View Full Version : What should I do????????

05-14-2004, 10:06 PM
I have a question and need some advice. Our great grandma passed away this week (she was 102). She was a great great to our kids. The service is tomorrow and there will be an open casket. My question is do I take the kids or find a sitter. I would like to hear pros and cons of your experiences. My dd is almost 6 and ds is 4 1/2. They did have a pretty close relationship with her.
What to do? :(


05-14-2004, 10:15 PM
My daughter is 6. I wouldn't take her because I would want her to remember her the way she was. Each child is different though.

05-14-2004, 10:53 PM
My grandmother died when I was in 1st grade and my brother was 2 1/2... I remember having to sit in the "mourning room" or whatever it was during the ceremony... I suppose peopel though it was better for us, but all I remember is not bring able to see... when my grandpa died 2 years later, I remember specifically asking if "we had to go to that little room again, I don't like it." But I do remember going to see them in the casket... I thought it was kind of wierd, but I think it helped me understand that they really were dead.

05-14-2004, 11:00 PM
As one who was not able to go to my great-grandma's funeral (around 5 or 6yo), I remember sitting at home and crying because I wanted that closure. I remember it being especially hard afterwards listening to people who went, including some cousins my age, and knowing that I missed that experience that they were all speaking so fondly of. At the time when I needed to be with my family, I felt that I was cast aside.

Have you spoken with your children about her death and funeral? You might be surprised to hear what they are thinking and feeling right now. I think that it is wise to take them, even if they have reservations on going. If they are extremely upset at the idea of going, then by all means consider another alternative for them, but if it is only slight apprehension, I believe they will benefit in the long run from attending the funeral.

05-15-2004, 05:03 AM
One of my co-workers' grandmother passed away a couple months ago and she brought her twin daughters (who are 4 years old). They couldn't grasp the idea that their great grandmother had died - they wanted to open the casket and get her our (and appearently this was said out loud during the service).

I was at a funeral a couple weeks ago where children were present and at the grave side burial, one of them said (in a very loud voice) "I'm tired and I think I'll lay down" then he proceeded to throw himself on the ground - embarassing situation for the family (I snickered thinking about my own children - knowing they would probably do something similar).

It's a personal choice whether to bring children to a funeral - if it were me, I would have to consider the maturity level of each of my children and consider how close they were to the deceased relative. If it were my mom, I would bring them because they're all close to her...


05-15-2004, 06:19 AM
I wasn't a child when my grandfather died, but I wished I hadn't viewed him in his casket. I would rather remember him as he was alive. At 20, I could and did consciously put that memory aside of my grandfather's features in death and deliberatly remembered all the good things about him and his life. At the burial, though, it was strange to me that everyone left before his casket was buried! My fiancee (now dh) and I stayed a short distance away until the men with that duty completed their task. It touched me that they did so with tenderness and respect. I'm sure they all knew him personally, as he lived and worked in a very small town. The burial was closure for me, not seeing his empty earthly body.

I think taking a child to a funeral depends on the individual child. Also, something to think about is the culture you live in. Most American funerals are quiet and formal. My husband's family came from a part of Kentucky where they had wakes. Apparently the weeping and such got kind of loud. Latin funerals were the reason my parents did not allow me to attend a family friend's funeral when I was a child. Folks in the country we lived in got VERY emotional. They thought it would be too much for a child, but I remember being upset that I didn't get to attend the funeral.

Our prayers are with your family during this time.


Anne (yes, I made it over from ABCteach's forum, but have only lurked so far!)

05-15-2004, 07:36 AM
I would encourage you to take them, especially the older one. Death is a part of life, and children need to see it as much as we do. Last August, my DH's uncle passed away. My kids didn't know him very well at all, but we decided to take all three with us (ages 7,9, and 3), because my mother and FIL both have health issues. We felt it would be better for them to see a funeral first-hand where they weren't especially "close" to the deceased and weren't grieving per se. My oldest complained that she didn't want to go, as she didn't really know this guy. I explained that it was Grandma's brother, and Grandma would be feeling very sad. We needed to go because it would help Grandma feel better.

