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3 year old, at her grandma's viewing?

My SD is 3 years old. She is perceptive, emotional, and empathetic beyond her years. Her grandmother (my husband's mother), whom she is very close to, is on her death bed. In the event of her death, I am torn as to what to do. Undoubtedly, the casket will be open at the viewing. Do we bring my SD? She understands that grandma is sick and may soon go to heaven to be with God. I feel we have prepared her well for the upcoming loss, and I know she can accept it. But I worry about her actually seeing the body. I'm a SAHM, so I spend all day, every day with her, and I know her very well. She dwells so heavily on things. I'd hate for that image to be stuck in her mind, along with wondering why grandma is laying dead in a box. At the same time, I want her to have closure. Her grandma has been a big part of her life...
Any suggestions, ladies? I want to do right by my little girl.


Asked by mama_moonsong at 12:42 PM on Nov. 25, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 7 (199 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • a sudden death would problaby really confuse a child, but she knows that grandma is sick, and that she's going to go to heaven - give her the choice. it would confuse her if she just never saw her again. let her say goodbye.

    my FIL passed from brain cancer (lasted 9months) 4 years ago next week - we went to a viewing at the hospice - gave the kids the option to say goodbye, they said no thanks and stayed in the waiting room with me while dh went and said goodbye. they knew and understood that grandpa was sick, but now he was in heaven with the angels and God.

    make it clear that its her choice, and don't force her to do anything that she's uncomfortable or scared about. let her ask questions and answer them the best you can.

    Hugs and Prayers to your family.

    Answer by hypermamaz at 12:59 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • She would most liekly just think shes sleeping. If you think she can handle it, take her. I went to my great grandmothers funeral when I was three, I dont remember it, but my mom has told me about it. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and asked why she was so cold for. A little sad, but i was kind of learning what it meant. GL, and Im so sorry to ehar about your mil. Must be an awful situation with the holidays here and all. I'll keep you in my prayers!

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:50 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Really? Dead bodies? That seems barbaric.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:51 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • My sister took her almost 3 year old daughter to our mother's viewing. She did just fine. It's important for children to say "good bye".

    Answer by Fallaya at 12:52 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Don't do it, I did it with my young daughter after my fathers sudden death, she begged me to go and I let her, years later and many pshycologist later, this is something engraved in her memory. Children have a very hard time understanding death, if you can avoid it don't take her.

    Answer by older at 12:54 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Anon. 12:51,
    OP here.. I know what you mean. I just know how she thinks and that's how it would go in her mind. I wouldn't want her to think she's just sleeping, anyway. She knows what it means when someone is dead. I just don't know if it's proper for her to see...?

    Answer by mama_moonsong at 12:55 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • We went through this when my dad passed away and then again when my grandfather passed away. We decided not to take my boys but took my infant daughter, My brother brought my nieces (both the same ages as my younger two) his oldest was 3 at the time, she did fine until the graveside service when they had closed the casket and brought it to the gravesite. That is when she was the most upset, she understood but the reality that papa was going to be put in the ground was too much for her to handle. the viewing was held at the same time as the service, then we went to the grave site. I would pick which situation you feel she could handle best. when my grandfather passed 2 years later we took the boys but my husband stayed outside the room with the kids, my boys didn't want to go in. My brother left his daughters outside the room also, he didn't want a repeat of my dads service.


    Answer by 3_ring_circus_ at 1:18 PM on Nov. 25, 2009