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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
ChaiNashta · 08/12/2019 06:03

OP just to say your posts have really moved me. Stay strong Flowers.

Goldenchildsmum · 08/12/2019 06:26

He has never once expressed he doesn’t want to and more often than not has asked me to go,

And now that he doesn't want to go , you can explain to him that there are lots of times that he can think and talk about grannie - not just at the grave - and that should he ever want to talk about her to you, you're always available to chat Thanks

Ihavethefinalsleigh · 08/12/2019 07:00

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

It’s four years since her mum died. Four years! Yes it’s completely normal to grieve when a loved one dies and everyone is different in how they grieve. However, four years is a long time and I would want to think that anyone would be moving on after four years. I’ve been called an evil cunt for saying this further up the thread but I stand by it.

I’ve lost my mum, dad and sister, so I’ve experienced loss. Life is for the living. You will never forget your mum @eastmeanswestmum but get help if you are still grieving after four years.

To those appalled at posts like mine, my view is just as valid as yours.

Noth1ngtoseehere · 08/12/2019 07:22

Saying you should move on 4 years after losing a parent is ridiculous and quite an unpleasant thing to say. I don’t think you ever get over losing a parent, I know I won’t. We lost our fathers a year ago. Yes we deal with it but we’ll never get over it. We think of them every day and want them back, this won’t ever change and why should it? Your parents are your most formative and often closest relationships. It’s a massive shock when you lose them particularly the first.

My dad is a 5 min walk from my house in beautiful surroundings op. I totally get why visiting has played a huge part in your life, it can be such a comfort. Losing your mum when pregnant and do young must have been incredibly hard.

I don’t visit my dad that often as I find it hard, my mum does though. I think there is far too much hysteria in the U.K. over death and graveyards. Confronting and living with it is healthy. I also think getting out on Christmas Day and thinking of others is healthy. Visiting weekly no big issue either. You have to take them anyway so it’s a moot point.Kids need to realise the world doesn’t revolve around them. Assuming you’re not hysterical( crying fine imvho)when there and scaring him I’d carry on. It’s a 5 min walk, death is part of life. Could you try and make it more interesting take a scooters, get him to plant bulbs / seeds he can watch grow, paint pebbles you could take to decorate etc. Your chic buttons chatting on a bench sounds lovely. Could you ask him if there is a special Christmassy snack he’d like/ hot chocolate?

Thinking of you op, this is a shifty time of year for those of us missing loved ones. You definitely haven’t handled it wrong if anything I think you’re doing great and his trips will be a positive memory and something he can draw from when older. Death won’t be scary.

Ihavethefinalsleigh · 08/12/2019 07:26

You do get over it, it’s utterly ridiculous to suggest you don’t. Anyone who can’t get over it needs help.

Noth1ngtoseehere · 08/12/2019 07:37

Rubbish. I see no need to get over losing a loved one. You learn to live with it and get on with life when the time is right.For many it shapes you and becomes part of you and not in a negative way There is no need to get over losing a loved one, many people don’t. Nobody is going to give you a medal.

Not getting over losing a loved one doesn’t mean you need help or are doomed to a life of misery either. You change, grow, enjoy life and accommodate it but get over it no I certainly won’t be. See zero reason to.

msflibble · 08/12/2019 07:37

I lost my mum to cancer just over a year ago. I'm 36 and she met both my kids, which I think helped me resolve a lot of feelings that OP will have had difficulty with, being so very young when her mum died. But I did find this article which talks about how dwelling on grief can actually prolong it.
A lot of the research we have on grief is incorrect. I don't wish to tell anyone how they should grieve, but I think this article is worth a look. It details new research which blows many of our preconceptions about healthy mourning out of the water.

Ihavethefinalsleigh · 08/12/2019 07:45

It’s just semantics @Noth1ngtoseehere. What you’ve said, is getting over it, i.e. learning to live with it and getting on with life. That is not grief. Yes of course you don’t forget loved ones. I think about my mum, dad and sister regularly. They are part of me and I have lovely memories. I feel sad sometimes that my mum and sister died too soon but I’m over the loss. We’re actually saying the same thing......semantics....

Time4change2018 · 08/12/2019 07:47

Go as often as you need to and on a Sunday walk sounds lovely. Maybe go on a Christmas Eve walk and allow your son Christmas day at home with his toys.
It's hugely important he knows who his nanna was and is taught respect and empathy of your feelings but maybe not to the extent he feels obliged every week x

NicEv · 08/12/2019 07:48

I just wanted to say sorry for your loss OP - to lose your mum to suicide at 21 years old when you are pregnant is unbearably hard. You sound like a really lovely mum and your little ones are lucky to have such a loving thoughtful parent. Don’t worry about taking him in the past - you did what you thought was right at that time. Your little man’s feelings about going seem to have changed and he feels safe and confident enough go tell you about that precisely because you are such a loving , caring mum. You have listened to him and are making plans to respect his wishes. You sound like you are doing fantastically well to me - sending you a hug and a lot of respect for someone who is dealing really well with a difficult thing x

Ihavethefinalsleigh · 08/12/2019 07:51

Thanks for posting that link @msflibble.