I am so glad we did! About two weeks after that, my middle child's best fried, age 6, died unexpectedly in a car crash. Again, this time we had to deal with death a little closer to home. Yes, there were tears and grieving (and not just on the kids' part), but my children came through it fine.

05-15-2004, 04:19 PM
I am a firm believer that you not try to "hide" death from your children. Death is a fact of life, and children need to be exposed to it, and explained about it. There was a post like this on abcteach several months ago.
When it's the first time something like this happens to your family, parents often wonder what is best to do with the children. My dd Ashley (who is now 10) was 3 or 4 when our neighbor lady passed away. She was very close to her. I never once even considered not taking her to see "Grandma Sarah" and allow her to say "good-bye" and have some closure. Now, we've experienced death in our family many times over since then. And, Ashley is very understanding.
Because we are Christians, we try to make death a very positive experience for our kids. Last spring, we lost a 42 yr. old uncle, very unexpectedly. It's really something when your child says "I bet they had a big party in heaven today"; and, she's right! It's sad for us who are left behind, but if you explain death to your kids, they'll understand.
Like in the previous post, you need to be prepared and have your children prepared, because we just never know what might happen tomorrow.
Good luck, and we'll be praying for you!

P.S. Someone mentioned bad behavior at a funeral. If you feel that your children will be distracting to the other mourners, you may want to just bring them in for a bit and then take them home to a sitter (if this is possible) or keep them home. You know best how your children will act.

05-15-2004, 05:49 PM
Aside from the one time I mentioned in an earlier post, my family is very close and inclusive of all ages at funerals. If anything, I'd say that childhood antics seem to give a great sense of life to our family funerals. People love to see children there and I think our family relates to death in an extremely healthy way. This might not work for all families, but I know I'd get asked why I didn't bring the kids if the situation ever arose. But then again, we spend our days of mourning laughing and reminiscing. We are also Christians and look at death as a right of passage to our eternal home with Christ. Not that we don't feel the loss, but we celebrate life and family all the more when we are reminded of our temporal residence on earth.

05-15-2004, 08:34 PM
When my daughter's friend died, we went to help her family one day. On the way, it was mentioned that we were going to "Danielle's house". My youngest, three at the time (who also attended the funeral) piped up, "Danielle's dead!" My daughter "corrected" her little brother with "No, her BODY is dead, but her SPIRIT is living with Jesus!"

05-16-2004, 02:41 AM
My God is an AWESOME God. The funeral was today. Thank you all for the input you had and that is exactly what I was needing. My main concern was based on my experiences as a child. I had seen close members of my family at viewings and the image is vividly stuck in my mind. I just did not want an image of her put into my childrens minds of lying there. I definatly did not want to leave them out of the whole scope of life and death either. We are also very involved Christians so there is a big celebration when you finally get to see Jesus face to face. Funerals for my side of the family when I really look at it are great memories for me. Not to sound disrespectful but, it was a time that we all got together and we have a pretty loud cackiling bunch (mainly the women) LOL. We would often show the most love to others in a time that we had just experienced a loss. Life seems to have a way of letting you show your love a whole lot more in times like this. So these times were very loving and full of laughter for me. So we had decided to take them and just sit in the back. Well they had closed the casket about ten minutes before we got there. I had prayed "what do I do". My God worked it all out, just as He always does. The kids were fine. Someone had suggested to ask them how they feel. My dd, we had talked to her but my ds start to express himself on his own today after the funeral and we just let him talk. Thank you again for all you input.

Tandy :) :)

05-16-2004, 04:55 PM
I'm glad to hear that things went well at the funeral. As said before, it's a tough decision to make. But, I'm glad to hear that you took the kids, and that they were able to express their feelings, and that everything went fine.
I'm sure there will be more questions to answer, but it will be well worth it.
God is good!

05-16-2004, 08:54 PM
My daughter will be seven this week and she attended my father's funeral at the age of 1 AND my grandmother's funeral this passed winter. Honestly said, don't make your children sit there, have someone be with them outside the "little room" throughout the time, but when it's time to close the casket and say goodbye, have them come in and do so. Do explain to them ahead of time what to expect...grandma's body will be cold; she's sleeping and you can't wake her up and so on.
My daughter had spent most of the greeting time with her favorite cousin outside the church (funeral wasn't in USA)and when the service began she knew ahead of time that she had to sit still just for a little while...she remembers everything and I'm glad she went.


