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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
SarahNade · 08/12/2019 10:41

I grew up in a "We Don't Talk About Things That Upset Us" house where I wasn't allowed to go to my grandad's funeral aged 10 despite begging, and it has caused us as a family and me as an individual no end of fucked-up-ness

@GunpowderGelatine You are talking about the other extreme. What the OP is doing is the other extreme what your family went through. You don't see that you are defend one extreme, while complaining about (your) the other extreme. You can't talk honestly about death, but without taking a 4 year old child to a cemetery every week. There is a middle ground.
On another note, yes, the formatting on this site is appalling. Half the time when I bold something, it won't bold. Also, you cannot bold an entire sentence/paragraph and italicise one word of it or else the bold comes undone. I wish this site would use formatting.

SarahNade · 08/12/2019 10:42
  • You 'can't' talk honestly about death
    should be can
Noth1ngtoseehere · 08/12/2019 10:45

Sharing a packet of choc buttons on a very brief walk 5 mins away once a week is not an extreme or unhealthy. It is dealing with it and getting on with things. A secure child isn’t going to fear their mother will disappear by briefly visiting a graveyard on a weekly basis.

Throwing oneself across a grave wailing on a frequent basis , unable to work or care for ones child, function etc is an extreme.

SarahNade · 08/12/2019 10:46

msflibble It's not reasonable to ascribe adult emotions to kids.
THIS, is what people are missing, we are talking about a 4 year old child here. Not a grown adult. People are missing that. Things like this traumatise a child. A would never take a 4 year old to a funeral for example, as they don't understand, they can become overwhelmed by their other relatives crying, not just the solemnity. Why can't people understand that some adult things are not for children?

Noth1ngtoseehere · 08/12/2019 10:46

The op is clearly a world away from that and doing just fine.

SarahNade · 08/12/2019 10:49

The OP might be doing just fine, but what about the child? Yet again not thinking of the repercussions, oh the parent is fine, stuff the child is the opinion some seem to have. I care about the child. Not the adult.

OrangeZog · 08/12/2019 10:52

I’m sorry about your mum, OP, and also that you now feel conflicted about visiting her grave with your children. Flowers

My daughter died not that long ago and I do take my other children to church over the Christmas period so we can light a candle (she was cremated so we don’t have a grave to visit). Do you go to church services? If so, you could do something similar so that you still get to feel close to your mum whilst your children enjoy the singing in the service and then get spend Christmas Day with their toys.

ColleysMill · 08/12/2019 10:52

I lost my mum pre dc although its been more years now than the OPs. I often wish had a place to visit. I would probably visit weekly too if i did.

I talk about her to the dc - not incessantly but she will often crop up "oh that was Nannys" - we have some photos and i have a number of things of hers around the house.

Mine are a bit older and they have developed their own little traditions to remember her even though they never met her - one of these is lighting a candle in her treasured candlelabra each week that sits on our table when we eat sunday tea. Its been totally unprompted and all their idea.

I think op i would listen to your dc and see if there are other ways he wants to remember her by - he is only little and things may change as he gets bigger.

(I also quite like graveyards - i find them fascinating, especially the very old one by our local church and a place of contemplation. I quite happily wander through whilst out on a stroll!)

BlouseAndSkirt · 08/12/2019 10:54

eastmeansestmum sending you Flowers .

AIBU is a horrible arena for anything sensitive and emotional.

I can’t imagine how shocking it was for you to lose your Mum like that when pregnant. Wanting my parents to live myDc was a huge part of my emotion when I had my babies, the sense of generations...

You haven’t been ‘doing it wrong ‘, you have done what was right for the time.

You sound like a really lovely Mum.

Don’t make a big deal of your Ds’s request. Still go through the graveyard on your way to the park, let him check the little dog, make your thoughts go your Mum private, and proceed to the park. Maybe at Christmas pop to the park if he has an outdoor toy to play with, pause to check dog and tell your Mum, silently in your head, that you are in your way to let Ds play with his toy.

Or as a Pp suggested, light a special candle for your Mum at home, but don’t make a thing of it for Ds.

And as for the pursed lipped folk with their rules about graveyards... no one is saying use the place as a BMX track, but where I grew up the graveyard / churchyard was a place in the community, that people did walk through, with dogs on leads, and small kids in whatever they were on.

More Flowers BrewFlowers for you, OP.

Noth1ngtoseehere · 08/12/2019 10:55

Why would I child not be doing fine about positive trips to a graveyard for a person they’ve never met?

If the trips are distressing and the op is hysterical( which she in no way appears to be) and the child is saying he finds it scary and upsetting then fine but he’s not. I suspect he finds it boring. Lots of things are boring. It’s part of life.

Noth1ngtoseehere · 08/12/2019 10:57

YY to scooters and kids in graveyards it brings life. Plenty of space for quiet reflection. A kid scooting past or eating choc with his mum would only cheer me up and remind me that life goes on.

GunpowderGelatine · 08/12/2019 11:00


As others have said, death can really frighten children.

Because adults learned complexes about death are pushed onto them. No other reason. In Countries with different attitudes to death, like Mexico, children aren't frightened by it

It isn't normal for a child to be hanging around a cemetery every week. It's just not healthy for a child and a child like that will not thrive they will be traumatised.

A visit during a dog walk is not "hanging around". And what's he's gonna be traumatised by? Learning about his gran?
And please don't use emotive language to exacerbate your point.

