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Funeral Snowflakes Big and Little

I have never witnessed such atrocious behavior as this. The woman involved is either incredible crass, or incredibly oblivious.

A couple that I know lost their small child suddenly. The day of the visitation (which is held the day before the funeral), the couple realized that they were just not up to seeing small children. So the funeral home arranged a child’s area, complete with dedicated babysitters. There were over 500 people at the visitation, and the line to see the grieving parents was quite long, so this helped the parents as well as they didn’t have to try to manage their children in such circumstances.

So, enter Mrs Special. Who gets in line with her child, the same age as the deceased. Relative of the grieving mother sees her, the following conversation ensued:

Relative: Thank you so much for coming. The children’s room is right over there. I’ll hold your place in line while you take little Dudley.

Mrs Special – Oh no. This child does not leave my side. I can’t possibly to that.

Relative – Well, I believe he knows both the babysitters, and also there are several other children in there he knows. Grieving parents are not up to seeing children today, so I’m going to have to insist.

Mrs Special leaves in a huff. But so far, nothing really egregious has taken place.

The next day was the funeral. Again, children’s room provided.

Mrs Special arrives and is about to enter the chapel, with little Dudley once again in tow. Different relative sees her.

Relative – You cannot take him in there. Either take him to the children’s room or leave.

Mrs. Special – well, I’m NOT trying to be disrespectful.

Relative – Oh, but you are.

So, my question is, what on earth could that woman have been thinking? I realize the visitation was a case of she just didn’t realize, but showing up again the next day?  0618-18

I have met and know of people who have a belief of “love me, love my child”.   If you invite the adults to an adults only function, you should expect them to bring the children as well since, in their mind, the parents and children are one social unit that cannot be separated.   As a host it makes it difficult to deal with that situation.

Kudos to the relatives who had the spine to address the issue in the name of protecting the grieving parents from more heartache at a vulnerable time.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • kgg June 21, 2018, 5:27 am

    I’m so impressed that two different relatives handled each day firmly (and politely).

    There are people that think exceptions should be made for them at all times. “No children allowed? Oh, but they didn’t mean MY precious children.” But I think a setting of a funeral of a dead child puts this snowflake entirely in the callous category. This is beyond oblivious. The act of going to a a funeral is about paying your respects to the deceased’s family. It’s not like she’s going to a movie theater and wants to bring her child. This won’t be a day of enjoyment. Yet she still insists. She’s a jerk.

  • staceyizme June 21, 2018, 7:07 am

    I can’t agree with the premise that children are excluded because it’s too hard for thosé who are mourning. Would you exclude women? Men? Seniors? Special needs? Would racial, political or economic exclusions be permitted? In what circumstance would you presume to tell a parent AS THEY ARRIVE that you’ve made convenient arrangements for their children and expect them to comply? No. The mourning parents were in pain, but we’re also incorrect. They could have had a small, private viewing or done any number of other things to avoid children. By having a viewing as they did, they were opening up the possibility of children attending. Their solution was a good effort to manage, but still unreasonable. And Mrs. Special was only out of line for implementation of her objection, not the basis of it.

    • staceyizme June 21, 2018, 7:08 am

      “were”, sorry

      • Cleosia June 21, 2018, 7:42 am

        You’re kidding, right? We’re not talking about a restaurant or a sports event. This is an event taking place because someone has tragically lost their young child and they’re having trouble coping right now. Do you also recommend rubbing salt into someone’s raw, open wounds? Because that’s what you’re suggesting be done at this funeral.

        The point of the funeral is to offer comfort to those whose lives have painfully been affected by a great loss not to make a political statement on how all are equal and not allowing a child in is a great injustice. Save that indignation to fight the good fight where it’s appropriate. A private funeral is not that place.

        • Sarah June 22, 2018, 6:04 am

          TOTALLY right, Cleosia!
          What were these people thinking? And having been warned at the viewing, did they think something was going to change the next day at the funeral?

      • JT June 21, 2018, 10:44 pm

        Jesus, staceyizme. I have ASPD, this means I have no empathy. I was born with none so I am incapable of feeling bad for people BUT I do know right from wrong. I can understand most emotions, I just cant feel them. I might not particularly care about the parent’s sadness but I try to follow expected social rules. This is why I read this site, to learn how normal people behave so I can mimic it and play the game.
        I am the type of person that, even if I had somehow caused the child’s death, I would take pleasure in taking a child to the funeral just to rub it in and cause more pain. However I understand that ‘normal’ people would find this bad, it goes against societies rules.

        I follow these rules as much as it makes me miserable because I am trying to ‘win’ against this disorder I have.

        It a psychopath like myself can cope with this then this silly entitled b*#% should be able to.

      • Pam Barrow June 23, 2018, 7:46 pm

        When your friend has lost their child it is ALL about whatever THEY need. Why on earth would anyone attend a viewing of a child and have complete disregard for the wishes of the grieving parents? Thankfully, most people are more than happy and bend over backwards to do whatever they can to accommodate the family.

