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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.

Oakmaiden · 07/12/2019 18:20

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

I disagree. Particularly as from what OP says it isn't a churchyard so much as a park.... In Victorian time they used to go on picnics to the graveyard...

Death is part of life. I don't think it is at all wrong that the places we remember the dead are also places of life. Actually I heard a radio prog recently about a cemetery where they do all sorts of community activities.

OP, I am so sorry to hear about your mum. It must have been so hard for you.

Obviously you need to walk the dog somewhere - whether on a Sunday or Christmas day - why not start asking your son "which way shall we go" and see how often you end up walking past the graveyard and how often you go somewhere else. It will give you an idea of how he really feels about it (or whether the problem isn't the grave visit but is instead that he doesn't much want to go for a walk.)

SleepWarrior · 07/12/2019 18:21

There's no right or wrong. Everything you've done so far can have been the right thing for that time, and now you're moving into a new stage with a new 'right'.

Our lives change, and the way we manage grief and fit lost loved ones into our lives can also change and adapt through the years.

Don't frame it as you've done something wrong for him because you haven't. It sounds lovely. He's just growing up and needs a different routine now. He may even miss the old one and want to go back to it, which is also fine. You're listening and adapting which is all that matters (but also don't make it all about him. Your needs matter too, it's just about balance).

Stupiddriver1 · 07/12/2019 18:22

If he’s in reception can you visit when he’s at school?

gamerwidow · 07/12/2019 18:22

What you're doing isn't healthy or normal for either of you.

That's unfair, taking the dog for a walk once a week and sharing stories about your mum isn't the same as forcing your grief on a child.

Somerville · 07/12/2019 18:22

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

Graveyards in towns are almost always full these days and so have had no burials for several decades or more. Those often have a more relaxed feel as there aren’t the recently bereaved visiting. But since yours is still in active use everyone really should be compassionate of the recently bereaved. Even in the out of town cemetery where my late husband is buried we’ve had upset caused by things like kids on bicycles crashing into flowers, and dogs fouling. Just because it doesn’t bother you to have bicycle and dog inside doesn’t mean other bereaved people aren’t hurt by it - a friend of mine who lost a child gets very upset at dogs coming over to sniff at her grave as she was scared of dogs, for example. Sad

Helmetbymidnight · 07/12/2019 18:23

you havent done anything wrong, please dont think that. Flowers

you sound like a gorgeous mother and a gorgeous daughter. its very very hard to lose a loved parent so young, by suicide, while pregnant and now single- absolute kudos to you for getting through this. it brings tears to my eyes.

id chat to your son re xmas but i dont doubt you'll work out what to do for the best.

saraclara · 07/12/2019 18:23

I'm glad you've listened to him. I must admit that I find it odd to to take a child who never knew his grandparent to visit her grave every week. I remember my mum regularly trying to tell me about a close relative who died before I was born. It never meant a thing to me as a child. It certainly didn't make her real to me, and I just wanted her to stop, because there was an odd undercurrent (that I'm sure my mum didn't realise it - her memories were loving) but kids are perceptive. It bothered me. I wish I'd had the confidence in my mother that your son had in you, and asked her to stop.

Durgasarrow · 07/12/2019 18:23

Going to a graveyard is creepy and sad.

busybarbara · 07/12/2019 18:24

I actually YABU making him come with you every week.

How ridiculous. What if your child said they didn’t like going on holiday or going to the supermarket or to visit relatives? You don’t change what you do because a 4 year old finds it boring.

Puddlelane123 · 07/12/2019 18:25

I am also one of the (apparently few?) who thinks you are doing nothing wrong by incorporating a weekly visit to your mum’s grave with a bike ride or similar. I actually think there is something lovely about it. He is at the classic age though where ‘death’ becomes a real fear and that may be behind his apparently sudden desire not to go. Or he may just want to play uninterrupted with his toys on Christmas Day and you are reading more into it than needed. I can only imagine your grief, and am so sorry. It must be so painful to see your children missing out on real tangible memories with their grandmother, and I can understand your need to go to the grave. I do not believe it will do any harm to your child in the long term and I would not take any of the harsher posts here to heart. Only you know your child, only you know how he has responded previously and only you know how you wish to incorporate your mother into his life.

Newmumma83 · 07/12/2019 18:26

@eastmeanswestmum I think it’s lovely you want to keep your mums memory alive.

I tell my 1 year old about his great grandad when a story pops in my head and he died 4 years before he was born so I understand the sentiment

I used to love my dad telling me stories of my great grandparents when I was a child As bedtime stories ( along with his adventures with his pets and friends as a kid ) and now Stories about his dad as an adult it helps things seem less final and I Actually am getting to know more about him in many ways .

In our family we tend to think that if there is something of our loved ones left behind when they have passed we like to think they are not hanging around a graveyard.

I see my grandad in nature as he was a country man and loved animals.

Perhaps if you want to keep your mum alive with your son you could tell him funny stories and memories from when you was around his age ? And keep visiting the grave on a less regular basis to stop it being a chore for him.

