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Old 01-09-2008, 08:43 AM
 
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When my mother-in-law passed away a few years ago, my two youngest were four and five years old. We weren't sure if we should bring them to the funeral, but decided to in the end, after making sure we explained everything to them ahead of time. It was difficult at times having to see so much emotion, but they behaved wonderfully and it was definitely the right choice. And afterwards, they got to meet cousins and aunts and uncles that they rarely see, so it actually turned out to be a good experience for them and they still talk about cousin so and so from grandma's funeral. My parents never took me to any viewings/funerals when I was younger, so I have never been at ease with attending them as a result. The first one I ever attended was my husband's grandfather's when I was 17.

Just as a sidenote, I read one of the posts where the parents told the child that the relative was tired and was going to "sleep" for a very long time. I would be very careful of using this approach, because children can start to become fearful that they or their parents might go to sleep and not wake up. As hard as it may be with young children, it's probably best to explain that death and sleeping are not the same.
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Old 01-10-2008, 05:15 PM
 
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My 3 year old would have had trouble as far as noise and distraction and not getting a lot out of it. But my 5-year old got a lot out of when I took him, i like using events such as those as ways to open a natural conversation about various parts of life and living. Take your cues from your kids. if they are naturally curious then it can be positive, if they absolutely refuse and resist then another approach might be best. They may take their cues from you, they are going to pick up on your emotions, so consider how at ease you are about going to the funeral yourself.
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Old 01-12-2008, 07:11 AM
 
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A child, even 5, knows what death is. They've seen a dead bug, a dead bird in the street, maybe even a chicken or a fish at the grocery store. They will take their cue from you. If you are an emotional wreck at the funeral, they will be. If you are "stiff upper lip" they will be.

I went when I was about 6 to one of our relatives funerals - it was in my dad's home state - about 5 hours from where we lived and where we visited a few times a year. I remember standing quietly and listening, and knowing that the man had "died". I remember everyone being a little sad. My parents did not take me to the front of the church for the viewing, perhaps that would have been a little weird. But in the rest of it - there was no trauma.

And, actually as my grandpa (my last surviving grandparent) died when I was 5, and was buried out of state (in his home state - about 12 hours from where we lived), I always thought it was sad that I never got to say "good bye". Literally. Its not like you can hide the fact that this man died from your children. The 5 year old has memories of him and will wonder why he can't see him any more? Especially if they're close!

I remember coming home from school, and my mother was sad, and being told "Grandpa ... died". And I remember being very sad (not traumatized, but sad). And then my mother disappeared for a few days (I assume she made arrangments for his burial) and that was it. Many many years later, she made a trip to NC (where he is buried in a mountainside cemetery) to see that the monument she had made was placed correctly. I always (even as a kid) felt bad that I never got to say goodbye.

Kids are WAY more perceptive than you think. Kids in day care or at school probably have grandparents who have died. Your child says innocently, "I play with my grandpa on weekends" and his friend says "My grandpa died" and your kid says "Oh" and they keep playing. Its much more accepting at that age.

Its only as we get a lot older that we start to freak out about things more and more..

Good luck, I think taking them is reasonable, as long as you will be emotionally strong enough to still take care of them.
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