    • KerriB June 21, 2018, 7:21 am

      I disagree. Why would you want to make possibly the second worst day imaginable worse? I’m Jewish, so we don’t have viewings per se (at least not in my experience), but I imagine there are a lot of things that need to go into organizing that. Maybe it could have been included in the funeral announcements, but it wasn’t, so they did the next best thing. They told them as they arrived. The mother did not have to attend either the viewing or the funeral. She could have stayed outside with her daughter or in the playroom with her daughter. And I’m assuming they had a large viewing because they had a number of people who were also grieving who wanted to pay their respects to the grieving parents.

      • lakey June 21, 2018, 10:14 am

        In my experience the viewing is handled by the funeral director, usually at the funeral home. As you enter there is a sign directing guests where to go for the viewing of a particular person. In this situation they would probably include a message about the children on the sign.

    • Melissa June 21, 2018, 7:59 am

      I disagree that this is the same thing as excluding others based on their race, gender, political status etc. Losing a child is a pain that most people will never have to go through, and most of us can’t even imagine. It would be one thing if the grieving parents tried to exclude children from normal activities like a restaurant or church etc, or tried to control someone else’s event. But, this event was controlled by the parents, the primary grievers, and they are allowed to exclude anyone they want really, and I just can’t find it in my heart to fault them, especially since they graciously provided an alternative to the parents who wouldn’t have someone else to watch their children while they attended the visitation and funeral. We are usually okay with a couple excluding children from weddings, so I don’t see how excluding them from a funeral is so terrible.

      The woman, “Mrs. Special” was extremely rude, thoughtless and as another commenter said, even callous, to show up the second day with her child in tow after she knew of the grieving parents’ wishes. She did not have to like it, or agree with it, but she also didn’t have to come the second day if she knew their wishes and chose not to abide by them. Why come to a funeral and/or visitation, which presumably is to offer comfort to the grieving parents and honor the deceased’s life, only to knowingly do something that will make them feel worse?

      I could understand a mother having no one to watch their child while they attended a funeral, and bringing them along, although I feel like that should be a last resort because small children really shouldn’t be at funerals or visitations unless they are a relative of the deceased. I could understand a mother being reluctant to leave her child with unknown babysitters. However, the mother and child apparently knew the babysitters, and other children in the room, so the mother sounds as if she was being unreasonable the first day, but just horribly rude the second day.

    • Meegs June 21, 2018, 8:07 am

      Yeah, no. It doesn’t matter if *you* can’t agree with it, as you are not the grieving parent. And yes, I would expect any normal person with a heart and a soul to comply. It’s not as though they are carting the children off to a separate facility, they had a room set up in the same building, with supervision.
      If someone can’t be separated from their child for a half hour (which by the way is super-weird and not healthy for the parent or child) then they should be even more able to understand the feeling of the grieving parents, who are now separated from the precious child FOREVER.

      • Ria June 22, 2018, 11:28 am

        We don’t have any information on how old the child is. I’m perfectly comfortable being separated from my child while she’s with a trusted caregiver who she and I know.

        I would not be comfortable leaving a toddler with unknown caregivers in a chaotic situation with people and children coming and going. That’s a recipe for a small child sneaking out to find their parents and getting hurt. My toddler would also be spending the first 15+ minutes screaming about being left with random people in a strange place, which wouldn’t help anything.

        That said, if the information about the service included this I would be happy to make arrangements for someone who I know to watch my child (or go with my husband and swap out on visiting and watching our child). If I was confronted with this last minute when I arrived with a child and no other trusted caregivers, I’d leave, be annoyed at the situation / lack of information, and complain to my husband about it when I got home. I definitely would not try to barge in or complain to the grieving parents, then or later.

        • Cattra June 24, 2018, 10:43 pm

          This. I would not be comfortable leaving my child with a sitter last minute. My child needs to be prepared before being left with anyone, well known or not. I agree that I wouldn’t have complained to the grieving parents but would have vented to my husband when I got home.

          They should have advised people at the viewing, or when announcements were made, that children were (completely understandably) not welcome.

    • Gena June 21, 2018, 8:14 am

      Sorry – but the parents feelings trump all in this case. And they didn’t ask the woman to leave her child unattended, there were dedicated babysitters. which is a little different than – Oh, just stick your child in that room and someone will keep an eye on them. Hopefully.

    • Jen June 21, 2018, 8:16 am

      I agree with you, staceyizme. The ‘special snowflake’ mother’s reaction was probably out of confusion of why her child could not say goodbye as well. How well did she know the child? Were the children friends? Children as young as 3 are starting to grasp the concept that this life is finite.
      When my daughter was 4, she witnessed our 1 year old neighbor carried off in an ambulance and unfortunately, the baby passed. Though I did not her to the wake, after a lot of conversations we did go to the funeral and sat towards the back. She knew exactly what was happening, learned about the process of grieving process and was able to say goodbye to her friend. Funerals are extremely hard on everyone; especially when they are for a child – but children need closure too.

      • LizaJane June 21, 2018, 5:33 pm

        Yes, children need closure, too. But what your or anyone else’s child needs is not as important as what the grieving parents need on the day they bury their child. Your teachable moment can wait.

