My children's grandfather is dying. He is the father of my ex-husband. I have remarried so there are a lot of grandparents in my children's lives, but he is their first, and true, granddad who knew them from birth (they are 9 and 11) and he has stayed in their lives even when their dad was inconsistent.
I have taken them to visit him and it has been very sad, and hard but they needed to say goodbye and we have had some good conversations about him, the three of us. I've also followed all the advice about having his photo around, etc. My question is about the funeral. I feel they are old enough to go & they have already said they want to. Do I need to go or can they go with their father? (He does not have other children.) If you think I need to go, can my husband go, too? He only knew my ex-father- in- law slightly.
From: MB, Portsmouth, NH
When children attend a funeral, the rule of thumb is for them to be with an adult who will be physically and emotionally available to them, someone they know well, are comfortable with and trust. This person needs to be able to explain to them what's happening (about the people who speak, about the coffin, pallbearers, why people might be laughing, etc) to comfort them, and to answer any questions in a developmentally appropriate way. The person needs to know he/she can't disappear on them, or be so wrapped up in his/her own grief that it makes him/her unavailable to the kids. If that person can be their father, that's fine. Factor this into your decision, too, though: often the adult child of the deceased is not the best person to be with the children because he can't give them his undivided attention: too many people will be expressing their condolences and wanting to talk to him. If it can be another relative, also fine. Same caveats apply, however. Otherwise, it needs to be you. And yes, I think it's totally appropriate for your husband to attend with you. You're a family. One other thought: it sounds like this man was a wonderful grandfather to your kids; why wouldn't you want to go?
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