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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?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Thethiniceofanewday · 07/12/2019 18:03

Maybe he has been talking to new friends at school about what they do on Christmas Day and has realised that it’s not something everyone does? There’s no right or wrong when it comes to grief but I think it would be lovely if you could listen to him and pay your respects differently this year. Maybe next year he will want to go again.

perfectstorm · 07/12/2019 18:05

I'm so sorry for your loss, OP.

Sadly, I agree with the others - your mum is not part of his life, as he never knew her. She IS part of who he is, both genetically and because she raised you, and you are raising him. But he has no concept of her as a person, and your grief for her isn't going to help him.

One really good thing is that he feels safe and able to tell you he isn't okay with this, and to trust you to help him by not doing it. That's a testament to how well you've kept communication open with him and how safe you make him feel. But I do think, as you've already noted, that you need to listen and respect his wishes here.

Have you any wider family, who are there to remember your mother? It has to be so hard single parenting without your mum around for support, too. Do you belong to any single parent groups at all? You might find other people in similar situations and that can offer support.

Dieu · 07/12/2019 18:05

You have to listen to your son.

Bluddyhateful · 07/12/2019 18:05

Unlike all the others, I don’t think it’s strange to visit your mums grave in the local graveyard so close to your house. I think it’s lovely.

You clearly want to listen to and respect your son, which is also lovely. I would tell him that you listened and that you won’t go on Xmas day if he doesn’t want to. But also explain that you like it and would like to go sometimes. Give him some control over when and how anD you might be able to make some new routines

Somerville · 07/12/2019 18:05

Please don’t walk your dog through the graveyard whilst letting your son ride his bike through it. In a cemetery that would be bad enough, but in a graveyard (which means it is in the land surrounding a Church, for those unsure off the difference) it is particularly disrespectful to do so.

Fucck · 07/12/2019 18:06

Op, I don't think you've been doing anything wrong. I feel like I get what you're saying and the circumstances in which you visit. I'm sure your son doesn't want to stop going altogether and you simply have to follow his lead on how often he does want to go, that's all. It might just mean a small adjustment.
Please don't get disheartened by everyone's negativity! I'm sorry for your loss Thanks

Alez · 07/12/2019 18:07

I think OP, that if it is very important for you to go on christmas day then you should explain that to your son and go. He's 5 and no doubt has to do lots of things he's not keen on. Just go for 5 minutes and do what you need to do.

However, I do think weekly visits are a lot for a small boy. Could you ask him if he still wants to do them? It could be that none of his friends aren't doing something similar on christmas day so he wants to be like them. If he doesn't want to go could you maybe have a candle at home that you light for your mum on sunday evenings, or plant a tree or something similar in your garden (if you have one), and go less frequently to the cemetery. Though it sounds like even if you don't go to your mum's grave, you'll be going close by anyway. Would that be enough for you to feel comforted?

HowlsMovingBungalow · 07/12/2019 18:07

There is ALWAYS one.


eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 18:08

@Somerville where I live a lot of people walk through this graveyard daily, we live in a small town and I’ve never seen anyone be disrespectful passing through

OP posts:
ASandwichNamedKevin · 07/12/2019 18:08

I feel sorry for you OP but I think you need to not take your son every week to the cemetery.
I know some people who visit the cemetery a lot and get some comfort from it, but I think you're overdoing it where your son is concerned. A friend's child was very upset around your son's age because he missed his grandfather, who died when he was a few months old. So much effort had been made to keep his memory alive that the poor child was upset at missing out, and felt bad for not remembering him.

Some posters have said maybe your son is starting to wonder about death, maybe, but he could just be cold going to the grave and not fancy it in winter. Or talking with his friends in school about what they do when they see their granny and thinking it's strange his granny doesn't do any of those things. Or again as a 4 year old he may just find it bot that interesting in the same way I remember going to church with my mum and would have preferred to be doing something else. That's not an insult or being rude if he does think that, just see it from his perspective.
You say he's always wanted to go but he's 4, so his understanding is limited.
Don't start feeling bad for having brought him but don't let it overshadow his childhood or that of your other child, certainly go sometimes but maybe not bring him every week.

whataboutbob · 07/12/2019 18:10

It’s really awful that you lost your mum so young. I lost mine at 27, so nowhere near as bad as you. My kids never knew their wonderful grandma either. I get that it can be comforting maybe feeling your are bringing your son to her, but please listen to him. He might be feeling he has to mourn someone he never met, otherwise he’s being disloyal and that’s a heavy burden for a little one. I’d advise pulling back a bit, he’s been brave enough to tell you how he feels. Maybe that him a few times a year and let him enjoy the present.

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 18:10

I think I agree with the people that are saying perhaps he’s started talking more about stuff at school which would make sense. Unfortunately we literally have no family other than my dad. So I guess maybe I was also taking him so he had another family member to reference ? He’s often asked why he only has his grandad on my side etc
In regards to my grief I’m not sure. I don’t need to go. But I like to. I think it’s just become the norm and I needed structure at the time. But I’m happy to have a new norm and make some new traditions Flowers

OP posts:
Londongirl86 · 07/12/2019 18:11

A little story. I'm 30. My grandma died on Christmas day. Before I was born. My poor dad was only in his 20s and what a day to loose her. Every Christmas day I'd go with him to her grave with a wreath. Once he cried a few years. He wiped them away. I was about 12. It broke my heart to see my dad emotional like that. He probably did his best to hide his pain but I saw how sad he looked after a couple of glasses of wine. He went quiet by teatime. As an adult I understand now he was sad. Since I've had my kids he seems different now. Like the pains eased alot for him. I don't go with him now I'm an adult either. Christmas is about my kids and I am happy for them that they don't have to go through it.

