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

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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?

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Am I being unreasonable?


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StCharlotte · 07/12/2019 17:52

It's a tricky one. I've lost both parents and derive no comfort at all from visiting their grave but everyone's different and you obviously do.

For a four year old it must put a downer on Christmas Day though, leaving his new toys etc. I don't think you really need to ask why - the simple answer is that it's not fun, not that everything in life has to be - or is going to be - fun. But Christmas Day? When you're four? That should be fun.

Could you tweak it and make it a Christmas Eve thing? Perhaps combine it with the children's Christmas Eve service which many little ones love? Do it before the service while it's still light. Do you go to the Christmas morning service?

Or maybe go before you open presents?

And sorry about your Mum Flowers

HowlsMovingBungalow · 07/12/2019 17:53

Yes, I also know of several people whose lives have been about cemetry visits - they have got imo obsessional.
It is a loss of life all around in those cases.

Flowers OP.

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 17:53

@WorraLiberty because I work when he’s at school. And I can’t afford after school clubs so I finish at 3 and collect him and his baby sister on my way home

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Stevienickssleeves · 07/12/2019 17:54

On a side note, walking a dog in a graveyard is a bit off. I would hate to be there grieving while someone's dog is taking a dump next to me.

WhereverIMayRoam · 07/12/2019 17:54

I’m sorry, I appreciate it brings you comfort but I can’t help thinking that it’s a lot to still go every week four years later. I’m not suggesting you should be “over it” or that there’s a time limit on these things but I think if you still feel the need to go every week you may not have dealt with your grief. I wonder if ds is picking up on your sadness and associating it with the visits to the graveyard? Small children can get anxious when they pick up on their parents feelings, it can worry them but they can’t always articulate that.

I think you should consider reducing your visits to the graveyard. Maybe there’s something else you can do to feel close to your mum such as going to a park she liked, playing a cd she enjoyed, cooking “her” spag bol or baking something from a recipe she used?

Millie2013 · 07/12/2019 17:54

My dad died last year and at first, DD (then 5) was interested in visiting his “‘memory spot”. We didn’t go routinely, just if passing, so maybe every fortnight. After a few months, she lost interest and now she just sits in the car, while I sort his flowers. Is this a possibility?

I think, with DD, the novelty just wore off. Flowers

sauvignonblancplz · 07/12/2019 17:54

This is a very normal thing to do, go to mass go visit loved ones grave go home.
Unless you’re standing out in the cold for an extended period I don’t see the problem.
Kids always say they don’t want to do things that aren’t directly fun , just leave it and carry on with the routine you’ve created.

WaggleWiggle · 07/12/2019 17:55

Sorry for your loss. He’s ‘always wanted to go’ because he’s only four and you’re his mummy and he wanted to be with you. But now he’s getting older he’s picking up on it being a sad place and just wants to be somewhere that doesn’t feel like that. Every week to grieve at a grave is a lot to ask of a very little boy.

misspiggy19 · 07/12/2019 17:55

I’ve simply tried to include my mum in his life - and as the graveyard is a stones throw from our house we’ve always gone.

^Sorry is this sounds harsh but your mum was never part of his life. He was born after she died. This is too much to put on a child.

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 17:55

@Stevienickssleeves The graveyard has a path through it, one side is where we go in from our housing estate - one side is a very large park. A lot of people walk through the graveyard it isn’t a private gated place i think a lot of people just walk through it generally

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PositiveVibez · 07/12/2019 17:55

I thought dogs weren't allowed in graveyards. That's by the by, bit could you plant something in your garden as s memorial for when you can't get to the grave?

The thing with gravestones is that it ends up becoming an obligation, whereby you end up feeling guilty of you don't go.

I understand how you get comfort from visiting, but having a memorial at home could maybe give you a comfort too.

If your child doesn't want to go, don't make him.

HowlsMovingBungalow · 07/12/2019 17:56

Our local cemetry allows dogs on leads - a footpath runs through it to get open countryside.Pretty standard imo.

