05-28-2008, 10:09 PM
I am asking this on behalf of a family I provide daycare to. The kids (2 and 4) just lost thier grandpa. Their dad asked me for my thoughts on them being at the funeral. I thought I'd see what other people's experiences were. Some background- Grandpa had a stroke in January and has been very ill since then (he's in his mid-80's). They were very close. The kids new that he was sick, but I don't know how much had been explained to them about this before tonight (they didn't know he'd passed as of this morning). Dad's biggest concern is that they understand things appropriately for their age and that they aren't frightened by the experience. Has anyone gone through this with young children? How did they react? What would you suggest they be involved with or kept away from and why? (visitation, funeral, burial, etc.) I'd love to hear your thoughts. Maybe I can pass along some suggestions or comfort to them about how their kiddos will handle this. Thanks in advance.
05-28-2008, 11:29 PM
My great-grandmother passed away last November, and my boys were 2 and 4. I did not take them to the visitation or funeral, but to the dinner at the church afterwards. (don't know if this is done everywhere or all the time). The reasons I didn't take them was 1) They wouldn't have completely comprehended. 2) I didn't want them to see how sad I was, or everyone else.
But, in another instance, 2 weeks before that, my dh's step grandpa had passed away. My 4 year old was closer to him. We did take him to that visitation, but not the funeral. We did take them to the house afterward for a dinner. The reason for this I suppose was b/c his family is a bit more casual, and my dh and I thought that our children's presence might be more appreciated at this service. (They are the only little grandchildren; sometimes the distraction is welcomed)
It really just depends on the situation, and how much you want to have to explain to your children and at what age. I do have to add that during the visitation, I mostly kept my boys in the family room, especially my 2 year old. But my 4 year old wanted to color a picture for grandpa and put it with him. It was a sort of rough 2 weeks after that, because he had a lot of questions and was sad and upset sometimes, but I'm not sure even he knew why, if that makes sense. So, it is definitely not necessary to involve them at that age, especially if you want to deal with your own grief more so.
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