Pam - posted on 06/09/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )
We are anticipating the death of a family member sometime in the near future. At this point, my husband and I (who rarely argue or even disagree) are in complete disagreement over whether our five-year-old daughter should be included in calling hours and the funeral. HE believes that children should not be included and don't even need to know much about it. "Children should not be subjected to such a topic as death."
When our fish died two weeks ago he told me to "get rid of it, clean out the bowl, and don't even mention it to her. Hopefully she won't notice." When the previous fish died, he quickly ran to the pet store and replaced it so she wouldn't know the difference. (She DID notice, right away -- I just said the fish died and that was the end of it.)
*I* completely disagree with his line of thinking. To me, death is a part of life. Kids see it every day when we drive past a dead possum on the side of the road, or when they squish a bug. We kill spiders in the house all the time.
As for funeral homes, as long as it is a closed casket, I see no reason to not include her. I would hate for her to grow up and someday tell me, "You didn't let me say goodbye." I believe kids need to know when someone dies, not necessarily the reasons for it, but that it is a fact of life. She has already asked questions about death (my grandmother, who she never met but we talk about -- I was very close to her before her death in 2005) and where is she now? I just think children should not be shut out. Questions can always be answered truthfully without giving TOO much information.
I should mention that we are not religious in any way, so talk of Heaven is not an option in our home. Please don't suggest any form of religion.
Does anyone have any suggestions for how to handle this? Any NON-RELIGIOUS feedback would be incredible helpful. Thanks!