      • Skaramouche June 21, 2018, 6:01 pm

        The funeral was not about your child. The funeral was about the little one who had passed away and about her parents who organised it. I understand your point about children needing to say goodbye also but are you telling me that between closure for your child and added pain for the parents, your child’s closure is the priority?

        • Lyn June 22, 2018, 11:37 am

          Skaramouche – EXACTLY!

      • Kimberami June 22, 2018, 7:45 am

        Dudley and Mum can go to the cemetery at a later time so he can say good bye. Children need to experience things, but funerals are not designed to be learning experiences. What happens if little Dudley has a freak out during the event? What if he starts asking questions during the event? How much should grieving parents have to deal with? At this time, their needs are more important that the needs of others.

      • EchoGirl June 26, 2018, 11:44 pm

        I was also kind of thinking this, in general if not this specific case. The original story is not entirely clear on the ages of the children involved; if they’re very young and wouldn’t really understand, or if they’re there just because the parent is, that’s one thing. But when the child is old enough to understand and to legitimately want to take part, that’s another matter. If the child was 8 or 9, is it okay then to exclude their friends? A teenager? Can the parent say no one under 30 is allowed if the “child” was in their 20s? At some point, I think most people would agree that the deceased’s friends should be allowed to take part and say goodbye to their friend. Where is the line?

        I still feel some regret that I missed a friend’s funeral when I was seventeen, and that was through no fault of anyone’s, just a case of bad timing. I can’t imagine how much more it would have hurt to arrive at said funeral only to be told the parents wouldn’t permit us entrance.

        This isn’t a question of being unsympathetic. I understand the motivations here. But immediate family are not the only ones who grieve. In the case of a child/young person, there will likely be people of their own age group who will mourn them as well. The idea that a close friend who is grieving deeply is allowed to be denied access to appease someone else’s grief is troubling at the very least.

    • Wild Irish Rose June 21, 2018, 8:25 am

      I too disagree. Coping with the death of a child is just not the same as coping with the death of an older person. These parents were perfectly within their rights not to want to have children at their child’s funeral. And the mother who refused to relinquish her kid to the children’s room was thoughtless, inconsiderate, and self-absorbed. If you can’t have enough heart to respect these parents’ decision, then stay home. There is nothing gained in adding to their grief by ignoring their wishes.

      • Sarugani June 21, 2018, 9:05 am

        I agree. My youngest sister‘s baby was stillborn last year and my middle sister politely inquired if she was welcome to come, lend a hand with the older kids (3 and 1 at the time) or just a shoulder to cry on, because she herself was 8 months pregnant at the time and would also have to bring her own toddler. My youngest sister was okay with that, but people should never presume.

    • ladyv21454 June 21, 2018, 8:32 am

      I also disagree – vehemently. Losing a child, especially a very young one, is a particular kind of hell. In this case, it was even worse because it was sudden and unexpected. The parents were completely within their rights to not want to have children at the viewing or the funeral – especially ones the same age as their child. Mrs. Special was not wrong to bring her child to the viewing, as she may well have been unaware of the parents’ wishes. However, she WAS wrong to not comply once she WAS aware of the situation, and even MORE wrong to have repeated her actions the day of the funeral.

    • Leigh June 21, 2018, 8:35 am

      I cannot imagine the depths of pain the parents were experiencing, but to say that they were wrong because seeing other children was too painful for them at the time is the same as saying that’s the same as excluding people based on political opinions is beyond callus and cold. Are funerals not the ONE time we can give people a little more sympathy, empathy, and leeway? For crying out loud, their child is dead, and someone wants to parade their kid around them when they are clearly not up to it. “Oh sorry, your kid died, but look how precious MINE is that I can hold, and cuddle, and take home with me when I leave here, because he never leaves my side.” No. No, no, no, a million times, no.

      The family handled this as best they could at the time, and I commend the funeral home for doing the same. The woman was out of line, especially the second day.

    • CW June 21, 2018, 8:44 am

      I disagree. If I just lost a young child, the last thing I want to see is dozens of small children who used to play with my child running around smiling and carrying on. It’s hard to lose family of any age, but mourning Grandma that was 85 and lived a full life is a LOT different than mourning a child.
      This woman was not being singled out for her child. ALL parents were asked to bring their children to the babysitters. She was rude in assuming that this request didn’t apply to her.

    • DGS June 21, 2018, 9:10 am

      I disagree. Losing a child is not the same as losing an elder or a spouse, not by orders of magnitude. They were perfectly within their rights , and the special Mom should have either a) not brought her child to the viewing or funeral or b) availed herself of the available children’s room. Good for the relatives for holding the line.

    • Ellen Penniman June 21, 2018, 10:15 am

      With all due respect, if you had lost a child you would have an entirely different point of view. It is not an issue of “rights” and by no means as slippery slope. It is a matter of compassion and empathy to the grieving.

      • Ai June 21, 2018, 1:00 pm

        A couple of years ago, I had lost my son. He was born super early and only lived a day.

