Another funeral to attend

My poor son has been to more funerals in his short life than I went to in the first twenty-five years of mine.  I guess that is what comes of having older parents and also Daddy P being nearly twenty years younger than his brother and sister.  Sadly, Daddy P lost another relative this week, so we have another funeral to attend in a couple of weeks. funeral flowers, another funeral to attend

It’s made me think of changes in attitudes over the years with regards to children attending funerals – or perhaps it’s just my family! You can tell me.

We spent most of my childhood in Surrey, with my Mum’s family being in Kent.  I was six when my Dad’s father died, he lived in a home near Kingston upon Thames.  At the time we didn’t have a car, the M25 didn’t exist and I can’t even remember my Dad going to his funeral.  He went alone, Mum was at home with my brother, I guess I was at school.  Who awful for Dad to go through that by himself.  I was too young to remember any discussions, my Granddad lived in a home and I’d only seen him a few times, he didn’t know who we were.

My Mum’s Dad died three days after my thirteenth birthday.  He went into hospital on my birthday, a telephone call I will never forget.  My Gran insisted that my brother and I were not allowed to go to Papa’s funeral – we were too young!  Uum, 13 and nearly 11 – I don’t think so.  I have always felt that that was the wrong decision, I’m not sure about my brother, but I desperately needed to go to understand that Papa was gone.  I needed to say goodbye.

I was twenty-one when my Gran’s brother-in-law died, a lovely bear of a man, who my Mum adored.  We all went to his funeral as my Great Auntie wanted us there, I can remember that my Gran wasn’t happy about that either!  My brother and I were both young adults by then and I wanted to pay my respects to a man who had always been so kind to me and to be there for my Great Auntie, who was and is, at nearly 92, an amazing lady.

I loved my Gran dearly, didn’t always agree with her thinking, but I still worshipped her.  When she died just after her 90th birthday in 2004 I was totally devastated.  We had always been very close.  Her funeral was such an emotional day, the service was held at the same crematorium where Papa’s had been, and where his ashes had been scattered.  It was the first time I had been there, it was like I was saying goodbye to both of them that day – it was very hard.

When my ex-father-in-law passed away, my niece and nephew (both young at the time, were involved in the whole service.  Somehow my ex-BIL read one of the kid’s poems out – the rest of us were in floods of tears by that point.  But I think it was good (that’s the wrong word but I can’t think of another, right now) that the kids were there.  They understood that their Gramps had died and it gave them the chance to say goodbye.  Yes, they had to see all of us in tears, but I think showing emotions is a good thing.  In fact, having them there probably helped us all get through that particular day.

So we’ll talk to my son again about heaven.  He knows that heaven is where our cats Monty and Roxy live and they look after the people who we go to say goodbye to when we have another funeral to attend.  He hasn’t been to a funeral of anyone he personally knows really well yet.  That day I will dread, but I still think I’m doing the right thing by including him in the whole process.

I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences ……



8 thoughts on “Another funeral to attend

  1. 6yo had her first experience of a funeral last year when my Dad passed away. It was never an option for her not to be there. She needed to say goodbye to her Pops, just like the rest of us did.

  2. Sorry for your loss. I think it’s a difficult situation. We have always been very open about death and dying so would be happy about our children coming with us to funerals. I took my daughter to my husband’s grandmother’s funeral when she was 6 months old as we couldn’t leave her with anyone at the time. The older people there loved the fact that something so small and lively was allowed to attend, and said she reminded them of what life was about. I guess it depends…

  3. Bud has never attended a funeral and, personally I don’t really think that they are a place for young children. I would feel that having to look after a little one might distract from the real purpose of the ceremony, especially in someone the child didn’t know as there would be no reason to take them to say goodbye and have that closure that the grieving process requires. We’re at a funeral on Monday and my two will be off with their Nana. It’s an interesting discussion though!

  4. Each time I have been pregnant I have lost members of the close family towards the end…..two out, one in, the circle of life :-/ My Granny died when I was 7 mths pregnant with my eldest so sadly she never got to meet any of her grandchildren. My great aunty who was like a spare grandparent as she lived with her sister, my Grandma, died whenI was pregnant with my youngest and I think we took the our son along and my cousin had her son there too but they were both only 15mths or so and the older people loved having the kids there as a focus of something a bit more happy. When my 23 yr old cousin committed suicide a month or so later, I didn’t take him as it was all just too painful especially for my aunty and uncle and I didn’t feel that the environment would be right. Both ny kids under 5 have since been to a couple of funerals of their great uncles and aunts and have sat nicely for the short ceremonies or joined us with their dad just for the wake. Mostly they have just play with other small relatives and as some of them live in Dubai and America it is often only chance we all see each other as an extended family 🙁

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