You are talking about the other extreme. What the OP is doing is the other extreme what your family went through.

No, I'm not. Hiding death and people who've passed is very much in the vein of "Its Too Upsetting To Talk About"

Tell me @SarahNade what is so bad about death and talking about it? Why must children be shielded?

GunpowderGelatine · 08/12/2019 11:01

msflibble It's not reasonable to ascribe adult emotions to kids

How is talking about a grandparent an "adult emotion" Confused

GunpowderGelatine · 08/12/2019 11:02

And your hate me, I took my 4yo to her granny's funeral. She was fine, and was happy to be there. And there's nothing wrong with children being exposed to normal emotions - some might say it's healthy for children to see adults cry and express sadness. Maybe if we all did this a bit more we might not have a fucked up generation in the future

GunpowderGelatine · 08/12/2019 11:03


user1493494961 · 08/12/2019 11:03

Op, you sound like a lovely, caring Mum and your little boy delightful. I am astounded at the insensitive, ignorant and cruel responses you have had on this forum. I lost a sibling when I was six and taking flowers to the cemetery became part of our weekly routine. It was never scary, just peaceful. We also visited my Grandparents' grave, family I never knew, but as an adult I realise this gave me a connection to them. I'm sure whatever you decide will be the right thing, you sound such an amazing Mum. I hope you and your children have a lovely Christmas.

GunpowderGelatine · 08/12/2019 11:04

I care about the child. Not the adult

I'm sure you think that's a really noble stance but you're part of a huge problem in that you think an adult's(woman's) wants and needs are void once they have kids.
Ever thought a secure and happy parent makes a secure and happy child?

Emmapeeler1 · 08/12/2019 11:13

My initial reaction was that visiting a graveyard weekly with your child who have never met the person is morbid. BUT - it’s five mins from your house and you make it a casual thing with a bike ride and chocolate buttons so I don’t think what you are doing is unreasonable at all. Kids at that age change their minds all the time, he probably just at that particular moment didn’t want to go. As it’s important for you (and I lost my Dad this year so can understand) I would carry on going every now and then but just don’t make it a big deal, just say you are going for a walk and a bike ride.

Emmapeeler1 · 08/12/2019 11:16

Ps I meant to add that despite that your son never met your mum it’s really lovely that you are keeping her memory alive for her. My granddad died before I was born but my mum did the same and as a result I do feel I knew him and that he is a part of me, like the grandparents I did meet.

honeylulu · 08/12/2019 11:22

Sorry if this has already been raised and answered and I've missed this but surely the dog has to be walked anyway, whether it's Sunday, Christmas Day or any other day.

OP is a single mum so son has to go on the dog walk. There's no way around it. He's probably finding the walks cold and/or boring and would rather be doing something else but she can't leave him on his own so tough, he needs to be a bit cold/bored for 10 minutes.

And since the walk has to take place, why shouldn't it be through the graveyard once a week or so? Maybe the compromise is that it's a "passing through" visit rather then a "stop and wait" visit. I agree that children need to understand that whilst their feelings, wants and needs are important, they need to be balanced with the needs of their mum, and dog!

Our middle child was stillborn and I visit his grave from time to time including Christmas Eve. When the children were too young to be left they had to come with me like it or not. Now they are older my eldest usually opts to stay at home and youngest sometimes comes with me, sometimes waits in the car while I nip over with the flowers. I don't mind, it's my thing,
but I'm not going to completely stop going just because they don't fancy it.

eastmeanswestmum · 08/12/2019 11:33

Thankyou again for the replies. Obviously some of them are quite hard to read. It’s scary that people think I’m damaging him. I never ever wanted that noone wants that.

Today we set off as normal to walk the dog, he’s always happy to go he’s the out doorsy type. He took his scooter, I walked a different way to the park and he asked me why we are going a new way, I said because we never go this way it’s a nice change isn’t it. He said yeah it’s like an adventure mummy but let’s go the normal way home otherwise we don’t see granny.
So on the way home we went the normal way, passed through as normal and he was absolutely fine and said nothing of it. He commented on the lovely Christmas flowers people have put down for loved ones and seemed very normal.
I’m definitely going to take everyone’s points on board, I’m going to not mention going again and just see if he does, I get he’s growing up. I will say to him that we will call around Christmas time to leave flowers, but I’ll keep it open and see when he wants to go.
He made me so proud this morning Flowers

OP posts:
eastmeanswestmum · 08/12/2019 11:34

And for the people saying I need to get over it and I’m not healthy etc- I have never looked at it this way. I grew up with parents who repressed their feelings which made me repress mine.
I never told my mum I loved her- she knew I did and we were so close. But I never opened up. And she never did either.
I want different for my children. I want them to know I’ll always listen and I’ll always be as honest as I can, because I want them to be with me.

OP posts:
GunpowderGelatine · 08/12/2019 11:35

I hope you are proud of yourself too OP, you are clearly an amazing mother and you've handled all this brilliantly and I'm pleased you've come back despite the foul excuses for human beings who've posted.

I am very auto when I say you'll raise him to be a wonderful young man

Noth1ngtoseehere · 08/12/2019 11:37

You are doing do well op and your ds sounds like a terrific little chap. What a lovely relationship you have.

HowlsMovingBungalow · 08/12/2019 11:38

Flowers OP

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