        It was the most horrible day in my husband and mines life. We wouldn’t wish that horrible agony on anyone. I STILL can’t watch movies that discuss the loss of a child or focus on the pain of a mourning parent and the loss happened a couple of years ago. Just after the loss, I would cry and sob seeing a baby boy. I wasn’t able to watch videos of my young niece for a few months without feeling my heart break. Thankfully no one was pregnant or had a infant with them during the funeral and while I would never want to make anyone feel unwelcomed, I don’t think I could’ve handled having a baby around me at that time and I doubt my husband would’ve felt differently as well.

        Losing a child is…horrible. It truly is something that no one should ever face. It goes against the natural order of life and makes it so nothing in the world makes sense. I am currently expecting and instead of looking forward to many years raising my baby, I’m just hoping it lives past a day. So I don’t blame the parents at all for not wanting to be around children during such a horrible, painful time. From my POV, they are completely in the right due to the timing and the…horrendous occasion. The woman was calloused and so staceyizmes’ comment.

        • KaraLee June 22, 2018, 9:32 am

          Ai, I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious baby boy. I can’t even imagine that pain. I wish you the best, and hope for a long and happy life for the child you are expecting.

        • Wild Irish Rose June 22, 2018, 10:04 am

          I am so sorry for your loss, Ai, and pray that the child you are now expecting is healthy and strong. God bless you and your husband, and your child.

    • lakey June 21, 2018, 10:25 am

      “I can’t agree with the premise that children are excluded because it’s too hard for thosé who are mourning.”
      Why not? Children are excluded from all kinds of events. It is not a form of bigotry. It is common for people to have weddings and dinner parties without children.
      If a couple’s young child has died, the funeral and viewing aren’t about my child and me, they are about what the couple needs.

    • Harry's Mom June 21, 2018, 11:27 am

      staceyizme – You could NOT be more wrong. Their funeral, their rules. If you can’t deal with it then leave. Good grief, the child was asked to go to a special room with other children, an environment much more peaceful than a viewing.

    • AS June 21, 2018, 11:55 am

      I disagree. Losing a child is one of the hardest things that can happen to anyone. They don’t have to be reminded every moment of their mourning that they’ll never again have the joy of the little deceased on by their side, like the parents going in for viewing with their little children do. They might come to terms with it as time goes by, but not right now. Adults can blend in into the public, but children stand out. And I don’t see why disability, racial, political, and economic statuses are even relevant. No one is going to think that “you are a black man, like my deceased husband, and you have the same bank balance as him; so it is difficult for me to meet you at my husband’s wake!” But they will definitely think “oh, look at little Sarah – hasn’t she grown several inches since we last saw her! Our little Susie would never grow anymore…!” (I’m tearing up just writing that, and this is what parents of a child who just died have to face).

      And anyway, people can make an exception at funerals to certain categories. I had a friend of mine whose family was in a big car crash, and his older sister passed away (just before she was about to leave for grad school; so she was an adult). His mother did not want to meet any of the sister’s friends, because it painfully reminded her of the happy times she had met them with her daughter. Everyone understood, and even though the friends were there for the funeral, they didn’t meet the mother.

    • Lauren June 21, 2018, 2:56 pm

      I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to comply with this small request. You are going to the funeral of someone you care about, why not just do this for them, whether it annoys you or not? Your minor annoyance is a drop in the bucket of what they are feeling right now.

      They were so nice (and thoughtful!) to provide child care. Wouldn’t you also want to be thoughtful, and just agree to this minor request?

    • LizaJane June 21, 2018, 3:12 pm

      Staceyizme, this is probably the harshest and most insensitive thing I’ve ever read on here.

    • Aj June 22, 2018, 3:06 am

      staceyizme, lose a child first and see how you feel.

      • Ai June 26, 2018, 8:16 pm

        As someone who lost a child, I find this very harsh. As emotional as I was at her comment, NO ONE SHOULD EVER GO THROUGH THAT. Ever. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

        I just hope she realizes the horror of the situation and takes that into account if she were ever to come across a similar (god forbid) situation.

    • Wilson June 22, 2018, 2:17 pm

      “They could have had a small, private viewing or done any number of other things to avoid children. By having a viewing as they did, they were opening up the possibility of children attending. Their solution was a good effort to manage, but still unreasonable. And Mrs. Special was only out of line for implementation of her objection, not the basis of it..”

      So what do you do if Mrs. Special shows up at the “small private viewing” with Jr.? She might have been one of the inner circle, we don’t know that she was or was not. The grieving parents chose a very thoughtful way of allowing people to come, bring their children (who mostly don’t get death yet, so wouldn’t really understand funerals and why the child is lying there like that…) to avoid having to get child care, yet prevent themselves from more pain in the meantime. What do you think Mrs. Special’s kid would get out of the viewing anyway that would be worth it?

    • Kelly Taylor June 23, 2018, 7:29 am

      Wow, staceyizme, not only is that not your call to make, it’s not your funeral. What a horrible time for you to be so self-centered. Most people don’t consider funerals (see also: cocktail parties, Michelin starred restaurants, any event at a person’s house after dinner) as places where children are automatically included. Your darling little precious is not entitled to enter every single space in the world without questions. When it actively traumatizes someone else? You’re doubly incorrect. Shame on you.

