This Saturday we took the kids to their first funeral. We thought that it was important for them to go, since they knew the little boy and are friends with his older siblings. Of course it was sad. It was the largest funeral I've ever been to- over 700 people in our tiny chapel; they spilled into the gym and up onto the stage. I think the sheer number of people there was a help to his parents. I tried to explain to the kids beforehand about it being a solemn occasion, how to show respect for his family, etc. They all vowed to be very respectful, and well behaved. It became an interesting lesson for me.
I have a theory about kids and funerals.
Anna threw a fit because I wouldn't let her lay down across the chairs with her feet in the laps of the people behind us. I barely got my hand over her mouth and bolted out the door before the outburst. After some calming down, we went back in. Leah was jumping up and down on my lap. Aaron was provoking Leah. Emma kept tapping my leg and whispering "This is taking FOREVER!" Josh was wiggling, like usual. I should say in their defense that the stake president talked for 30 minutes, and we were there for almost 2 hours.
I should also say that the night he died, the kids were very upset. Emma cried for the broken heart of her beloved primary teacher. Aaron cried for his friend's loss of a brother. Josh cried because he can't stand to watch anyone else suffer. We all cried together and it was a wonderful opportunity to talk again about forever families
So either little kids have a better understanding about the plan of salvation, and funerals are just an opportunity to grieve openly, or kids will be kids. When his dad would relate funny memories of him, the kids would laugh. When people around them were crying, they just didn't seem to understand why. Maybe it is that MY kids will be kids.
At any rate, we wont be taking any children to any more funerals.
So my theory- Funerals aren't for children. One, because they don't know how to show 'appropriate' respect, and two, funerals are for adults to remember what kids grasp so easily. Yes, life is fragile, but it doesn't really end. We saw our loved ones before we came to this world, and we will see them again. For kids it is that simple.
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