Settlersofcatan · 07/12/2019 17:56

Can you leave him with his grandad for a few minutes on Christmas day so that you can go?

I would listen to your son but also try asking him again in a low pressure way every now and again

Beamur · 07/12/2019 17:57

Sorry for your loss.
Maybe you could compromise? Perhaps go every other week or once a month - he also needs to learn this is important to you, but you are also giving a positive message to him about listening to his needs if you meet in the middle.

Mishappening · 07/12/2019 17:57

I think it is probably the right time to reduce these visits now. I can see why it does not particularly appeal to him and there is no real reason why it should. And certainly not on Christmas Day.

Time for a rethink - hard but true.Flowers

NoArmaniNoPunani · 07/12/2019 17:58

My DH died when my son was 2 and he is now 4. I put his ashes at the beach and DS asks to go about every 6 weeks or so. Weekly seems a bit much to me

Widowodiw · 07/12/2019 17:58

He didn’t know her so why would he want to go? I feel like you are putting your grief onto him.

OverByYer · 07/12/2019 17:59

At that age kids get a bit morbid and worry about parents during. Maybe by visiting so often it’s making him contemplate your mortality and worrying him?

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 18:00

I really appreciate everyone’s views for context we don’t go for a long time, more often than not it is just walking through on our dog walk, he will always hop off his bike and check my mums small dog ornament is on her grave and we carry on our way!
I guess I simply didn’t know I was doing it so wrong, my mum committed suicide so I didn’t prepare, I didn’t expect him to not meet her and I didn’t expect people to find it so weird I tried to involve her in his life. I think maybe I felt guilty because I remember feeling so unloved when my mum killed herself and left me, I never wanted him to feel the same as me
I think we will give it a miss , maybe I’ll walk the dog a different way next time and see if he mentions going that way

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PicsInRed · 07/12/2019 18:01

When you say he asks to go - he clearly knows it's something you want and so he's doing what children do and identifying with what their parents want in order to find favour with you. It's merely survival instinct and little can be read into this behaviour as to the child's own preference.

I think it shows an awful lot of emotional health that he has put forward his own feelings and wants in this regard and you should be proud that you've raised him to know his mind and feel comfortable to speak his wants to you - this is a credit to your parenting of him.

In such a matter, I'm afraid you are going to have to facilitate his need not to continue weekly visits to the graveyard vs your want to do so. That doesn't mean you can't ever visit, but weekly (and certainly on Christmas, with an unwilling child) is now excessive.

Again, he really is a credit to you. You've done marvelously and should be very proud of yourself. Flowers

PinkSubscriber · 07/12/2019 18:01

So sorry for your loss. I completely get why you want to visit the cemetery as it makes you feel close to your mum. However I was once in your sons place accompanying my Mum to her dads grave weekly. I can still remember it vividly 40 years later. It would be windy and I can’t smell chrysanthemums now without been taken back. I would always need a wee. It was depressing and I picked up on my mums sadness.

My mums gone now too and I’m careful not to share too much of my sadness with dcs.

Having said that I do wish I had a grave to visit my mum was cremated.

I think perhaps try to go alone from now on. X

HostaFireAndIce · 07/12/2019 18:02

Just because he's said he doesn't want to go, it doesn't mean that they were causing him any distress. That's about the age where children start rejecting aspects of what has previously been normal routine. He doesn't mind going normally because it's just a walk. He doesn't want to go on Christmas Day because he thinks there will be more exciting things to do! He's probably right, to be fair, but personally I would tell him that he's going because it's important to mummy. He won't mind when he's out.

DaanSaaf · 07/12/2019 18:02

OP are you sure his reluctance isn't just about going on Christmas day rather than going all together?

Beamur · 07/12/2019 18:03

Don't frame this as you were doing wrong. You've had what sounds like a really difficult situation to work through and have tried to do the right thing. All that has happened is your son has asked to change your arrangement going forward.
Don't feel bad or guilty.

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 18:03

@DaanSaaf maybe, I think I was just taken aback that I didn’t want to ask really. I didn’t want to pressure him into talking about it

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