      • staceyizme June 25, 2018, 1:18 pm

        I’m due for the receipt of the “other side of the coin” here, as exemplified in the comments above. I have to say, though, that some of them go a little far, especially for an etiquette site. “Shame on you”? No, shame to some of the harsher expressions above.

    • Catherine St. Clair June 28, 2018, 12:51 pm

      I can’t imagine excluding folks over 80 because Granny died, but a child’s death hits parents especially hard. If they were not up to seeing children right then, I’d accommodate them. It also occurs to me that children do not process things as an adult would. A child might see a child of his or her age lying dead in a casket and think, “If he/she died, I could die too!” Why did this happen?” I could see a child having nightmares and not being able to explain what is so frightening. I’d think twice before taking an impressionable child to a funeral.

  • clairedelune June 21, 2018, 7:18 am

    This isn’t really a point of etiquette, but I’m grateful on behalf of poor little Dudley that he was blocked from all this activity. I can’t imagine as a small child being dragged to the funeral of another small child.

    • ladyv21454 June 21, 2018, 8:36 am

      I thought that as well! Small children really don’t get the concept of death very well, but I’m sure being told that another small child has gone to heaven and won’t ever be back (or whatever they might be told) would be traumatizing.

    • Cat2 June 21, 2018, 9:49 am

      Normally, I would say that such situations can be very beneficial for a child to be exposed to – with guidance from their parent and help to understand and give context etc. But in Dudley’s case, yes, I have to say he dodged a bullet here as his mother is fairly clearly not capable of the empathy and guidance needed to handle it.

    • Lynwell June 21, 2018, 10:22 am

      Exactly! Who would think it was perfectly okay to bring a small child to the funeral of a small child? Disturbing, at the least.

    • Ultrapongo June 21, 2018, 10:41 am

      Yes, Poor Little Dudley. It is not like he’s going to enjoy a funeral anyway. If the funeral was for a loved relative, for example a grandparent, it could be a good thing for PLD to be there for a last farewell. If he wanted it and could handel it. But who would decide that? His mother is, as far as I see, not competent to decide.
      Great that there were relatives to act as doorkeepers to keep the grieving parents ”safe”.

  • Two Pi Man June 21, 2018, 7:29 am

    I think the grieving parents have the right to elect not to see everyone’s children at such a tough time, but I don’t find the woman’s behaviour to be particularly ehell-worthy.

    The story doesn’t detail how the news was communicated to the mourners, and given the last-minute nature of the decision and the large number of mourners, it sounds as though the first “Mrs Special” knew of this was when she relative spoke to her while she was waiting in line. If that is the case, then from her perspective she waited to pay her respects, was told that the parents weren’t seeing children that day, decided to leave rather than be separated from her child. We can debate whether she should be averse to leaving her child with a babysitters, but given she’s made the decision as a parent to not do that, her leaving seems the mature choice.

    At the visitation, she was apparently only told that the parents weren’t seeing children “today” – she apparently wasn’t told that children weren’t welcome at the funeral. So she turns up for the funeral, and is turned away & told she’s being disrespectful. That could probably have been handled more gracefully but apparently she left quietly after that.

    It sounds to me that this is a miscommunication. Miscommunications happen – they are especially common around funerals when a lot of people are involved in an event planned at short notice when emotions are raw. In these situations we just have to do the best we can and acknowledge it won’t be perfect. It sounds like the relatives handled the issues, protected the parents and “Mrs Special” didn’t kick up a fuss either time, so in my opinion there’s no bad guy here.

    • Skaramouche June 21, 2018, 6:10 pm

      I thought of this explanation also for the second day but really, how likely is that the parents have magically recovered by Day 2 and are now welcoming children? Given the reason children were requested not to attend, wouldn’t a person with the LEAST bit of empathy enquire whether children were welcome or whether other arrangements had been made again?

    • LizaJane June 21, 2018, 6:19 pm

      Children weren’t allowed at the visitation because the parents weren’t up to it and the next logical step, in your mind, is to assume that the next day things will be ever-so-much better and they WILL be up to it then?

      We’re not talking about a 24-hour virus.

  • ALM June 21, 2018, 7:58 am

    I can see both sides of this.

    On the one hand, it’s kind of relatives to carry out the wishes of the mourning.

    On the other hand, banning children from a viewing/funeral is frankly, WEIRD, and well outside the normal range of funeral behavior. Most people who are mourning don’t have the energy to micromanage the condolences to this extent. Parents who come to a viewing/funeral and see a ‘children’s room’ are going to see that as a place for tired, cranky, misbehaving children, or for the convenience of parents who have not taught their child funeral etiquette, not a place to exclude their children from the mourner’s presence. The well-meaning relatives may have come across as interfering busybodies who got a bee in their bonnet about what they think the grieving couple wanted and used it to bully the visitors, as opposed to people trying to fulfill unreasonable demands of the grieving. I could well imagine this woman bringing her child the funeral the next day, hoping they won’t run into Aunt Busybody again as opposed to believing Aunt Busybody was actually serving as a spokesperson of the grieving parents.