If your mums spirit lingers / if such things are real ..I assure you she is looking over you both and with you more often than you know , I would light a candle for your mum on Christmas Day by her photo and tell her you love her and think of her always

Velveteenfruitbowl · 07/12/2019 18:26

I regularly went for walks through my local graveyard as a child. I took my children when we lived next to a nice big one. We still drop by one every now and then since moving. There really is nothing wrong with taking children to graveyards or indeed graveyards themselves. I wonder how some of the posters would cope in London trying the avoid graveyards. If he doesn’t want to go don’t force him but don’t let strangers on the internet make you feel bad over doing something perfectly normal.

Londongirl86 · 07/12/2019 18:26

@SleepWarrior ahhh I agree. This is so right xx

Fightingmycorner2019 · 07/12/2019 18:27

I leave my boys in the car when I visit my dads grave . Sometimes they will
Come but sometimes they don’t . I wouldn’t think too much about it if that makes sense ? He might change his mind again . I
Am sorry for your loss x

OlaEliza · 07/12/2019 18:27

I don't think you've been wrong for a few years, or weekly visits are excessive. No one on here can tell you what is right for your family.

I'd ask him where this has come from and get to the bottom of why he doesn't want to go now. A small child that has known this all their life doesn't suddenly up and take against it.

I wonder whether he's mentioned it as school and someone has said something?

Durgasarrow · 07/12/2019 18:27

I'm sorry, I was too harsh.

Redcliff · 07/12/2019 18:28

Firstly I wanted to say how sorry I am to read your story. Of course you haven't been getting it wrong all these years. Your son is growing up and is completely able to talk to you about this which is great. Is your dad going to be with you on Christmas day? If so prehaps you can pop out for a bit then by yourself.

I would ask your son if he would like to go less often and go from there. Also I don't think it's disrespectful to let your son cycle on the path. I went to a graveyard recently that had a kids play park in the middle!

HowlsMovingBungalow · 07/12/2019 18:28

The OP has said she's respectful with her son on his bicycle and dog.
I don't know of any church ground that allows dogs off leads. My dog walks along a public footpath through - big grass banks along with no headstones immediately nr to the path.
Lots of us dog walkers and hikers use it and are respectful - don't tar everyone with the same brush!

xmaself24 · 07/12/2019 18:28

Op you sound lovely. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Purpleartichoke · 07/12/2019 18:29

My own child new her grandmother well and we don’t talk about her every week. It’s a lot for kids to dwell on death so much. I’d try to find a balance, maybe at least spread the visits out further.

doritosdip · 07/12/2019 18:29

I think that 5 is a prime age to think about dying. I remember Xmas shopping with my dd when she was that age and out of nowhere she clung to me and burst into tears saying "Mum, you're going to die one day. What am I going to do without you?" Sad She did this for about a year.

I think that sometimes kids tell us what they think we want to hear because they love us and want us to be happy. It may be the case that some of the time your son was doing the same. He knew you liked going so he knew that it was the correct answer.

I don't think that you're a bad mum at all for not realising earlier. As someone said earlier perhaps ask him which way to walk but skip the Xmas Day visit unless you're visiting your Dad so can get a little time on your own. He might decide to join you when he's older but for now your mum is a very complicated idea for him. Most kids at that age struggle to imagine their parents having siblings and parents anyway.

Somerville · 07/12/2019 18:30

I disagree. Particularly as from what OP says it isn't a churchyard so much as a park....

People are not buried in parks, Oakmaiden. A graveyard is a burial ground in a churchyard.
Sometimes ancient churchyards where there haven’t been active burials for decades are used in a more relaxed fashion but it really is very hard for the recently bereaved when the graveyard or cemetery where their loved one was recently buried is used like a park.

My husband’s grave had dog poo on it once and it was extremely distressing. And at that cemetery dogs are banned but it still happens.

SunniDay · 07/12/2019 18:31

Hi OP,
I'm sorry you lost your mum early and your son never got to meet her. I am not criticising the way you have handled it as whatever you have done you have done to get through it and cope.

I have two children (10 and nearly 2). If I died I would not want them to visit my grave weekly. I would certainly not want them to visit my grave on xmas day. I would want them to remember me fondly and get on with their lives. Perhaps visiting once a year on my birthday or close to it would be nice.

Would your mum actually want you to do this? Would you want your son to do this if he lost you. It's not necessary. You loved you mum but life is for the living.

If I died the greatest gift my children could give me is to be happy. If they were happy I would be at peace.

userxx · 07/12/2019 18:31

@Durgasarrow Glad you apologised. It's not really creepy and sad, it's where her mum is.

Crystal87 · 07/12/2019 18:31

Hi OP, could you perhaps compromise and go every 2 weeks maybe? I wouldn't go Christmas Day. I can see that it's a comfort for you but it's not enjoyable for him to visit a graveyard on Christmas Day. Could you go Christmas eve morning or boxing day?

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