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What would you do? Long sorry!!

Posted by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:16 PM
  • 12 Replies

I am really torn on what to do here, I think I am doing the right thing but I do feel somewhat bad about it.  This may be a bit jumbled because I am still trying to sort everything out so I apologize in advance.  First my daughter is 4.5 and lately has been very anxious about death- she cries (bawls really) several nights a week saying that she wished people didn't have to die and things like that.  

On Sunday my husband's uncle passed away suddenly.  The funeral is Saturday and the viewings are Friday.  They are in Maryland and we are in Michigan so it will be about a 12 hour drive.  My husband's family does not get together often- I have never even met some of the cousins and we have been together for ten years.  I would like my daughter to meet all of them but not go to the funeral.  I was telling my husband this while we were talking and my father in-law was there.  I brought up the idea that maybe we could go and I would just keep her at the hotel during these times and then bring her to the luncheon and any other time all of us would be together.  At that point I was told (quite rudely- but I understand his brother in-law just died) by my father in-law that everyone was staying different places and the ONLY time they would all be together was at those two times.  Now my daughter only met this man once for about half an hour when she was 2.5 so she really has no emotional attachment to him and with her anxiety about death right now I don't feel like now is a good time to be taking her to more funerals than "necessary".  

Now on to why I do feel somewhat this past weekend we drove from Michigan to Nebraska to see my sister and her family and to pick up my sister and brother in-law who flew into there from London.  It was a 13 or so hour drive, but my daughter spent a lot of the time being very cranky because she doesn't sleep well in the car.  

Part of my reasoning to not have her go is that we will get home the day before my sister leaves to go back to London and they won't be back until July.  My daughter is very attached to my sister- we all lived together for 3 years of her life.  She would also miss Christmas with my family, which she loves to go to but we have missed that before so that isn't really a big deal.  My biggest thing is definitely the anxiety that she already has with death at this point. 

Anyway long story short- Am I really being as awful as my father in-law wants to  make me feel?  We usually all get along really well so I was just shocked that he was so rude about it, especially after I told him that his grandchild has been crying about death regularly as it is.  I feel like I am doing the right thing and we did ask our daughter which she would like to do and she chose to stay home (which is major because she hasn't been away from us for more than a night and normally ALWAYS wants to be with us) but still my father in-law is trying to make me feel terrible about it.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:16 PM
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Replies (1-10):
MalihaKhan
by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Wow - this is a tough one. Im sorry youre going through this - these kind of situations are never easy on anyone. Having said that - frankly - the decision is between you and your husband and it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with your father in law. I would suggest you have a frank conversation with your dh and explain to him just the way you have explained it here to us. Dont fight, dont get into past issues, etc etc, just stick to the current situation and your concerns. Keep the focus on your daughter NOT on how rude your fil was- that is not the issue here. At the same time, you need to decide beforehand if this is a battle that you choose to fight. Because if there is resistance from dh - then this has all the symptoms of becoming a full blown conflict. (my family, your family etc). If you think your daughter can handle all the stress, then my advice is let this one go. If you feel very strongly about it only then take a stand.

Personally I think going to a funeral may actually help her deal with the fear of death that shes currently going through. It might be a great opportunity for you to show her what happens when people die - that they go to a better place, how people who love them pray for them etc. You could use this as a learning opportunity to help her cope with her fears. I know driving 12 hours+ on consecutive weekends will be tough - but kids are quite resilient. Think of it this way - if it was a happy ocasion and you didnt have these concerns would you still have had a problem with her having to be in a car for over 12 hours on 2 consecutive weekends?

Hope this helps...

atlmom2
by Ruby Member on Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:43 PM
Why is she terrified of death at her age??
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PensFan99
by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:51 PM
Not being a close family member i would not force her. Normally people understand this kind of thing. The only one i made ds go to was my grandfather, he was very close to my ds. Ds is 9, so he dealt with it ok. I took him to a friends mothers a few months prior knowing at some point he would need to go to one, and he choose to stay in the room separate from the casket, i was okay with that. Might that be an option?
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ZoeCY
by Silver Member on Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Thank you very much for all of your advice!  

My husband and I have talked about this a lot and he agrees that we should let her stay home so that isn't an issue thankfully.  

I did think that maybe this would help but we have done all of that before and it has really just seemed to make things worse.

Honestly if it were a happy occasion then we wouldn't have gone to Nebraska and would have planned to go to his family thing (we have done this with weddings and whatnot that fell on the same weekend that my family was having something because she doesn't get to see his family often).