    Additionally, if this was something the parents wanted, it should have been handled by the funeral home (a neutral party) rather than by other grieving relatives, who might not be communicating clearly or at their best.

    • Kelly June 25, 2018, 2:46 pm

      I come from an extended family that is known for going to any and every funeral possible. In all seriousness, the first question/comment out of a couple of my dad’s sisters and his late mother about any funeral/visitation is “What was the turnout?” or something along those lines. You got used to that sort of tacky and rude behavior from them.

      It took awhile but my dad realized that you don’t have to drag your wife and kids to every cousin and great aunt/uncle’s funeral, especially if they’ve never met the deceased and it’s been decades since you’ve seen them. Sending a nice card with money will do. He decided to only have us go to funerals if they were first or second degree relatives or if we had seen their families in the past five years.

      The funerals and visitations that did have kids’ rooms were much appreciated by most of the parents. We paid our respects and acted like we’re sorry this person we’ve never met is dead, dad caught up with family, and mom took us to the kids’ room.

  • Ellen Penniman June 21, 2018, 8:26 am

    Bear with my story, I do make it relevant after a long back-story. I have been in such a similar position, that my heart aches for the families. I congratulate the friends and relatives who shielded the family, and wish I had some of my own who were of the same high calibre.

    My husband and I consider ourselves grieving parents. For over three years we took care of three children, two of them small, as our own, with the promise of adoption. They called us “mommy” and “daddy” and we called them our son and daughters. Unbeknownst to us, the whole thing was a fraud. We came home one day and were told the children had been taken from their schools and we never saw them again. The birth mother successfully pulled strings with friends in the agency to cancel the adoption even though she married the children’s birth father and rapist/abuser and refused to deny him contact. Years of heated, contentious litigation ensued, including misconduct and illegal actions (witness intimidation, extortion, perjury) on the part of the agency.

    I dumped friends over their callous comments, some of which bordered on “well, they weren’t really your children” to explicitly saying “well, if you want to be around children you can work in a daycare.” My husband’s family acted like the children had never existed and went back to business as usual the next week. I was expected to attend my SIL’s functions, with her four children (of the same ages), immediately afterwards on ALL holidays, and expected to be good-humored, well-behaved and any signs of grief were rudeness and brattiness on my part.

    The point is, I avoided children for years, and still do. I avoided the baby shower of a coworker recently: she’s offended, and she knows the story. We used to go camping as a family – to this day I avoid camping during times of year when there will be lots of children. I felt like my life was over. My husband isn’t the same yet. Keep in mind, while I do not believe these children are safe or well-protected, I know at least they are alive.

    People are mean. They leverage children as weapons against each other in the day-to-day battles for primacy and alpha-status all the time. (This goes to my theory that while our culture sentimentalizes children, we don’t actually care about them, when you look at how we spend tax dollars and ignore important education and child welfare policies.)

    That woman was beyond crass. She was cruel and abusive. Kicking her out of the funeral was the ONLY thing to do. She’d been told once. She knew what she was doing: showing off her lovely child in front of grieving parents: “look what I have that you don’t have.” IMHO, she shouldn’t be allowed human contact until several years of intensive rehabilitation to learn empathy and basic decency.

    Forgive the strong reaction, but I’ve been there. I learned to have a low opinion of the human race based on it. While she wasn’t unique, this woman was not just self-absorbed, or crass, or ignorant. She displayed the most unforgivable of all “rudeness:” she was mean in the face of human tragedy.

    • ladyv21454 June 21, 2018, 12:21 pm

      I don’t blame you at all for dumping some of your friends. Those three little one WERE your children, for all intents and purposes. It would be different if you had just been fostering temporarily and knew they would be leaving eventually; but to have them for three years, and having planned to adopt them, absolutely makes them yours! My heart breaks for the pain you and your husband must have gone through.

    • Queen of Putrescence June 21, 2018, 2:56 pm

      Wow! I can’t imagine the pain you must have gone through. What a horrible experience. I definitely do not blame you for dumping people you thought were friends for making such callous comments.

    • LizaJane June 21, 2018, 3:18 pm

      My heartfelt sympathy to you and your husband. You lost all of your children along with your hopes and dreams for them.

      In some ways, this is worse than the death of a child. I know my son is safe. You don’t have that comfort.

    • PJ June 21, 2018, 4:55 pm

      My heart aches for you, losing your children in such a sudden an tragic way.

      Peace be with you.

    • Skaramouche June 21, 2018, 6:14 pm

      🙁 you have my sincere sympathy. I’m not saying one is worse than the other but my heart breaks a little knowing that you know those children are still out there instead of safe and loved with you. I wish you peace…

    • Wild Irish Rose June 22, 2018, 10:08 am

      I just cannot even fathom the pain this must have caused you and your husband–to say nothing of the trauma to the children themselves. My heart goes out to you.

    • Pam Barrow June 23, 2018, 8:03 pm

      There is a sense where your pain is greater because your loss wasn’t recognized in the same way as a death. When someone dies, it’s kind of like our piece of the world stops and people around us let it stop for a little bit. You didn’t get that recognition of pain and it would be awful. I wish you could have had the opportunity to “formally” grieve like you deserved.

