · 08/12/2019 00:23


Way too much enforced grief on a child.

You obviously haven't RTFT. There is no 'enforced grief'.

Abc123def · 08/12/2019 00:27

Only read the first page. Some people are right arseholes making Hmm faces at every week and saying it’s excessive. There are some people in the world where the graveyard where their loved ones are buried are along a road they walk everyday, like in villages.

Op, it’s not excessive at all.

But I’d ask your son why he doesn’t want to go anymore? It might be something simple like he doesn’t want to leave his new presents and toys and go to visit the grave. I’m sure it’s not because he doesn’t like visiting.

I’d ignore the arseholes on here tbh.

MrHaroldFry · 08/12/2019 00:29

OP, I am sorry for the loss of your Mum and your Dad.
Whilst I can understand that you take comfort from these weekly visits, your DS does not.
I was him and I grew up feeling my Mum
Only wanted the life she had before I was born. It has caused a lifetime of challenges as she can never see that, to me, her memories are stories and I have no emotional attachment to them. It's not that I don't try to understand her grief (or try to) but we could rarely be in the moment for milestones without her mention her Mum.
I have always felt second best.

GunpowderGelatine · 08/12/2019 00:32

OP I am so sorry you've posted and got such ridiculous moronic replies. Some people should count their brain cells before posting. "Enforced grief" - WTAF, some people have deep seated issues

You're doing nothing wrong. You are important, your feelings and grief are important and you have a right to grieve. There's nothing wrong with your son seeing you celebrate your mother, you are showing him such a healthy attitude and I truly admire your strength and commitment.

kateandme · 08/12/2019 00:35

ParkheadParadise me too. i think tonight this thread have picked up the good old mn who love to see a flogging and have a good stones throwing.
there have been some bloody shitty comments on here.
big hugs to you op.please be kind to yourself tongiht.lots of people understand sorry you went through so much in the time that should hav been so happy.youve clearly brought up a super young boy.your mums part of that because she is still part of you.
taking him to the grave is no bad thing.honestly.

Pinkandbluemcdonald5 · 08/12/2019 00:44

namechange I assure you I have read all 12 pages, and that is my view! So don’t patronise me. It is very clear a child is living through mums grief.

T0tallyFuckedUpFamily · 08/12/2019 00:57

Fine if you don't agree with it or you would do it differently but there is really no need to be quite so angry or hysterical. You may want to think on that a little. In a world we're you can be anything BE KIND. If you can't be kind be silent.

Kindly don’t use sexist terminology and stop projecting your anger onto me. I’m being kind by giving my opinion for the sake of a small child and don’t be so bloody pompous.

ThumbWitchesAbroad · 08/12/2019 01:12

Dear OP, you haven't done anything "wrong". Don't let this thread make you think that.

You lost your mum at a very sensitive point in your life, and for much of his early life, your little boy won't even have realised what it was all about, you going there anyway.

What may have happened, is that he might now realise what graveyards are actually about - dead people being buried there - and he might have got a bit scared.

Both my boys were pretty fearless about lots of things up until the were 4 and then suddenly they started to feel scared about things, because they had more ability to think about them - so ghosts, the dark, understanding about monsters and so on - which changed quite a few of the things we used to do.

This may be part of it - but equally it may not - it just seems like it would be the right age for this to happen.

Please talk to him about why he doesn't want to go, and if necessary, reassure him that it's quite safe and although you go there to talk about your mum, she's not going to suddenly appear or anything like that.

Sorry for your loss - I lost my mum while I was 20w pg with DS1 too, so I have a lot of sympathy for you. Thanks

sprouts21 · 08/12/2019 02:20

I've lost a parent to suicide and I do understand the trauma and the desire to keep their memory alive.I really do.

Im going to say this as gently as possible. It's perhaps not the actual physical grave that's the problem but the attempt to have her in his life. You are trying to create an emotional connection between them and sadly that's not possible.

My parent was bereaved before I was born.I knew it comforted my parent to talk about them so I did, because I wanted to please. I would ask questions about them and draw pictures of them.I pretended to like the songs I was told they liked and would often declare how much I loved and missed them. I would act sad on certain days because I felt I should be. This really wasn't right.

Of course I couldn't love and miss someone I had never met and my grieving parent was probably just trying to keep their memory alive. At 4 it's highly likely that he is trying to please you rather than having any real in depth feelings about it, because he can't feel those things about someone he has never met.

It's good you are listening to him about visiting the grave but I think you need to scale back the conversations with him. It's clear you are struggling to accept that they will never know each other and that's understandable, but I feel your son should not be grieving someone he has never met.

Sorry op.

SarahNade · 08/12/2019 02:39

My father died 3 years ago last month, and he is buried half a block away from us. We live in a tiny rural town, where the hospital/cemetery is up the end of our street and round the corner.
Know how often I've visited his grave? Twice since he was buried. Twice. Since Dec 2 2016 (day of funeral), so 3 times all up. Not because we had a bad relationship, we didn't. We were very close. But it causes more emotional upset to go there than not. What is the point? Graveyards are morbid places and I find visiting cemeteries to be morbid and depressing. Psychologically harmful, too. I would ask yourself what you get out of it. Also consider the psychological harm on your son. He is understanding that other schoolmates visit their grandparents and are actually able to talk with them. How do you think he measures that up when you say to him we are seeing grandma? He knows he can't see her, or talk to her. All he can do is stare at a grave. What's the point? What do you think that would do to a child, especially at the school playground when his classmates are talking about seeing their gran, talking to them, what their gran gave them for birthday/Christmas, and, he can't say anything, because you take him to stare at a grave? I would hazard a guess that he is starting to pick up from his classmates that it is not normal to stare at a grave, when talking to gran.

Sorry but I think you are being very, very selfish and harmful. If you can't leave your son with someone, don't go. Plain and simple. Or go only on special occasions like birthday/mothers' day. I also would question yourself on what you get out of it? Going every week? What is the point? You can't speak to her! I always remember the 'do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there' etc poem. I don't believe my dad's soul is in the grave, I feel it everywhere around. So, the point of going to his grave is, I don't see what.

After a while you need to move on with your life, and I would question that maybe you could do with some counselling/psychological help if you can't physically/psychologically move on from her death. I wouldn't be taking children to cemeteries myself, at least not every week. I think you really need to stop going, you need to find a way to move on. You need to be concerned with the living, that is, your son. And the impact going to a cemetery every week and staring/talking to a grave has on your son.

NewNameForMeNewNameForMe · 08/12/2019 03:02

Sorry for your loss OP. I haven't RTFT. My opinion (rightly or wrongly) is that graveyards & kids don't mix. If it gives you comfort & you gain something from going there then that is a wonderful thing. I wonder if it makes things worse though tbh. I lost DM almost 10 years ago, she was cremated, so no grave to visit. Personally I prefer this. Far less upsetting. I will twice-yearly visit DH's dads grave with him though because we all do things differently. Your DS has made his feelings clear so you need to respect them. Flowers

Countryescape · 08/12/2019 03:06

Yeah that’s not appropriate. Excessive for sure. Don’t take him anymore.

Puddlelane123 · 08/12/2019 03:25

Another one who is going to have to leave the thread as it is making me too angry to see the complete disregard some posters have for the OP’s grief. The lack of compassion is as astounding as it is depressing, and many of the replies are utterly reprehensible.

malificent7 · 08/12/2019 04:21

Don't do ot on Christmas day with a 4year old ffs!

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