Thank you again! 

Quoting MalihaKhan:

Wow - this is a tough one. Im sorry youre going through this - these kind of situations are never easy on anyone. Having said that - frankly - the decision is between you and your husband and it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with your father in law. I would suggest you have a frank conversation with your dh and explain to him just the way you have explained it here to us. Dont fight, dont get into past issues, etc etc, just stick to the current situation and your concerns. Keep the focus on your daughter NOT on how rude your fil was- that is not the issue here. At the same time, you need to decide beforehand if this is a battle that you choose to fight. Because if there is resistance from dh - then this has all the symptoms of becoming a full blown conflict. (my family, your family etc). If you think your daughter can handle all the stress, then my advice is let this one go. If you feel very strongly about it only then take a stand.

Personally I think going to a funeral may actually help her deal with the fear of death that shes currently going through. It might be a great opportunity for you to show her what happens when people die - that they go to a better place, how people who love them pray for them etc. You could use this as a learning opportunity to help her cope with her fears. I know driving 12 hours+ on consecutive weekends will be tough - but kids are quite resilient. Think of it this way - if it was a happy ocasion and you didnt have these concerns would you still have had a problem with her having to be in a car for over 12 hours on 2 consecutive weekends?

Hope this helps...


CoeyG
by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Children go through a "dramartic" phase where they focus a lot of death or leaving the family.  Your daughter is behaving quite normally.  I was 2 when I went to my first funeral, and I wasn't traumatized.  Now is the time for you and your husband to sit and talk with her about her fears and to reassure her, that you and he are not going anywhere.  Frankly I don't think your father in law is being unreasonable.  

ZoeCY
by Silver Member on Nov. 21, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Because unfortunately in her short life she has had to deal with a lot of it.  Mostly pets (quite a few adults as well) but to a four year old that doesn't really make a difference.   

Quoting atlmom2:

Why is she terrified of death at her age??


3lilladies81
by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 9:02 PM
1 mom liked this
She is your daughter it is your choice PERIOD! do what is best for her he will get over it.
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ZoeCY
by Silver Member on Nov. 21, 2012 at 9:03 PM

I will check on that!

Quoting PensFan99:

Not being a close family member i would not force her. Normally people understand this kind of thing. The only one i made ds go to was my grandfather, he was very close to my ds. Ds is 9, so he dealt with it ok. I took him to a friends mothers a few months prior knowing at some point he would need to go to one, and he choose to stay in the room separate from the casket, i was okay with that. Might that be an option?


CoeyG
by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 9:29 PM


Quoting 3lilladies81:

She is your daughter it is your choice PERIOD! do what is best for her he will get over it.

This is true, but you also have to talk about iwth your child.  I would say her "fears" aren't really about death as much as they arebout abandonment.  All children go through a phase of being afraid of being abandonded.  May I ask if you and your husband have been discussing certain changes that will be coming up?  Perhaps a move or a possibly sibling, maybe youand he had a heated discussion that she overheard? 

ZoeCY
by Silver Member on Nov. 21, 2012 at 9:43 PM

We have talked with her about it, she is the one the ultimately made the decision to stay with my parents and sister.  We are also moving but this has been going on since long before that was even discussed.  I know that it is normal for them to be dramatic about things at this age but at the same time I don't want to force her to do things that aren't really necessary.  I also would not feel right imposing on his aunt- she just lost her husband and honestly I don't know whether or not she is the type who would want children around at this time.  

I do not think that my father in-law is being completely unreasonable I know he loves to show her off, but I definitely think he could have been more polite about it.  My husband and I have discussed all of this at length and are now actually planning a trip out to visit one of his cousins next summer and are going to try and see an aunt and uncle while we are there as well.  *Sorry part of this is in response to your other reply, I didn't notice it until now.  Also, sorry if this doesn't make much sense- I am trying to do too much at once!

Quoting CoeyG:


Quoting 3lilladies81:

She is your daughter it is your choice PERIOD! do what is best for her he will get over it.

This is true, but you also have to talk about iwth your child.  I would say her "fears" aren't really about death as much as they arebout abandonment.  All children go through a phase of being afraid of being abandonded.  May I ask if you and your husband have been discussing certain changes that will be coming up?  Perhaps a move or a possibly sibling, maybe youand he had a heated discussion that she overheard? 


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