Another of my Great-Aunts has died. I only have one left now. The funeral is reasonably local, and my mum will come and stay so that she can travel from here, and I will go with her. But will I take Bernard with me?
A friend has offered to have him, but I do hate to feel beholden. He had met the Great-Aunt twice, but doesn’t really remember her. I don’t think he would be too traumatised by the whole thing; it’s a service at a crematorium followed by milling around at a nearby hotel. I expect him to have lots of questions of the sort that I don’t at all mind answering.
What I do think he will appreciate is discovering a treasure trove of second cousins and once-, twice- and thrice-removeds. We are a Rabbit’s Friends and Relations of a family, but not close enough for him to know anyone. Finding out that he’s less of an Only than he thinks will take his mind off any flames and godly burning that might bother him, I think.
I’d take him. Death is part of life and we all have to learn about it sooner or later. (I remember my 3 year old niece being very matter of fact at my Granddad’s funeral last year. “is Granddad in that box?”). And definitely the chance to meet some other relatives is too good to miss . Often it’s only funerals and weddings where you get to see distant relations.
I remember being upset when my parents didn’t take me with them to a funeral when I was about his age. But them I was always a weird child.
As you have another option maybe the sensible thing is to present him with the options and give him the choice?
I went to a great uncle’s funeral a couple of years back – I hadn’t seen him since I was very small. When they closed the curtains and the coffin disappeared my younger (severely disabled) sister was quietly crying. She didn’t have a clue what was going on so it must have just been a sense of the atmosphere in the room. I was really surprised. Certainly worth preparing him for that if he joins you.
Having read this, I’m thinking of insisting on a “no adults” policy for my own funeral. Under 16s only, with no speakers over the age of 12.
I’d say go – meeting extended family etc can’t be that bad a thing.
(NOTE : This comes from someone who sees extended family – i.e. aunts and uncles, not even once-removed – about once per decade, which is fine for me. But you’ve got to meet them and know them to bloody hate them, so *shrug* It has its uses)