05-16-2004, 09:38 PM
We just lost a great grandmother back before thanksgiving. She was 103 so a great great to my kids also. I have a 10 year old and 4 year old. The kids did fine at the funeral as well as can be expected. They understood what was going on. I explained before we went. They each placed a flower on her casket so that helped with the closure. Death is never easy. But we all have to face it its just a part of life. No one will ever become an expert at saying good bye to love ones. We all have to handle the situation in our own way. Let them decide if they want to go or not.


05-16-2004, 10:11 PM
Crystal, you might want to re-think the idea of "she's sleeping". Young children don't understand that language. Sleeping is what they do when they're tired. You don't want them thinking that if they go to bed at night, they are going to "sleep" like that and not wake up...

05-17-2004, 05:53 AM
Crystal, you might want to re-think the idea of "she's sleeping". Young children don't understand that language. Sleeping is what they do when they're tired. You don't want them thinking that if they go to bed at night, they are going to "sleep" like that and not wake up...

It all depends on one's beliefs, but I think the word "sleeping" is a good one. My grandfather's headstone says "Asleep until the resurrection" and those words have been of great comfort to everyone over the 28 years since he died.

We believe that our dead loved ones are sleeping in God's memory until the resurrection, and I had no difficulty accepting this when he died (I was nine).

My own children range in age from 12 to 6 and they FULLY understand that their great grandmother, who died this past October, is also asleep until the resurrection, when we will all be reunited.

In keeping with Biblical accounts of countless resurrections, and God resurrecting Jesus himself, it is not beyond the realm of their understanding to accept that there is a difference between our sleep at night and sleeping in death. Jesus even referred to Lazarus as being asleep, when on his way to resurrect him. From the viewpoint of God's wondrous works, it can strengthen their faith to know that only God can awaken a person from this special sleep.

Use of the word "sleep" also implies a temporary state ... something that will be over. Our loved ones sleeping in death, will soon sleep no more.


PS None of the above in intended to spark a doctrinal debate; but, rather, to focus on the appropriateness of various implications of 'sleep.'

05-17-2004, 07:32 AM
Well it's the same term that my parents have used for me and my brother when we were little, we didn't have any fears, and neither did my daughter. I believe that it's one way to explain to a child what death is, especially young ones. They don't understand the concept of someone's soul leaving the body or reincarnation (depending on your believes) and so on. Like Kathe said: there are various implications of the word "sleep" and they way I used it was one of them.



05-17-2004, 09:02 AM
I understand what you all are saying, and Kathe I agree with your theological beliefs. But I've known a child who was terrified of going to sleep at night, because she was scared she wouldn't wake up like Grandma. Young children can be very literal. My oldest probably wouldn't have thought anything of it when she was very little, my middle one might have freaked. It was just a point to consider. I've also worked with Special Needs teens at a camp where a camper drowned. The girl came up missing and was later found. The director talked with my girls, using terms like "Susan is gone", "she's no longer with us", etc. I think he just had difficulty using the word "dead". My girls were very literal, and wasn't sure what he meant. Finally one girl asked right out, "Is she dead?" and got a straight answer.

05-17-2004, 05:24 PM
That's why it all boils down to the teaching, which we all know so well.

We somehow know how to get across mathematical intricacies and other things, and we can explain this sort of thing too.

I agree though, Jackie, there are some very vague ways to handle things and that is almost always a bad way to deal with kids.


05-17-2004, 06:23 PM
He-he-he!!! Maybe YOU can get across mathematical intricacies, Kathe, but I'm not so sure *I* can!!! DH is certified to teach Middle and High School math (though he hasn't taught it for years; he teaches computers instead). I've warned him that we're coming up on pre-algebra a year from now, and I'm expecting HIM to deal with THAT! I'm the language arts person, he's the math/science person!

05-18-2004, 05:04 PM
Jackie ...

I've seen you post before about how you plan to use Saxon so I know you both will have no trouble.

Besides, there's always the solutions manual if you're stuck LOL :p

I'm going through Algebra 1 myself, before I use it with ds in a couple of months and so far my memory is kicking in. Who knows how long THAT will last :confused: