October 05, 2008,
K.S. asks from Huntington Beach, CA on October 02, 2008
2 Year Old at a Funeral
So we got sad news this morning, my husband's grandmother passed suddenly last night. He's there with his mom making arrangements now (I don't have details yet) and I know that means there will be a funeral in our future.
Here's the quesiton, our daughter is 2 and I'm not sure what do do with her during the service. We can't really send her with anyone (they'll all be at the service) and she's glued to me when there are "new" people around. Any suggestions on how to keep her quietly busy during the service?
So What Happened?™
Thank you all so much for not only your ideas but your support. You gals are so helpful!
We did end up bringing our daughter to all the events. Thank you for the ideas about new toys (we got some books and a magnadoodle). She is a very good public child (thank you God!) and she was quiet when she needed to be and provided distraction when it was needed. She was even good about going to aunts and uncles she doesn't see much. We also told her that Grandma Mary went to heaven to become an angel and we're sad because we don't get to "hang out" with her any more. She understood that and started giving out hugs and kisses to people that were crying then telling me that she was making everyone "all better".
Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.
A.H. answers from New York on October 03, 2008
My daughter was 4 when my mom died. I brought a small back pack and filled it with crayons, coloring book, stickers and snacks. Also brought a small box of legos and my small dvd player. I put the dvd player on in the back of the room with a video that my kids loved. They used the ear phones.. so noone was bothered. it worked out wonderful and people understand that a kid needs to be entertained.
S.S. answers from Glens Falls on October 02, 2008
I'm so very sorry.
I recently had to make the exact same decision. I opted to stay away from the wake and funeral with my son, but met up with the family at my husband's aunt's house between the 2 sessions of the wake and immediately after the funeral.
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D.D. answers from New York on October 02, 2008
I'll be going through the same thing here. My father died over the weekend and my grandchildren age ages 2-5 yrs old. My father lived for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren so they will be at the ceremony. If they get restless then their parents or one of the aunties will take them for a little walk outside. I think children show that life is certainly a circle and their presence usually lightens up the situation.
L.M. answers from New York on October 02, 2008
Too bad you live in CT. I would have offered to babysit for you!
So sorry for your loss! (Maybe just bring crayons and a coloring book or something to keep her busy)
J.B. answers from Hartford on October 03, 2008
Sorry for your loss. I recently lost my sister who left a 22 month old behind and she was not to come to any of the services. I wouldn't suggest bringing your 2yo to the funeral. If you have absolutely no one to watch her for that short time, then the other moms have given good advise on how to keep her busy.
R.F. answers from Syracuse on October 03, 2008
K.---this is such a sad and stressful time for all of the family. It is best if you could find someone to care for your two year old as they don't understand and you can never predict their wonderful two year old mind. She could be a distraction and "bother" to some. She could also be a gift to others. But if she absolutely will not be comfortable with someone away from you...how about hiring a responsible teenager who is good with children to come to the funeral and have them in a separate room with all sorts of toys and activities planned for her. She could be present at the "reception" following if this happens if you feel she is well rested. Your husband will need your support at this time. You could have someone from your side of the family help and SHARE the care for her while in the same funeral home in a separate room. Chances are your side of the family will not all stay around the entire time and would welcome a breathing time to help you out. Best Wishes and God Bless your family during this time. good luck with in your decision. R.
C.K. answers from New York on October 03, 2008
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. My husband and I have a 3 year old son. Since his birth, we've had 5 or 6 deaths in our families - all close family members: my father-in-law, grandmother-in-law, my grandfather, two of my husband's aunts...you get the picture.
Right or wrong, we've had him with us for each of the wakes and funerals we've attended. He's been great in every situation except one when I needed to leave the church service (for my father-in-law's funeral) because he just couldn't sit still any longer. Obviously, it's easier when the child is an infant, but we had 3 deaths in the last year which means our son was 2 or a little more...your daughter's age now.
