Should Children Attend Funerals?

Children attend funerals

End of life is a tough discussion to have with kids, no matter what the situation. When someone dies, unexpectedly or otherwise, how do you tell the children? Okay, let’s put it this way – say it’s a close friend or family member and you know you will be at the funeral. Do you only have ‘that talk’ with them if they’ll be going to the funeral as well or is going to the funeral completely out of the question?

I guess those are really separate questions, so I’ll stick with this one – should children attend funerals? Does your answer depend on who died? If so, why does that matter? My kids went to my grammy’s funeral (my dad’s mom) – they even saw her at the end of her life, in her own bed at home. My kids were ages 5, 6, and 8 at the time. They did just fine – including during the open casket viewing.  I don’t feel I should shelter them from reality when it comes to this aspect of life. Some people, actually pretty many people, disagree with me on this. I can’t figure out why?

As a family we celebrate all sorts of milestones, as do many families. For us this include life and death. I mean, I ‘get’ that some people don’t want their child’s last memory of someone to be of them lying in a casket or barely breathing on their death bed. I really do understand that. But at the same time, I think it is such a crucial life lesson.

My family is going through this right now actually. My grandmother (my mom’s mom) is in hospice right now. She’s been there about a week already so we know the end is getting closer. She is still lucid and asks about the kids and I take them to see her. I think it’s good for them to see her and it is absolutely good for her to get to see them. The last time they were there, before we left she hugged each one of them and told them how much she loves them. That, to me, was a monumental moment, for her and especially for them. So, of course they will attend her funeral.