A funeral

Growing up I got the impression from my parents that funerals were bad and scary things. Funerals were not to be talked about and children were not invited. I don’t want my children to feel that way.

Some sad day in the future my children will have a terribly, sorrowful funeral they will probably attend because it will be for someone they loved very much. When that day comes I want them to already have an idea of how these lamenting get together’s work.

There was a funeral this past weekend and I asked if my children could come for part of it. The loved one that had passed on was not someone my children knew, but were distantly related. It was my mother in law’s cousin. The funeral was not a big one, and the church was child friendly.

This was a good learning opportunity for my children to learn how funerals work, and to see what other churches look like. We are LDS and our church buildings are not decorated with crosses or large stained glass window depictions of Jesus Christ. Don’t get me wrong, we are Christian and teach about the crucifixion of Christ, we just don’t focus on it or celebrate it. So it was nice to show our children these things and let them ask questions, so we could share how others worship.

I’ve been to a few funerals now, but I remember how confusing, and uncomfortable my first one was. The whole experience was pretty overwhelming and I didn’t have an adult to walk me through it. My parents were busy and I had many unanswered questions. I feel like these gatherings can be a good setting to have serious conversations with my children, and I can help them go at there pace, taking breaks when needed.

Recently my boys have decided that dying isn’t a serious thing, or even realistic. They have been having a hard time understanding that it’s not funny or silly. And I think going at least helped mr. C start to understand how others felt when people passed away and how they don’t just come back.

By going, our kids also got to practice wearing their church clothes in other settings, and they got to see how others interacted with each other in this non-daily experience.

Funerals are not fun, but they can be a way to find closure, and they are a part of life. I don’t want my children to be scared of them, or overwhelmed either. I want them to have a basic understanding of how they work, and what is expected of them.

Do you think kids can go to funerals? Or is that a big no in your family? Tell us about it 🙂

10 comments

  1. Personally, I dislike death rituals. I actively don’t involve my daughter in them. I prefer to enjoy people while they’re living. I know too many people who get completely wrapped up in death, and while grieving is healthy and necessary, when does it become too much. We had to attend a shiva call the other night, and the woman who had lost her mother was too busy running around checking on people and making sure they had what they needed, instead of her being able to grieve the loss of her mother. But that being said, I think everyone has to do what’s right for them

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think including children, in life and consequently sickness and death, is a needed life skill. Not everyone beliefs or practices are the same, learning this while you are young is helpful. As a child I was with my mom and aunts as they shared the caregiving, of my grandma. I was 3 when she died are an extended cancer battle. I had such clear loving memories of her. I remember the cousin , whose funeral was mentioned. He and I often reminisced about being at Grandma’s, none of our memories were scary. For us it was just what was happening. We played and occasionally caused mischief, causing laughter.
    Oddly, I don’t remember the funeral.
    I remember similar experience a couple years later, while mom and Aunt Boots cared for my Grandpa/ partner in mischief and the most patient/ loving man. I do remember being sad not to be able to play in the crick, walk the woods or watch the wild life from his cabin window. I remember going to the funeral home and seeing him in the casket. My only questions was why he was dressed in suit and tie, which I hadn’t seen him ever do. In my mind , if Grandpa was going to where you never get sick or hurt & are happy, he should have his bibs and flannel shirt.
    We weren’t a church going family, but will give the grownups in my life credit for handling sickness, dying and death well.
    Arlen loved kids so I am sure, he was glad for their presence.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally, I think it’s a good idea for kids to experience a funeral, especially when kids start playing video games at younger and younger ages and see that their character always miraculously comes back to life. Sadly, that isn’t true in reality, so I think funerals give them a chance to start to understand the fragility of life. My family has always been fully inclusive from weddings to funerals, so my siblings and I were 5, 8, and 10 when our great-grandmother passed. We were mostly shuffled along with everyone else, but it made it easier to experience our grandpa’s funeral just a few years later. I think the early experience gave us a chance to understand death a little and the process of saying goodbye.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree, with all the video games my kids play, and the types of cartoons they are exposed to, I think they have a hard time understanding how real life works and how real death works.
      I hope they learned some life skills as well. I’m sorry to hear your grandpa has passed though, that’s always hard.

      Liked by 1 person

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