We found that having him there helped EVERYONE! It was a wonderful distraction for grieving family - "someone close to us isn't with us anymore, but look at this wonderful blessing in our lives now!" That truly has been everyone's reactions.
I brought quiet toys/books for our son to play with, and let him play on the floor in the back of funeral home at the wake. there was always someone willing to watch him if I really needed my own time for grieving or needed to greet people. And even when he was a little louder than I wanted, the innocence of the questions seemed to comfort people (I know that sounds weird).
My biggest suggestion is this: do NOT tell your daughter that her great-grandmother is sleeping! We started saying that when our son asked what was wrong with (fill-in-the-blank) and then realized that he wasn't so crazy about going to sleep or having me and my husband go to sleep. Just tell her that great-gram when to see Jesus, or went to heaven, or went someplace very special...whatever you're comfortable with or your faith says.
I know this is lengthy and I apologize, but I've been there and want you to know that whatever you decide, it's YOUR decision. YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND need to be comfortable with whatever you decide. Don't worry about other people, worry about taking care of yourselves and your daughter and everything else will work itself out.
Let me know if there are any other questions you have. Again, I'm very sorry for your loss.
K.K. answers from Hartford on October 03, 2008
Hi K., I am so sorry for your loss. If this is Catholic service (all I am really familiar with), I would suggest you walk in with your husband and his family but just make sure you are seated at the end of the pew. This way you can get up and walk out without much of a distraction. My dad recently passed and he loved kids, my sister-in-law was there with my beautiful 3 year old niece and this is how she plans. I stated my dad loves kids because we feel kids and their actions are totally fine (as, of course, they are so young they do not know to be perfectly quiet, etc.) but most other older people to do feel this way and find it very disrepectful. Just have an "escape route," and you should be fine. Again, my sympathies!
A.M. answers from New York on October 05, 2008
we took my daughter to the funeral service, but not to the cemetary. oddly enough, it was as if she knew to be quiet, she was great. i think any toy that keeps her attention would be great, esp books or a magnadoodle. maybe even get some new toys would help. i know it was suddenly, but assuming she was older, i wouldnt worry too much. every elderly service i have been too has had children at it, and alot of talking. when you are old and die, people are happy to reminisce about the good times. its the young who die that are quiet, as you are thinking what they have missed.
the only part that is quiet, is the service itself, and if needed, you can stand out of view or hearing. and imo, they are pretty short. since its the grandmother, you dont have to be as involved as far as greeting everyone. it will be fine. i am sorry for your loss, take care
V.S. answers from New York on October 02, 2008
Please accept my condolences ... I understand the problem you're having. When my husband's grandfather died, my children were 6 and 2. The 6 y/o wanted to say good bye to pop-pop, but the 2 y/o couldn't be expected to deal with the situation at all. I stayed in the lobby with my 2 y/o while my husband took my older daughter in. Then he stayed with the baby, while I went in to see the family and express my sadness.
My husband and I took turns staying with the kids in the lobby during the viewing. We played with puzzles and leggos.
During the service, I stayed outside with the kids. They didn't need to see the adults crying and dealing with that kind of grief. I feel it would have been frightening, especially for my 2 y.o who couldn't understand what was going on.
With my husbands blessings, the children and I did not go to the burial. We felt that would be too traumatic, and too difficult for either kid to understand. The family understood the dilemma and were not upset or insulted that I took the children home.
I hope you and your husband can come to an agreement that will meet the needs of your child and the rest of the family as well.
L.W. answers from Albany on October 03, 2008
Will she color quietly? Look at books? Snacks? When my own Mom passed away this spring, my cousin and his family sat way in the back and kept our older son (5 1/2). My younger son (3) sat with my husband and me, and was good, because he was up front and could see everything that was going on. I also had my babysitter with us (teenager from the neighborhood) so if they did start to act up, I had someone who could take them out during the service. (She also came back to the house afterward to keep them entertained as necessary...)