Graveyards are depressing. He's probably starting to understand that people die. Perhaps explain to him Nanny isn't actually in the graveyard she's gone to heaven, but this is somewhere nice to put some beautiful flowers that she would of liked. If he doesn't want to go then I'd respect that and go when he's at school or something.

Weekly is quite often. I do understand you want to go. But your mum would want you to be happy and your babies too be happy. I bet your mum would say go take him to the park. Don't come here all the time. For if she is still out there somewhere looking down on you she would love that more. Try and do something else to remember her. Like put her some beautiful flowers in the kitchen for you to look at. Light a candle for her at home. Nobody can take her memories away from you. Your mum definitely wouldn't want you to hurt over this. Xxx

CatintheFireplace · 07/12/2019 18:11

I actually think it sounds like a nice weekly "tradition". If he doesn't want to go on Christmas Day, can you give him the option of when he does want to go - Christmas Eve, boxing day, new year's eve.. Give him a bit of autonomy.

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 18:12

@Londongirl86 I think I’m a little teary over this. Thankyou Flowers

OP posts:
Chocolateandcarbs · 07/12/2019 18:13

Going against the grain here... I think you should include your child in visiting the grave as much as you think is appropriate. You’re teaching your child your family values.

Outsomnia · 07/12/2019 18:15

Obviously going to visit your mum's grave gives you great comfort. But it seems not to have the same influence on your little boy.

Everyone deals with loss in their own way, but I am guessing that your son doesn't feel the same connection with Granny as you did with your Mum. That isn't surprising to me at all, as he never knew her in person according to your OP.

I would go in my own time, and it can be done whether working full time, pt, or needing sitters. YOU are the one who wants to go to the grave, not your son.

Anyway. Sorry for your loss, we all deal with it in our own way.

My mum died this day last year. She is in my heart and I visit the grave (ten minutes away from me) on her anniversary which is today, and on her birthday. Twice a year, mostly to ensure that the grave is looking reasonably tended to. Although the cemetery does a great job too.

My sympathies..

Ploppymoodypants · 07/12/2019 18:15

OP I am so sorry about your mum, I can’t imagine how hard that must have been and I actually think taking your little Baby along to her grave for a chat and some fresh air was a good way of processing your grief. And I can also understand that as a toddler and bike ride and a run about and some chocolate buttons on a bench then arranging some nice flowers is a lovely way to get some outside time. I don’t think guy have done anything wrong. I also don’t think you should read too deeply into it. He is probably just a bit bored with going.
Regarding Christmas, a walk after lunch is a perfectly natural normal thing to do, and if you want to walk past the grave yard then do. Just don’t linger, maybe lay a wreath, say ‘hey mum, miss you today, hope you have been with us some how’ and then go. Then your son enjoy his new bike or scooter or roller skates or football or what have you. You sound that a loving attentive mum, despite being young and losing your own mum. I am glad you have found some comfort in visiting the grave and your little boy.

RebootYourEngine · 07/12/2019 18:16

Is there another way that you could bring your mum into your life?

A plant in the garden, her favourite scent, food, recipe, childhood tradition that you did together with her.

just5morepeas · 07/12/2019 18:18

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.

frenchknitting · 07/12/2019 18:19

Maybe there are some cultural differences here clouding the responses? In my experience (rural scotland) this was a very normal thing to do. I have very fond memories of weekly walks on a Sunday evening with my parents and the dogs, which included a loop round the cemetery. We would often run into people we knew.

We did it every week until I was at least 10. It was a way to feel connected to previous generations. Sometimes we would talk about them. Sometimes it would just be part of the route out of habit. I never thought of it as negative in any way.

I can see why it might seem strange if you grew up in a city without a cemetery close by, or with parks to walk in instead.

I wonder if it's just the walk he objects to, now it's colder out?

gamerwidow · 07/12/2019 18:19

You're not a horrible mum and everyone deals with death in different ways. Why don't you gently ask him why he doesn't want to go anymore and take it from there. Children process things in funny ways, you won't know what's going on unless you have a chat about it.

Yetanotherwinter · 07/12/2019 18:19

How sad for him to have Christmas associated with someone’s death. You are visiting the graveyard for yourself not for him. Clearly you shouldn’t take him if he doesn’t want to go and I think it’s selfish to take him on Christmas Day. Obviously it’s a very sad day for you and must be very difficult but don’t project your grief onto him.

plightofthealbatross · 07/12/2019 18:20

With all due respect, I sincerely hope you've not made your grief your son's grief. It's inappropriate. I've seen others do something similar to their children, and it caused all kinds of mental health issues with some of the children.

Please respect his request. What you're doing isn't healthy or normal for either of you.

Londongirl86 · 07/12/2019 18:20

@eastmeanswestmum bless you. It's very hard for you to loose your mam so young. Especially when you have babies yourself. Just cut back to start with. Comfort yourself like I say. Get some flowers for your house and think of mum at home. Then take her a lovely bunch once a month.

It's a pain that takes years to go away. My dad still keeps his mind last present in the christmas decorations. I understood all this as a kid. I used to get it out and look at it. She passed away in the afternoon so she did get to open her gifts before. It definitely affected me knowing my dad was sad. But I love my dad and it was his comfort. Don't feel bad. Your little boy probably has enjoyed going. He's probably just getting smarter now he's older and it's going in more that's your mummy and she's not there. You don't need to stop taking him all the time xx

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