    • Catherine St. Clair June 28, 2018, 12:55 pm

      Some people are totally clueless. I was an adopted child. When my mother was dying, a co-worker said to me, “I don’t know why you are so upset. It’s not like she is your real mother.” She was real to me. Mothers don’t come in plastic.

  • lkb June 21, 2018, 9:08 am

    Yes, the visiting mother was a special snowflake. The only defense I can think of for her is the possible intent of introducing her child to the concepts of death, funerals, bereavement, etc. But even still, she should have left her child with a sitter or a relative the second time.

    My heart goes out to the grieving family. How awful. (But how wonderful their relatives were for running interference.)

  • Christine June 21, 2018, 9:09 am

    Attending a funeral requires that you are there to support the family, which also means you will accommodate their wishes. Whether it’s wearing a certain color or not bringing your kids into the wake or service. The day is for the family and if you feel that their requests are too much, just don’t go. The day isn’t about you and if you can’t figure out that every moment isn’t about what you want, please don’t burden these people with your selfishness.

  • Huh June 21, 2018, 9:11 am

    The one thing I thought was maybe Dudley was a friend of the deceased child and that it might help him better understand to go to the visitation/funeral of his friend. Granted, she didn’t say that ever, but just putting it out there as a possibility.

    In general, I never took my kids to funerals or visitations unless they knew the person and were close to them. It’s not a social event…

    • Anonymous August 5, 2018, 8:41 pm

      I didn’t get that Dudley was a friend of the deceased child, or that he was old enough to understand what was going on. If he was, he could have spoken for himself–instead of his mother saying, “No, Dudley never leaves my side,” Dudley could have said, “No, Daisy was my friend, and I want to say goodbye,” Also, a child young enough to be joined at the hip with his mother, is probably going to be an infant or a toddler, because most kids start preschool/Head Start/some kind of activity where their parent isn’t rightnexttothem, by the age of three or so, and would therefore be fine in the children’s room for a short time.

  • pennywit June 21, 2018, 9:54 am

    This is all quite improper!!
    Death in Pennywit Manor can be a serious business. When a person has betrayed the noble family, committed a capital crime, or failed to respond to social invitations in a timely manner, the headsman of course visits such a person promptly. He is fully committed to his work, and none of his customers have complained about the service on his visit. Of course, Pennywit Manor does not hold funerals for such persons. They have committed unforgivable crimes against he family in life, and it would be improper to honor them in death.

    However, when a highborn family member passes on, we of course honor them appropriately. We push aside all tables in the Great Hall, and place black candles in the chandelier and wall sconces. A string quartet plays tasteful music, and our vassals and lieges send delegations to pay respects as the deceased lies in state.

    We do not set aside a separate area for children. Pennywit Manor’s highborn lords hold that death comes for all of us, and that children should be made aware of this as early as possible in their lives. Pennywit Manor’s children also play with miniature sharpened swords, rather than the blunted playthings favored by lesser families. The Manor, regrettably, also has a higher instance of children growing up missing fingers or toes. The highborn lords, as well as the headsman, have informed all and sundry that there is no correlation between fingerlessness and sharp toy swords.

    • wendelenn June 24, 2018, 2:08 pm

      Huh? What does any of this weirdness even mean? This is just bizarre.

      • NostalgicGal June 25, 2018, 6:52 pm

        This is how pennywit writes. Pertinent, but in a formal style of say Jane Austin’s time. Have another read and you’ll understand it. For a manners and etiquette website, I and others have enjoyed the way they put things in the past, in this manner.

        • LizaJane June 25, 2018, 10:05 pm

          I read it 5 times. I understand it. The problem isn’t the writing style. I don’t think his/her tangent about children playing with sharp swords and all the possibilities that implies is in good taste on a post about the death of a child.

          It’s like posting a video of Alice Cooper singing “Dead Babies.”

          Not appropriate. Not good form. Not cool.

  • MusicWithRocksInIt June 21, 2018, 10:17 am

    To build on that – I’m sure little Dudley would by FAR rather be in the children’s room playing than stand in a super long, somber line with his mother. Why would you want your kid to be miserable with you rather than enjoy himself in the next room?

  • Trichele June 21, 2018, 11:39 am

    It’s unvelievable how much I deal with this as a wedding planner. There are guests at *every* wedding that insist on bringing their children, even though invited and RSVP cards explicitly showed two guests invited. I’ve remedied this problem by hiring babysitters for those that show up with uninvited children to an adult only wedding. I’ve had a few give me a hard time when I’ve directed them to take their children to the playroom away from the events of the wedding. Their mindset is that they are the same person as their child. If they are invited, their child is invited. I’ve learned to have a spine and politely say that children are not part of the wedding festivities – including children that are family members of the bride and groom. They can take their child to the babysitter or they can quietly leave. Why does it have to get to this point??? In what world is it ok to dictate who this couple invites to their wedding? The nerve of some people.

