18 answers

Should I Let My 9 Yr Old Son Go to His Great-grandmother's Funeral??

My husband's grandmother is very ill with cancer and other problems. She is not expected to live much longer. My question is do I let my 9 year old son go to the funeral once she passes?? We haven't really talked to him about it yet, but he knows that she is very sick and will soon die and I expect he will ask if he can go to the funeral. Any advice is appreciated.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I haven't had to face this yet with my own kids, but I think I'd let him go. Especially if he wants to. I'd just tell him beforehand what it's all about, what to expect, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

only if he wants to, he knows when he's ready. No sense in protecting him from fears of he's not scared. What harm can it do?
I saw my grandfather die when I was about his age, it really had no effect on me, if I was scared I would have left. In a way, a funeral is like saying goodbye, I think.
-N.

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I think at 9 he's more aware of this process than you may think he is. Even though he is a child he has the right to mourn her passing. Depending on wether or not he was close with her you should make him feel confortable about expressing his feelings.I understand that your concerned for his feelings...but death is apart of life and unless he was extremely close with her as he would be with yourself, his father or his grandparents then you should not be deeply concerned.

1 mom found this helpful

I haven't had to face this yet with my own kids, but I think I'd let him go. Especially if he wants to. I'd just tell him beforehand what it's all about, what to expect, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

My grandmother passed away recently and I didn't take my kids to the funeral, but there was a service afterward and my 5 year old son REALLY appreciated going it to it. He knew enough about what was going on and he wanted to help. He felt very important that he got to pray for her.

At 9, if your son wants to go, I think it's be a shame to prevent him from doing so. Yes, there will be a lot of sadness around him, and that's tough to see. But it's also good for him to see if he's feeling a whole lot of sadness himself. It will be good for him to see how much his great grandfather meant to others.

1 mom found this helpful

There are a lot of factors that could influence your decision. Is your child extremley sensitive? Is he very hyperactive? Is your four year old going to pitch a fit becuase big brother goes and he doesn't? It really depends on how mature your son is. My great-grandmother died when I was around twelve and I wasn't taken to the funeral. I was also a very sensitive child and I would cry for days when a fish died! If you do take him tell him that a funeral is a way for the person's family to say goodbye and to support each other. It's also a celebration of a beautiful life. Explain that it will be happy and sad at the same time. Tell him that it's okay to smile or laugh if he remembers something fun or funny about his grandma. I'm sorry that this is even an issue. It's not fun to lose someone you love. I'll be praying for you and your family.
H.

H.,

Thankfully we have not had to cross that bridge yet with our kids but this is the advice I suggest. Talk to your son about her illness and her eventual passing. Ask him what he thinks he would like to do. Discuss what he percieves happens at a funeral and what actually does happen. Do you know what her wishes are? Will there be a casket...will it be open? Is it just a memorial service? Do the plans include attending a service at graveside. I'm a therapist so I tuly believe talking about it and preparation ahead of time is the key. This may happen over a number of conversations. He might not be ready to talk at length about it at 1st. Open the door and let him know you're willing to discuss it. Death is often a taboo subject because it makes people sad and cry. He could just have a natural 9 yr.old curiosity about funerals and death in general. Be prepared, if it hasn't happened already, to discuss the biology of death. I find 9 yr. old boys tend to be very concrete and scientific about things, i.e. what happens to the body. They tend to get the facts out of the way before they talk about the emotional side of things. I will usually engage a child in something that is interesting to him so he feels relaxed enough to discuss difficult subjects, i.e. shoot baskets, play a card game, etc. If the subject gets too sensative he has a distraction that will allow him to refocus before it gets too tough.

While her passing is very sad, it is a part of life. You have the opportunity to really talk about life stages and how people impact our lives.

Please know that what ever he, and you and your husband, decides he may change his mind at he last minute. The curiosity factor may be what he has right now but as the sevices draw near the reality of what will happen may be too much for him. I have some adult friends that have told me they were taken to a funeral when they were younger because an adult thought it was a way for them to have closure. Your son will let you know what he needs. Respect & trust his judgement. Have a back up plan if he decides not to go.

Good luck and best wishes during this difficult time.

First, I am sorry about your soon to be loss. yes. your son will want to feel that he is part of the famiy experience, including death. My grandmother died when I was close to your son's age and it would have made me feel as though I didn't "count" if I was told not to go. One thing I was very confused about, however, was the wake. I remember people were laughing and acting more like we were at a social gathering and I thought everyone should be crying. I thought that it was disrespectful until someone told me it was okay to laugh and share stories of the recently deceased, and to be happy to have the oppurtunity to see relatives that have been long missed. Unless he does not want to, I would strongly recommend letting him experience and learn more about life cycles, it tends to bring families closer together.

my question is this how close was he to her if he was close yuo should not keep him away from that part of her life .because of you do ther is a goo chance that he will be angry with you for not letting him say goodbye, and saying good bye dosent mean at her bed .and if they wernt really that close than maybe just talk to hom about her passing but most important of all talk to your 9 yr old and see how he feels yes even 9 year olds have feelings . hope this helps good luck and god bless our prayers are with you in georgia

First, let me extend my condolences for the grief your family is already experiencing. When a family deals with terminal illness, grief doesn't magically start on the day a loved one dies. It begins the day of diagnosis.

I think you should take your son to the funeral. When my mother died three years ago, my sisters sons were 5 and 3. The 5-year-old had been very close to his only grandma. He knew she was very sick, and we (including my mom) had talked to him many times about the fact that soon Grandma would be going to heaven and that he would no longer be able to see her every day. Being at the funeral allowed him to say a formal "good-bye." As he stared at her picture (closed casket due to the ravages of cancer), he said, "Grandma is in heaven now, right? Can she still see me?" He just wanted to know that Grandma was OK and that she still loved him. My sister really agonized over how much and what to say to the boys and whether or not they should go to the funeral. In the end, she decided that she can't shelter them from everything in life. They have to learn that death is a very natural and unavoidable part of life.

The grief counselors at Hospice told us that when kids aren't given information, they tend to fill in the blanks with their worst imaginings. You need to give him information so that he won't be unnecessarily frightened. For example, when I had a sinus infection shortly after Mom died, my older nephew was afraid that I would die from my illness. We had to help him understand the difference between a minor illness and a terminal one. The key for my nephews was to know that they and their loved ones are safe and healthy. Sometimes my older nephew calls me just to make sure that his aunt and uncle are OK. Your son's primary concern might be very different. Just LISTEN to him and answer his questions honestly and simply. Give him the informatio he needs, but don't give him so much information that he's more frightened than before. Talking to one of the grief counselors at Gwinnett County Hospice might help you figure out how to help him through.

My sisters and I still talk openly with my nephews about Mom. We do it partly for their benefit so that they will feel free to express their own feelings, but we also do it so they will never forget her. I only wish that my own son born in October could have known his Grandma.

Your family will be in my prayers.

C.

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