Take a 5 year old to a funeral or not ?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by NS2A, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. NS2A

    NS2A Songster

    Jun 11, 2007
    I have 2 kids, who just turned 3 and 5.

    Should I take them to their great grandma's funeral and/or visitiation?

    The visitiation will be open casket. The funeral mass will have the casket in church, not open then we will proceed to the cemetary. My kids have never been to a cemetary.

    Now, I know "it depends", but here's some background: we had a chicken die last year (when she was barely over 4) and my daughter got upset. But not hysterical upset. But kind of crying, then immediately the tears would stop then she'd ask questions. "What are we going to do with it?" 'Is she happy or sad now?' Where will the chicken go? Stuff like that most kids ask. So I had her watch and I buried the chicken and explained things.

    She has since seen us bury lots of critters found dead around our property and varmints we trapped. No big deal to her now. She's even seen some varmints shot and witnessed the whole thing. She's helped clean a fish. A little squeamy there, but not too bad.

    So, I think she "gets" death.

    It'd be easiest not to take her, but although not real close to her great grandma, she does know her. My 3 year old I think I'd just leave home.

    Any help is appreciated.
  2. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    I was 4 1/2 years old when my Grandma died. I still remember it well. I wanted to go to the funeral, but wasn't allowed. It made me feel like an outsider. I missed Grandma too. Yes, I would have been upset, but that is part of life. When my Grandpa died when I was 12, I was asked if I wanted to go. I didn't, but regretted it. Because I was left out at Grandma's funeral, I was convinced that funerals were horrid and frightful things that I wanted to be protected from. Personally, I would ask the 5 year old if they would like to go. The 3 year old probably won't remember or understand and may need to stay with a sitter so they aren't disruptive. I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a kid to a funeral. Let the 5 year old decide. To this day, I can't go to funeral or a viewing without thinking about missing my grandparents' funerals. Funerals are family functions. They are not for the dead. They are for those left behind. It gives a bit of closure, even for kids. If the child chooses to go, and becomes disruptive, the rest of the family will understand if you have to leave. Sometimes we do more damage than good when we shelter our kids from everything.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  3. conny63malies

    conny63malies Crowing

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    I took my kids to every funeral vusitation we had to go to. They were as little as five month/ 18month old the first time. One time for their great granny, for my husbands ex father in law(who considered them his grandkids asd well) and the last time a visitation for my friends 13 year old son who died in an ATV crash. My oldest daughter (four back then) saw her "papaw" Gene in the basket. She actually helped her halfsister(13) to go there to look, georgia had a hard time. but together they did alright. they knew it was coming though. He was sick and oxygen depending for a long time. In the end taylor was actually happy that he didnt need the tubes anymore and was "free" to go where he wanted.
    My son had no concept of death however, for him papaw was sleeping, but he didnt know him as well.
  4. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    Thisn is kind of a tricky question for me. As a child I was always sheilded from these sort of things. The first funeral I went to I was an adult and it was for a complete stranger. I have learned to deal with funerals alittle better although none of my parents(who are gone) had a funeral. I feel if you are a child and eased into these situations at a early age you may be able to cope with it as an adult. I would go to the visitation. I don't know how well behaved your daughter is and I don't fault a child for getting anxious, they have a short attention span. I was just thinking she might get bored and I am afraid some would not understand at a serious moment like a funeral. I would try and be supportive and try to explain that great grandma went to heaven and she is at peace. I am sure there are plenty of places here on the internet that can give better advice than me. I would leave the 3 year old at home though. I admire you on showing how to deal with death for your daughter via the animals.
  5. Coop-a-kick

    Coop-a-kick In the Brooder

    Jun 2, 2008
    Altamonte Springs, FL
    Since your daughter has a pretty mature understanding of death (she "gets" it, like you say), especially for someone her age, I would recommend asking her. Explain as much as you feel is right and help her determine what she thinks is the best thing to do.

    It's hard either way. Good luck to you and your family; I'm sorry for your loss.
  6. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
  7. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    I think I would ask her if she wants to go and then explain what she is going to see so she can be ready for it. Tell her how it's a chance to say goodbye and it's a good thing, not a scary thing. I took my kids to their grandfathers funeral around that age and they handled it well and still talk about him fondly.
  8. cheeptrick

    cheeptrick Songster

    May 1, 2007
    New Hampshire
    So sorry for your loss! I agree the younger the better. We took ours at that age to a great Aunt's funeral. Some in our family did not think it appropriate...but my children GET it now. Death is not something to fear... They need to be able to express their goodbyes, and grieve like the rest of us. It does make it easier to go and see...

    I'd say that the older the deceased the better though...if it is a very young person who was deceased...I'd forgo that unless they were VERY close to them ie family member etc.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  9. newnanchic

    newnanchic Songster

    Jan 3, 2008
    Newnan, Georgia
    I would have to say no. I recently had a first cousin who I was very close to at age 35 died suddenly. I have a 7 yr and a 3yr. and we did not take either of them. They have to deal with so much in life that we never had to I say let them be kids and not have to deal with all of that until someone realy close to them passes. Just my 2 cent worth. Please consider hiring a sitter.
  10. PAChickenChick

    PAChickenChick Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Quote:Jody...your humble opinion is mine too!!!! I couldn't agree more.
    My children (9 & 11 & 16) have always been spoken to in plain adult speak...never baby talk. And as soon as they were able to understand appropriate behavior we started taking them to viewings. We started with strangers and then people we barely knew and moved up to family friends. I can't tell you how glad I was that we did this because just this year my Father died and then 34 days later my Father in Law died. I just was so proud at how my children dealt with it. It was hard to answer all their questions after each viewing, especially as the people became people we knew closer and closer...but to leave something like that open to their imagination would have been bad when it turned out to be an imediate family member.

    NS2A...I'm sorry to hear about your Grandmother [​IMG] I think it's great that you are a thoughtful Parent [​IMG] IMHO...I would take the older child, the younger one might be too young right now...but I would certainly keep this in your thoughts so when it is someone they are very close to...they will already have the question part of it out of the way and can concentrate on the saying goodbye part. [​IMG]
    Take care..and God Bless!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008

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