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My nephew's death is sad enough. Now I can't stop wishing Bob were here to help me through it, to hold me and tell me we'll be okay-together. I need help with the kids because they are refusing to be involved in any family visits or even the funeral. I know it's hard for them, they are only 10 and 11 years old. I want them to be compassionate people but I don't think they've reached the age of empathy. Do I let them not go and not see what family support is meant to be? There are just so many emotions right now. I'm so sad and torn. My sister-in-law can't even see her son's body until an hour before the visitation which is Friday, a whole week after he was found dead. I'm scared for her and my brother. Commitments with my children prevent me from being with them and the rest of my family is always trying to protect me from feeling bad, so I never even get the details without several calls and constant begging for information.

Now my son is mad that I didn't get the job I'd hoped for and I feel like I just keep disappointing them. Everything is slowly jumbling together and I don't even know where to post this. I keep looking and bouncing from forum to forum. Am I okay here?


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This is so very difficult for you and the boys. I can understand why the boys are wanting not to go. Most kids, and adults I imagine, would like to skip wakes and funerals. You might want to explain to them that not wanting to go is kinda natural and something everyone.. not just them, feels.

Also you might also point out that some of the people hurting right now were there for you and them when their Dad passed away and it would be nice for them to try to be there for them at this terrible time too.

At their ages & in their circumstances, once you find out what and when the arrangements are... you could offer them options for them to consider about going to what, when and for how long. We have found that giving our kids choices helps them feel empowered and also helps them feel more comfortable and secure.. oddly enough.

I have offered the same for our kids.. over and over again. I asked them what parts of what they felt most comfortable with as far as attending any wakes, funerals or memorials. Sometimes they attended everything.. the whole wake & funeral etc. Other times.. just the funeral or just the wake or only part of the wake. Sometimes just the repast afterwards. Why this was different for awhile for each one that happened was because it depended upon how far away we were from a significant loss of their own.

(they lost 3 grandparents within 5 years beginning when they were barely 6 and 9.5 yrs. old)

But most of the time, unless they were physically ill, if the family that lost someone had been at any wakes or funerals for their grandparents, I told them it was only right & natural that they be there now for this hurting family. I think empathy, sympathy and compassion are not necessarily things that come automatically with children; sometimes they have to be taught. And these experiences presented good opportunities for us to do so.

So perhaps your boys could partially attend something of the plans for your nephew. Either a short time at the wake, or just the funeral service or just the getogether afterwards or before etc.. Offer them some options.... Reassure them no one likes these things.

It is terribly sad and it yes it will remind them of their Dad but that is only natural too.

But ask them how they felt when people came to support them at various times after their own loss. And wouldn't they want to help another person feel supported too? When we love & care about others sometimes we have to do difficult things. But those very difficult things are what makes our family and friend bond even stronger. If we weren't there for anyone ever.... who will be there for us when we need it? etc>>>

And I would definitely keep their presence at whatever they attend short for them as this loss is truly tragic as it happened to someone so very young and also I would keep it short because of their own loss. BUT.. even if only for a few minutes they attend... I think it would be valuable for them and may even help them along their own grief journeys. So offer them short snippets of attendance at the various arrangements as options.

And see how that works out.

About the job.. he's mad because you didn't get it? Ok... are you sure he's mad at you?

Are you sure he feels you are disappointing him?

If not you are not sure, I would ask him why he felt so badly about it. Perhaps he is worried for you or for him and his brother and not necessarily disappointed in you. He may be angry at the whole situation, which is also only natural, but by talking to him you may get an opportunity to help him express those feelings.

You are doing the very best you can, are you not?

So... know that ...... really know it.

Go easy on yourself... this is a horrendously difficult time for you and the boys.

Embrace yourself with compassion... don't forget about you.. which I know is a tough thing with everything else that is in front of you.

But I think you are not seeing how well you are doing despite everything that has gone on. Set your focus on what you have already survived and the things you have already achieved & accomplished. No small thing is it? A Herculean achievement.

Also don't forget.... Bob's love is still there..... tap into that too maybe?


All the best with what you and the boys decide.

I'll be thinking of you all.


