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Should I take my 5 year old to his grandmother's funeral?

My MIL passed away on Wednesday. My husband is there now with his family, they all live about 8 hours north. I couldn't leave with him because of work but the funeral isn't until next Friday. I could drive up there later this week, but I'd have to bring our pretty active 5 year old. I don't know if it's the right place for him at this time though. We'd be staying at my MIL's house with my husband's stepdad and I just really don't know if that's the best place for a little kid who doesn't understand what's going on. My husband (and the rest of the family) has said they really would like for us to be there but they all understand if we can't make it.

I'd feel REALLY bad though if we weren't there, or at least if I wasn't but I won't have anyone to take our son for a couple days if I go alone. I feel a bit guilty too because although of course I'd like to be there for them, I really, really, really, hate funerals. I just can't keep my composure at them. But I want to be there for my husband. I don't know what to do! Since they've always lived so far away my son wasn't really close with my MIL. We've gone to visit a few times but it's been over a year since the last time he saw her. But he's still family and her other 2 grandchildren will be there so I'm sure she would have liked my son there too. I just don't know. What would you do?

Sorry so long...and no idea which category this should go in.

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Asked by maecntpntz219 at 7:19 PM on Sep. 13, 2013 in Relationships

Level 32 (52,578 Credits)
Answers (19)
  • If it weren't so far I would say skip the funeral itself and attend the reception afterward.

    Due to the distance I wouldn't go at all.

    Answer by Ginger0104 at 7:24 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • When we experienced a tragedy, my dad who also hates funerals, happily took my kid to check out headstones and be an active kid away from the mourning.

    Will there be anyone there happy for the distraction? Even you?

    Answer by feralxat at 7:25 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • Honestly I wouldn't let him go. My daughters (5) grandma died almost three yrs ago and I didn't allow her to go. I don't think children should see that. Also I did explain to her that her grandma went to see god and is happy and healthy there. She is happy with that for now. Most children don't fully understand what death is, I would try and find someone to watch him while you go! If that's not possible then just do what you can :)....... Sorry for your loss

    Answer by rachel216 at 7:27 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • DS went to my stepmom's when he was five - similar situation, though the drive wasn't quite that long. He was fine, family was fine, nobody expected him to act like a 12 year old. We gave him a puzzle book and a pen during the actual services, and that kept him busy.

    In your case, it might be better not to if you can't stay with different family, though. We purposely stayed with someone from the other side of the family so my dad would have room. Even if it was only you (with your DH), his stepfather will need space and time to grieve, and may feel like he has to keep up appearances while you're in the house.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 7:27 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • Where are your parents? Could he stay with them?

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 7:31 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • I thought about going up there and just being "around" the funeral without having my son inside but for one I don't know the area very well and wouldn't know where else to take him. I wouldn't want to stay back because we'd be staying at my MIL's house while everyone is at her funeral, which is just odd to me. If we intended to skip the funeral I don't know why we'd make the trek up there then. Plus, it's not even just the funeral I'm worried about. Staying in their house with my son running around, touching things, I just don't know if that's right. We probably wouldn't be at the house much, we'd get there Thursday night, be there Friday, and leave Saturday morning, but still. My husband's step dad is a pretty easy going guy but he just lost his wife, not sure he wants a 5 year old running around getting in to all her things....

    Comment by maecntpntz219 (original poster) at 7:32 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • I agree with NP about the housing situation. I think your son would have a harder time staying for a few days with a grandpa that was grieving than he would with the actual service. Plus, your FIL needs time to grieve without having to put on a mask for others.

    If you had somewhere else to stay, I would say go for it.

    Answer by kmath at 7:32 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • There is no need to force your child through this. He's too young and if he didn't really know her then it's not going to affect him if he doesn't go. It's not an environment for little kids. I just remember my kids at my dad's funeral and I don't think j would put them through that again. My daughter couldn't handle it. She wouldn't even go in the room.

    Answer by Izsarejman at 7:33 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • I would not take him..funerals are traumatic for children who can't understand death...I made the mistake of letting my 5 year old attend her grandfather's funeral, and she had all kinds of trauma from it...I ended up taking her to psychologists for many years...if there is a way you can avoid taking the 5 year old do it....


    Answer by older at 7:35 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

  • My LO's brought the old people a sense of comfort. A kind of reaffirmation of life?
    And again a distraction.

    Because it's DH's mom and DH said he'd like you to be there...maybe he needs the kid on an emotional level?

    Answer by feralxat at 7:35 PM on Sep. 13, 2013

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