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If you're looking for me to brag about how cute my kids are (which they are) or talk about how much weight I did or didn't lose this week, you are in the wrong place! I have a Facebook account for that. This blog is about the blunt truths of parenting, tips and tricks of the trade, some addicting mommy junk and all the other disgusting hilarity that ensues when you have kids...especially two kids only 12 months apart like myself.

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Monday, May 23

My kids see dead people

My family has experienced a lot of death this past year. My husband lost a friend and two grandma's and I lost my father. The kids knew the two grandma's and my father well.

In many cultures, children are completely involved in the grieving and funeral process. There are also many cultures in which children are excluded. It is somewhat standard in our culture to lean away from involving young children.

That being said, I strongly believe in involving children in the funeral process, viewing and all. My children attended the viewings and funerals for the three people that died this year that were close to them. They were roughly one and two years old for these events.

That's right, I held my kids up to see inside the coffin of their deceased and beloved Papa (my father) and GG's (great grandmas). I know some of you think I should be locked up or psychoanalyzed now. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinions!

They did NOT attend the funeral of my husband's friend whom they did not know or love. That would have been unnecessary and inappropriate.

Children learn a very important and valuable lesson when they witness death and the grieving process. Young children are mostly impacted by other people's behavior and feelings surrounding the death. "It is from these responses that children come to understand that death is very important, sad and significantly different from most other events in life.  Knowing that children are learning from us during the process can be a motivating force for us to get the support necessary to go through the grieving process in healthy ways." quoted here.

I was a complete mess after the death of my father. Emotional wreck in charge of two small kids. I cried out of no where and was easily agitated. My kids went to the funeral. They saw Papa, mommy's daddy, was dead and that everyone there was weeping and sad for his death. When I was crying my kids gave me a hug and said "mommy sad because papa's dead". When I flipped out about a small mess, I quickly apologized and explained mommy is sad because of Papa's death, but that it was not ok for mommy to yell and I was sorry. They were completely included in the process from start to finish (wherever the finish line is...haven't reached that yet).

I did not say Papa was sleeping. I did not want my kids afraid that I or they would never wake up.

They have not shown any increased fear of death now that they understand it so well.

They have not shown any psycho or morbid tendencies like playing dead or killing animals or anything.

For my family, involving our children in the death process of loved ones was a well thought and good choice. My precious children understand death is sad part of life and how we move on as a family.

I invite you to consider involving your children in the grieving process when a loved one close to them dies. I also respect if you feel it is not something you agree with. Just remember, children will one day be adults and need you to show them how to handle the more difficult times in life before they are completely matured and shocked by life's harsh realities.


lisa said...

Ramona I do not think you are crazy. I think you handled this difficult situation beautifully. I know it has been a tough year. Hang in there.

Kim4leafclover said...

I totally agree with you! I took my children to my grandmothers funeral. There were some people there that felt it inappropriate, because "children don't belong they can be disruptive". So when they got a bit rambunctious (as young children can) I had my husband take them outside. I stayed inside because I was doing a reading at the funeral. I think my Grandmother would have wanted them there, after all when I was taking care of her I had Boog with me. She loved him very much and Littles too. Funerals are a place for family and friends to say goodbye and children are apart of the family too.

Melanie said...

I so agree with the way you handled this. I also lost my Dad a couple of years ago and still have moments of unbelief and intense sadness. My kids understand, though, that these are normal feelings and we all rejoice in the knowledge that we will see those we love again some day.

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

i completely agree with you. my grandfather died right after gage's third birthday, and you better believe he was there for the viewing and funeral. we had a lot of questions to answer, but gage seemed to understand most of what was going on.

Small Kucing said...

You are not crazy.

I bruoght my son to an uncle's funeral and some ppl think's it's not good.

Chinise is much worse in terms of supersitions. Worrying about the uncle's soul will try and take kid's soul ...this and that...

Steph said...

I'm sorry for your loss and you are not crazy! children should be involved or they will never know the truth and will always feel fear.. fear of the unknown...

bubbi and boo said...

thank you for the love and support! glad im not the only one who feels kids should be involved

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you, and am glad to see, by the comments, that others feel this way too!
I cringe when I see/hear adults freak out over a funeral--it seems very immature to me, and disrespectful to the departed. Death IS a part of life.

And on the subject--why are people so cavalier towards people who are grieving a beloved pet?
They are with us for so long, we share unconditional love with them--they're our FURRY family members!
I'm sick of people who say "It was JUST a cat/dog --get over it."