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Not sure I have any advice, but thought I would share my experience with my son. The first death of someone he knew was a friend's mom. He was 13. He did not want to go to any part of it. So, we took a meal over and he just visited with his friend. Next time , another friend's mom died and he went with me to the visitation but not the funeral. Last week a friend of his died, she was 17 years old. My son went to the wake and the next day decided to go to the funeral also. I was proud of him and realized he had to do all of this on his own time. I think its important to find a way to have your kids help their family but not sure I would force them into a situation that makes them so uncomfortable, there are lots of things they could do.

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Since you are already established here and we're your family, you are FINE here! 10 and 11 is pretty young still and I would go with the feedback you are getting from them, if they don't want to attend the funeral, I wouldn't push it. They have already seen family support when you lost your husband, so I wouldn't worry unduly about that. You are sending them the message that family is there for each other by your wanting to be there for your sister in law. Maybe you could have a private ritual for your children to express themselves over his death...maybe buy a toy for someone and donate it in his name as a memorial, or maybe draw a picture or write something for him and then burn it so the smoke can send him the message...they may even be able to come up with their own ideas of how to express their feelings.

You can let your family know you don't want to be sheltered from this event, that you need to be with them and included, even if it hurts...you will be grieving his death too and isolation can compound your grief.

You are in my prayers dear friend.

I love you,


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Thank you all for the good advice and information. Marty, I shared the pamphlet with one of my nieces that also has a young child. It will help both of us. I've talked to the kids again and I agree that it is just too much for them and a sad reminder of their dad. Here I've worked so hard at trying to help them remember him in better times and now I'm thrusting them back into his last moments with us. They both would be okay with a couple hours at the visitation and prefer to go to school instead of the funeral. I'm going to go with my gut on this and not force them to go to the funeral. It is going to be a real difficult day. Support is one thing, tramatizing them would be another. And we did make soup and cookies that we brought to help the family on Sunday. My daughter's first words upon finding out what happened were, "It'll be okay mom, dad will take care of him." So I think they just have a purer sense of faith than we do.

I was still missing Bob in all of these decisions, when an eagle came flying in from the distance and crossed my path. I watched it for several minutes. So, Leanne, you are correct. Eagles are my sign from him and he is here to help guide us. Kay, we're already planning the Christmas bonfire, so I like the idea of sending wishes to Dustin and Bob, both.

My son's anger at my lack of finding employment has some security issues attached to it (and concern stemming from a major lack of gifts beneath the tree) although I keep telling him we are fine. Their dad took care to see that we would be okay for a little while. I took him to the doctor today and he has strep which adds to his frustration. I knew single parenthood would be a challenge. It is all just very exhausting.

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Kath - you're ok here! I read your post - I am so terribly sorry about your nephew. I don't have kids, so I wasn't quite sure what advice to give. But reading your last post, I think you're doing the right thing. When I was 8, my beloved grandmother died. My parents did not have me attend the funeral, but I can assure you, the memories and love for her have not diminished over the years. Your kids will remember your nephew with love! Be well, my friend, Marsha

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Kath sounds like you and the boys figured it out just fine for you all. I didn't know they had already made some food and brought it over... that's great of them right there! And your daughter... boy ....she's on top of it isn't she. And I agree I bet Bob was right there for him.

You do have compassionate kids... worry not. You are an awesome Mom.

And I'm so glad

Bob let you know he was around too.

I'll be thinking of you all as you go through this .. especially your brother and SIL too.


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Guest Vickie O'Neil

Kids are not so dumb, they know what they can handle, & can't handle. Don't put everything upon yourself, Kath, you are a great Mom!

Here's a story that may help you...my Grandpa died when I was 11. Everyone drove in to South Dakota...kids & all for the funeral. The Kids were deposited at an Aunt's farmhouse...in the charge of 2 of my older Couisins. The Parents went to town, & spent the night with Grandma, & the next night, as well.The 2nd day of this adventure we took baths in a washtub, & were told we had to be ready for the funeral in the Morning!! & We were ready. Our parents came back, & picked us up & we went to the Church, an open casket funeral. All the grandkids went & kissed Grandpa, but I couldn't move from the Pew. I did not want to see Grandpa embalmed, Mom & Dad tried to move me..I just sat...I knew I wanted to remember Grandpa as alive! Not this way.

Blessings, Vickie

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