Ask Your Funeral Director - Should I bring my children to funerals?
By Jason Meidl, Funeral Director at Creston Valley Funeral Services
Death is something that each of us must face at some point in our lives. This past weekend I found myself in another city acting as a Funeral Celebrant for a family member who had recently passed away. After the service was done and the reception had started, I found myself chatting with a woman I had never met before. Once she realized I was a funeral director her first question to me was “Do you think we live in a death denying culture.” My response was 100 percent. We have changed the verbiage we use to lessen the reality of death, we use words like Coach instead of Hearse for example. Many people don’t see the need to attend funerals and for some death is too much of a reminder of their own mortality. My goal is to hopefully normalize death through education from this column and the random conversations I have with people like I did this past weekend.
“As a parent should I bring my children to funerals?” Sean
This is a question I hear often. As a parent I understand the dilemma this question might pose. As a funeral director my children are very comfortable with death, possibly a little too comfortable! As a parent and a funeral director I believe it’s important to not shield our children from death. Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for. When it comes to viewing I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving children the choice as to whether to see Grandma or not. Forcing a child to view a loved one who has died is something I would never recommend, but allowing them to make that choice is something I recommend 100 percent. For kids especially at younger ages seeing someone who has died can help them with moving forward. You would be surprised at how comfortable kids actually are with death. At my wife’s Oma’s funeral my oldest who was 4 at the time wanted to see Oma. We respected her choice to do that, what happened next still brings tears to my eyes. My wife went in and the tears were flowing freely, in comes my little one and she gave a kiss to Oma and then gently stroked Mom’s hair and said “It’s ok Mom Oma’s ok ! “
“When I die do I need to use the local funeral home?” Wayne
This is a question that I received this weekend while officiating my wife’s grandmas funeral from a family friend. The short answer to this is not at all. Often times we connect with a particular funeral home or funeral director either through past experience or a personal connection. Often times as a funeral director I deal with families who are not in the town I am from. When someone dies it’s almost always a traumatic experience and why wouldn’t you want to deal with someone who you are comfortable with.
Interesting Fact of the Week
In light of this weeks focus on moving away from being a death denying culture and rather looking at death as something natural it’s interesting that instead of viewing death as a type of failure, many ancient people, such as the ancient Egyptians, believed death was one of life’s many passages.
Keep the questions coming to firstname.lastname@example.org