20. Mar, 2016

No place for children.

When I was growing up I can recall my Grandmother dying and being understandibly upset. My mother did not want me to attend the funeral even though my older cousins where allowed to. It is my earliest memory of death and having to deal with grief. However because of my young age at the time my mum decided it was not best for me or my sister to attend the funeral. She beleived that children should not be allowed to attend funerals as they are to emtionially charged and kids should not have to be dealing with that at such an early age. 

It was the same reason that my parents did not want me to enter the funeral industry in the first place. Again they thought that I was to young to be dealing with death and bereavement especially when I hadn't really had a life of my own yet! Now that I am working in the funeral industry and have been for a while now I have often pondered this question myslef. 'Should children be allowed at funerals?' My honest answer is I don't know. Each family is different some embracing death and all its customs and rituals. Some hide away from it and keep their kids well away from the ugly side of life. I was at a funeral only recently where some of the mourners where children. The adults where in an awful state, struck with grief with lost expressions on their faces as if they themselves had nothing else to live for. The children seeing the adults in this way where also just as distraught and upset. It got me thinking where the children reacting in such a way because they where genuinley upset and they knew what was happening? Or where they upset because they where seeing their parents and other adults upset? 

Kids are a lot more intelligent then us adults give them credit for. And maybe they can undertsand the grieving process better than we think they do? But they are also easily led, inpressionable and naive. I am not a parent so cannot give any parental advice. But for someone who has worked with bereaved families and seen the reactions on childrens faces as they walk into a chapel of rest of stand at a graveside I can say that It does not help to shut children out of the grieving process. Talk to them about what has happened, ask them how they feel about not being able to see their relative again. Death for some is not a nice thing to talk about I understand that but it's inevitable and will happen sometimes a lot sooner than we would like it to. So the best thing I would say to do would be to not shut them out when a death occurs. Instead talk them through the process so that they can deal with it when they are standing on their own two feet out in the big wide world.