I especially like this comment: The good news is that for most of us, grief is not overwhelming or unending. As frightening as the pain of loss can be, most of us are resilient.

bumblingbovine49 · 08/12/2019 07:59

I think it is fine to tell him you are still.going to go.sometimes as you like it but it will be less often and he won't always have to come with you.

Then don't go at Christmas and walk a different way for a while. Maybe visit once a month for a while. If you can find alternative arrangements for him to be somewhere else when you go, that would help as well.
It is good that he asked but I don't think I'd stop the visits altogether either if you still derive comfort from them.

I.visited my grandmother's grave from a young age and I used to like it. It feels to this day at 55 like I knew her, though I.never met her . We didn't go weekly though. Every few months and on particular holy days, like all souls etc.

Babdoc · 08/12/2019 08:00

I disagree, msflibble. The author in the article was quoting his own experience, where, because of his mother’s long terminal illness, he had done a lot of the grieving in advance.
Those of us who have experienced the sudden unexpected loss of a loved one at a young age (my DH was 36) have no time to come to terms with it. We are plunged straight into the shock and distress of losing a soul mate. To suggest that one can laugh it off and be “resilient” is ludicrous- and another stick to beat the bereaved with if they are not “coping”.
How simple it would be if the bereaved could just pull themselves together, and not upset the rest of you with their messy inconvenient emotions and tears. But life, and grief, are not like that.
I still miss my darling husband after 28 years. Nothing and no one can replace him or make it ok, and I will miss him to the day I die. That’s how much I loved him- and grief is the price of love.
The one thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that we will be reunited when I die - that God will wipe away all tears, as it says in the Bible.
In the meantime, of course I live my life and I find meaning and enjoyment in it - but the loss of DH is like an amputated limb, it will not recover or grow back. I can only “come to terms” with it, not get over it.

Noth1ngtoseehere · 08/12/2019 08:01

No you’re telling people how to behave. As that article says it’s a long and private journey. It can go three ways. I am in the latter( the resilient one) and maybe the easiest because of who I am. I’m not going to judge others on their path. We all have different life experiences and personality. Getting over it will vary hugely in its interpretation. For some that means just jumping over it without missing a beat, moving on or having it as part of your life. For others it’s getting on with life and carrying a tiny part of it with you. I see no need for the former and certainly would never aspire to that.

"There is always a little flicker there. It is a bit like the small glowing embers you see after a fire dies down. I carry that around me, a little ember, and if I need to, if I want to have Claire next to me, I blow on it, ever so gently, and it glows bright again."

The above was in that article and how I handle it. Some may say that is not getting over it.Visiting a grave weekly could quite healthily be part of that. It isn’t for me but I’d never judge anybody for whom it was or for whom follow a different path.

Grave yards can be lovely places. The one where my dad is buried is. Having positive experiences of death can only help children handle things well when they have to confront it further down the line.

Some of the language on this thread is quite unnecessary and unpleasant.

Op lighting a tea light whilst yours there is another thing you could do. We had to walk through a graveyard in Denmark once. It seemed to be part of the town and every grave had a lantern with tea lights lit. So pretty. Not suggesting you leave a lit candle there but ime of 4/5 boys they love a flame.

malificent7 · 08/12/2019 08:03

I dont think anyone gets over the loss of a parent tbh. I slso disagree that graveyards and children din't mix but Christmas day if for kids to have fun not mourn over the deceased.

ThumbWitchesAbroad · 08/12/2019 08:09

I think a lot depends on the relationship you had with the deceased person as well.
I mourned for my grandmother far more than for my mother, because I had a better relationship with my grandmother.

But I have become one of the resilient types - when I was younger, I was much more immersed in the grief process, and the loss of my first grandparent and subsequent funeral was a sad trial to me, especially because I could NOT deal with people laughing and carrying on as normal! I was 19. As you get older, you do realise that it's a coping mechanism and people will move on (not get over, but move on and adjust) - but at 19 it felt terribly callous!

So I don't think you can even safely say there is a "type" - you learn as you go.

HandsOffMyRights · 08/12/2019 08:23

OP, I'd give you a hug if I could. Your posts have also moved me.

As a child I was unfortunately 'bored' by visiting the grave of my nan who died when I was 6 months old, but now I do visit her grave with my father.

I hope you and your boy have a lovely Christmas together. Flowers

AlternativePerspective · 08/12/2019 08:23

TBH I think this is probably far more complicated than just grieving the loss of a parent.

