Kids at funerals

In the course of my career, I’ve been asked repeatedly if young children should attend a Celebration of Life or funeral.

Ultimately, that’s a decision only a parent can make. It will depend on the maturity of the child, his or her relationship to the person who passed away, and if any other children will be at the funeral.

If at all possible, I suggest it is important to ensure a very young child has somebody to “watch over him or her” during the memorial. Maybe a family friend or an older cousin. Preferably someone with a bit more distance to the deceased.      

Some years ago, I officiated at a funeral for a community leader who was widely loved and respected. A large crowd gathered in his honour. At least 400 people filled the church.

On the front bench sat a little grandson, about 12 years old. From the beginning of the service to the very end, he was quietly sobbing inconsolably. The dissonance between the wonderful notes of honour, love and praise shared about the grandfather and this young child’s sorrow was difficult for me, as the officiant, to watch. Yet, in this case, this boy was given the opportunity to cry for a man he adored and loved. The funeral will likely be a memory he will carry with him likely for the rest of his life. I have every reason to believe it will be a memory he will cherish

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