death and children - page 2

My grandmother passed away last night (wednesday) and we are having her viewing friday-saturday and she will be buried on sunday...My question is I have \two sons one 2 1/2 years old and a 1 1/2 year... Read More

  1. by   silvermoon
    Have you asked your mom and dad why they want the children to go?? We had a big family cremation to go to with children from 7 yrs to 4 mths so I offered to look after the youngest ones at the hotel where we were holding the wake. The oldest ones were asked if they wanted to go to the service and the 7 yr and the 5yr decided they wanted to go.
    We all went to the viewing and I again looked after the littlest while her mom had a few tears.
    Overall it was a good occasion and taknig part in a wake and celebrating a life can be a positive experience.
  2. by   CraftyLPN
    I remember when my grandma died...My daughter was about the age of your children...I saw no point of them going at that time...But I did explain to them that she was "dancin' and walking up in heaven w/ God becuz she couldn't do it down here ,because she was too sick".
  3. by   sixes
    I think you know your children best. My children were old enough to understand. When they lost their precious Nanny. With the younger ones I explained that Nanny had gone to heaven to be with Jesus. I gathered all the photo I could and we spent time talking about nanny and thier thoughts and feelings. Later when the stars came out we all went outside, We picked a star and we said goodnight nanny we love you we miss you. To this day they remember and I often see them look up into the stars at night and often hear them say I love you
  4. by   Anagray
    I agree that at that age, they probably will not quite fathom what happened.
    sorry for your loss. It is so tough to lose someone u love.

    I also thought about the same subject u are faced with. My son is 4 and our next baby is due in August, and because their father is so much older than I am, consequently, his parents are getting old. my FIl is 74 and my MIL is 70, or something like that. My kids are going to be faced with the deaths of the only grandparents they know at some point.

    I was raised by my grandmother, she died when I was 9 and my mother withheld it from me, until 2 weeks after the funeral. Everyone was crying all the time, I had to move all my stuff to my mom's place, so they could not hide it from me much longer.
    I also never had a chance to say good bye to my grandmother, and apparently I was so traumatized by her death, that I developed a physical illness for a few years and spent 2 months in the hospital.
    I'm not saying that going to her funeral would have resloved all my problems and I wouldn't have gotten sick, but I never got any closure.

    I decided that when anyone in the family passes on, I will tell the kids what happened and why, I will tell them what will happen at a funeral and my child will make the choice whether he wants to go or not.
    I am also introducing the concept of death to my son, so it will not be a shock for him. When he asks me questions about death, I answer them.
    Death is a part of life, and I want him to never take the gift of life for granted.
  5. by   bergren
    From a peds nurse:

    There is a lot of good information on the web about how to handle death and funerals with children.

    Some links:

    There are a few kkey premises:

    1. Never force a child to touch, kiss, look at the deceased person.

    2. Never force a child to go to a funeral, wake, or burial. Allow them to go if they wish.

    3. If a child (up to teenager) wants to go, bring a close family friend along to be with teh child when you are greeting visitors. If the child wants to leave for any reason at any time, the peson will leave with the child. This means having a caring adult for each child you are bringing.

    Recently my 3 year old nephews were at the home reception following their 2 month old brother's funeral and burial. They did not attend the services per the parents' choice. Their laughter and sweetness playing with their toys at the feet of the mourners provided joy and happiness in what was a truly heartbreaking, sad day. I believe they benefitted from being at the reception as much as we benefitted from their presence.
  6. by   bergren
    I just wanted to add, I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother - share your sadness and fun stories of her with your children.

    I should have said to have the caring adults available to your children throughout the services, not just as you are greeting guests. They might sit in the pew behind the family during services, or at the ends of the aisle, next to each child who is sitting next to you and your husband. The children may have questions that they might not ask you.
  7. by   KaroSnowQueen
    I think the older one should be taken to the visitation. I think the funeral would be too hard for them to sit through.
    I was taken to visitations as a small child, and think it has helped me to deal with death as an adult.
    My mother died when my niece was three. My sister took her to the visitation, and she explained that Mamaw had gone to live with Jesus, and that we would never see her anymore, but we had pictures to remember her by. My niece repeated that to everyone at the visitation, and now, almost six years later, she understands the concept of death and dying and has been to visitations of other grand parents who have died.
    I think it is a good idea.
  8. by   RN2B2005
    My son is 21 months old. I recall reading somewhere that children younger than 4 years don't understand the concept of death, and even then they don't fully comprehend the permanence of it until age 8 or 9. Check out a parenting site, like or and see what they have to say before making a decision.

    I don't think I would take my son to a funeral, even for someone very close--the crying adults, foreign environment and having to sit still during the eulogy would all be distressing. Even an older child might not do well--I went to my grandfather's funeral at age 5 and still have odd, fractured memories of the occasion.

    It's a judgement call, and you have to be the one to make it, but I'd keep my son at home. My condolences to your family in this difficult time.
  9. by   nurse-in-boots
    I think that a child under 4 can understand the concept of death. I approched this subject with my daughter, 3 at the time, when my mother passed.

    I would not let her go to the funeral, but she did go to the reception afterwards at the house. I didnt let her go, because I did not want her to feel sorry for me, with the high emotions I has having just loosing my mom (and it being 5 days prior to giving birth to my other daughter) I just thought that was a lot for a child to handle, seeing alot of people crying during a funeral.

    She does, and did at the time, understand that "Nanna" was dead, and in heaven with Jesus. She tells me that now her grandmother can be a Nanna to all the children and babies that have died.
  10. by   maggie7
    I don't like to go to funerals myself. Just a body now. I do go on occasion just out of respect for those who feel diferently, not for the person who has died.
    When I was 5 I attended my grandfathers funeral and cried my eyes out, but only because I was so upset to see my mom crying. I really don't remember the funeral involving my grandfather, although I do have some memories of him.
    I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother.
  11. by   lpnga
    well, i just told my son that Grammy was gone to be with Jesus and he said "Grammy went to hosptial" and I said yes and Grammy died and went to be with Jesus in the sky..then he started talking about going to the park...
  12. by   lpnga
    i still don't think I am going to take them to the visitation or the funeral..I worry about him seeing her. I know when I have taken him to my moms and she was asleep and has said "Nana WAKE UP!!!!!!" he yelled to wake her I am scared that if he thinks she is sleeping he will yell for her to wake up and I will cry then as well as everyone i don't think i am ..thanks to everyone
  13. by   kimtab
    I think you could take them, they won't understand fully but it might help them connect with why they aren't seeing Nana anymore and begin the process of understanding what death means. I would offer a simple explanation of what they will see before they go, and be prepared to take them out if necessary. maybe a babysitter they are familiar with could come with you who could go outside with them if they were upset or disruptive