If the OP’s mum committed suicide then it’s likely that she suffered mental illness for some time and that this was even a part of the OP’s childhood which then culminated in her suicide. Obviously I don’t know the details but it’s unlikely that the OP’s mum just woke up one day and decided to end it all. These things are rarely that simplistic.

So as much as the OP is coming to terms with her mum’s loss, it’s also likely that this has brought up feelings for her as to what her childhood was like growing up, especially as the suicide happened while the OP herself was pregnant, and therefore faced going into motherhood alone, and realising that this might be different for her.

For that reason I would urge the OP to seek some counselling, not just to come to terms with the loss, but to explore the issues which probably went before that.

Hotpinkangel19 · 08/12/2019 08:25

I'm so sorry for your loss OP, my parents both died when I was pregnant in 2017. It's so hard isn't it. Maybe you could give the Christmas visit a miss?

MrsHobo · 08/12/2019 08:27

OP losing your mum in such a tragic way must have been devistating.
From what you have been saying, I don't think you have been unreasonable in taking him, I think it's something you did when he was very young to help you grieve that has now become a routine.
And there's nothing wrong with that.
I think the fact is, that at his age death is still a big concept, and seeing that he never met your mum I think he just doesn't have the same emotional attachment to the grave and he's bored.
Maybe when you head off for a dog walk give him the choice of route. 'Do you want to go past Grandma's grave or [other location]'.
As for Christmas day, my grandfather on my Mum's side died when mum was pregnant with my older sister (at 18) so not unlike your situation. My mum was lucky enough to be able to go to the grave quite often without us, but on Christmas day we would have presents in the morning, then after our Christmas dinner at midday we would all hop in the car and take a bunch of flowers to the grave and 'walk off dinner'
We never felt like we were missing out, it's just what we did! Usually we would put the flowers down, then Dad would take us for a walk and we'd talk about our presents, while mum at on a bench near the grave.

ChristianGreysAnatomy · 08/12/2019 08:29

But, OP, don’t you want to go on Christmas Day? Maybe it’s not necessarily about what he wants but also about what you want. I think you should go, and take him if need be, if you want to visit on the day. She was your mum after all.

As to going every week with him, maybe think about easing up on that. Children do start to think about things differently and more deeply at that age, and maybe it’s time to rethink. But my parents are both alive and well so I will admit I don’t have experience of my own here. I am sorry for your loss.

TheNavigator · 08/12/2019 08:34

OP, I have struggled to reply to this as the emotions are so deep, but some of the responses have been so shallow. However, I think it is important that you know my grown up daughter tells me she has very happy memories of vising her brother's grave as a child. We make ornmaments for his birthdays, take decorations as xmas, take cake, have a pic nic. It is one of her happy childhood memories and (without being too outing) has inspired a professional project (she is a successful creative in the corporate world).

So ignore the shallow and igorant. There is no time limit on visiting and remembering people we love. Other cultures are far more open to this - the Mexican day of the dead is all about the veil thinning so we can enjoy time with our loved ones, it is not the creepy, wierd spectacal we interpret it as. Make it fun for you wee boy and maybe miss the odd week, but certainly don't sacrifice your xmas visit - it is normal to take children to visit relatives and in general Mumsnet is all for making them go so they can learn compassion for the elderly. Your visit is just as valid and important a message: love never dies.

Goldenhedgehogs · 08/12/2019 08:37

Op, just because your child is saying he doesn't want to do something now, it doesn't mean that doing that thing was exactly the right thing to do in the past or that he didn't or doesn't enjoy that thing. For example my three teenagers and soft play, now it's completely inappropriate, when they were little they loved it and it was good for them to run around. So don't feel guilty or that you have been forcing him to do something he didn't want too or was bad for listen to your child, he isn't saying he doesn't want your weekly visits to stop so don't stop them as that's not what he is asking for and he could feel all worried and confused if those stop. He doesn't want to go on Christmas Day and I would let him know that it's ok not to go on Xmas day and you are pleased he told you. Then don't go on Christmas day, it is that simple, maybe he might tell you later he doesn't want to go as much during the week with you and if that is the case talk about it and change. But don't think this is a big a deal to him as it is for you. Btw I think you are doing a lovely and sensitive way of talking about death with your little one, it is a natural part of life and you are handling this very sensitively. Sorry for your loss

msflibble · 08/12/2019 08:37

The article isn't just about the author's experience, it also heavily features the research done by George Bonanno.

I don't want to tell anyone how to grieve as I know losing someone suddenly is very different to losing someone slowly to illness, although I personally did find the latter very traumatic. Watching mum suffer was unbearable. That said, there is evidence that focusing less on grief helps minimise it, and if evidence like that exists, I think it's worth sharing it. Apologies if I have hurt anyone in doing so.

GunpowderGelatine · 08/12/2019 08:37

Fucking disgusting people are telling OP to get over her mother's suicide. I hope you're all utterly ashamed you revolting people

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