Surviving a Funeral with a Toddler | Back Home Again: Surviving a Funeral with a Toddler

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Surviving a Funeral with a Toddler

I know, many of you are thinking that this is a morbid topic and are wondering why on earth I would be blogging about it. But, I personally think that children should be taken to a funeral, especially if it is a close family member. They are part of the family too and deserve to be there, even if they don't understand what is going on. I also think that children brighten such a sad occasion. Since my grandmother's funeral was this past weekend, I thought I would share some of what worked and what didn't work with an almost three year old and an almost 13 month old.

Making sure Ewan had lots to do was pretty easy. I brought his crayons and several coloring books, plus his new Usborne pirate book. I also found his Leapster Explorer and Jake and the Neverland Pirates game in the basement last week. It was so weird that "Santa" left it at our house just in time to take on a five hour drive...
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One thing we were concerned about was if he would freak out if he saw my grandmother in the casket. We had been telling him that Grandma Pat went to Heaven and that people would be sad because we don't get to see her for a long time. Before they went into the room where her casket was, Alan had told him that she was in Heaven even though he might see her. Other than ask me why I was crying, he wasn't fazed at all. He kept asking about the "guitar" which was my grandmother's violin that was displayed in her casket. But, that's it. There was also an area off to the side where they could play without being in the way of the adults, which definitely helped. He did really well at the church too, playing his Jake game pretty much the entire time.

Finding things to keep Cecily occupied was definitely harder. I brought several toys, one of her dolls and a book. However, I pretty much had to hold her the entire time. She's definitely got separation anxiety and I have to be in her sight at almost all times and/or hold her. She was ok at the funeral home because one of m friends came and brought her son who is the same age so they were able to play together in the little area off to the side. The place I was mainly worried about with her was during the church service because she never sits through a normal Sunday service. However, she fell asleep while I was holding her before the service started and slept almost the entire time. Score! We didn't time it that way, it just kind of happened. Works for me! The only bad thing about that is that she woke up hungry and screamed the entire time at the cemetery and there was nothing I could do. While I have no qualms about nursing her in public and in front of family, I didn't feel that that was an appropriate time.

All in all though, they were very well behaved and I am so thankful for that. What are some things you do to keep your children occupied during quiet events?


  1. glad to hear it went ok. My grandmother died when my kids were young too and we had a friend of mine watch them for us.

  2. I know everyone feels differently about this. Alan really didn't want to take them but I insisted that they go. On the way home, he kept saying how glad he was that they went and that he would definitely want to take them if something happened to one of his family members.

  3. oh no, I didn't mean I was criticizing what you did at all. it is good that you were able to bring them.


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