    By the way, I love children. However there ARE things that are not child appropriate and it is up to the HOST to decide that. If you cant be separated from little Johnny for more 5 minutes and don’t want to get a babysitter, you are welcome to decline the invitation.

  • Nancy Hesler Fuchs June 21, 2018, 11:42 am

    IMHO, children under a certain age (10, perhaps?) don’t belong at funerals, viewings, memorial services, etc.

    • Bea June 21, 2018, 12:27 pm

      Meh. I was young when I lost all my grandparents. I went to all their funerals, well the two we had…my parental grandmother didn’t have a service because that’s how wretched of woman she was but also her kids were busy trying to kill each other, sigh.

      I think they can be very important to teach kids grieving and celebration of the end of life. It’s less of a shock than just “Granny’s dead. We buried her over there.” and no closure process.

      It’s a know your child thing not hard and fast rule imo. But I was born into an older family. All my cousins are a generation difference from me given my parents later in life baby having ways. I’ve gone to more funerals than weddings.

    • Mechtilde June 21, 2018, 1:52 pm

      I’ve taken my children to funerals when they were young, and they weren’t at all disruptive. I just made sure I stayed near the back and was ready to leave quickly if they started to play up, but they wasn’t a peep out of them.

      I would have preferred not to bring them, but I had to chose between bringing the children and not going at all.

    • keloe June 22, 2018, 7:13 am

      When I was about 7, my grandmother took me to a wake of her brother. Not to a funeral parlour – it was in his own living room, with his body in a coffin on the table, with candles and his female relatives (maybe there were men too, I don’t remember) around it, praying aloud.
      I was not traumatised, or even grossed out. As I remember, my feelings were mixed – I was proud, as of all my cousins I was the only one allowed there (I was the oldest), and also really bored (the rosary does not have much entertainment value). After about an hour my mom came and took me home, the rest stayed there all night.
      My grandmother didn’t do it to be cruel. It was the way they dealt with death in the villages and she grew up that way. They had their rituals for every situation and children participated little by little since they were old enough to sit still. They would act the same way in case of a death of a child (although I’m not sure if I would take it as easily).

    • Wilson June 22, 2018, 2:28 pm

      I disagree. My friends with children have taken them to funerals since they were old enough to sit still in church for the services (comparative length of time.) None of them ever had any problem as the children were given the choice whether or not they wanted to go to the viewing part (sometimes held in a side room at the church or funeral home). The kids were all beautifully behaved, and this is two families with eight kids total, with 10 years between the youngest and oldest.

      • admin June 22, 2018, 4:54 pm

        There is a difference between a funeral and a viewing, the latter typically involving an open casket that guests have the choice of viewing the deceased.

  • Tricia June 21, 2018, 11:49 am

    For me, the first interaction wasn’t so rude. She didn’t know that they were requesting no kids, she didn’t want to leave her child with the babysitters (regardless of whether or not she knew them). She complies and leaves – okay, in a huff but still she left without too much of a fuss. What I don’t understand is – after hearing the reasoning the day before, why would she bring the child back the next day, without expecting that she’ll need to leave him in the children’s room? That to me is where she falls down in etiquette.

    • Me June 21, 2018, 3:25 pm

      If the visitation and funeral are at different times they also tend to be two very different kinds of services. Funerals that I usually attend you don’t really come in contact with the family and so she may have assumed that she would be able to come and pay her condolences and the family would not even know that her son was there

  • Marlene June 21, 2018, 11:54 am

    We had that exact same issue when my niece died suddenly at 4 months old. We didn’t have separate childcare so we just managed as best we could when that baby was brought in. Same age, same gender. It was heartrending to hear her cry while our baby was in an open casket in the same room. When the mother asked if she could bring the baby to the dinner afterward, my dad told her no.

    • Queen of Putrescence June 21, 2018, 2:59 pm

      I lost our second child in my second trimester. For months the sound of a baby crying would cause me to just completely break down. I swear the number of customers with babies at Target tripled from previous shopping trips (I know it didn’t but I was just noticing the babies more). That must have been horrible for the family to have to listen to.

  • Bea June 21, 2018, 12:21 pm

    So thrilled to see relatives policing this for the grieving parents.

    I still remember having to miss my best friend’s funeral as a child for this reason. My mom simply told me “Aunt and Uncle are so sad and they don’t want you to see that right now.” and left me at home to attend (they were close family friends).

    I can’t believe someone is so selfish that they don’t get such a simple request. And they had a children’s room, so it’s not even about not having childcare options!!!

    • Huh June 21, 2018, 2:38 pm

      I feel kinda bad for you, Bea. I completely get that the parents’ loss is stronger than yours, and yet, it’s not like you weren’t affected by the death of your best friend. You were mourning too. I don’t know you, it may or may not have helped coping with your loss attending the funeral, but I feel kinda sad that you didn’t get the option.

      I’ve had two friends die – one when I was a young teen and one when I was an adult. As a teen, I seriously couldn’t handle it and didn’t go to the funeral. I heard later on my friend’s mother was sad that more of his friends didn’t come and ever since then I regret that I didn’t go. As an adult, when my friend died, I took my kids to the visitation as she was a close family friend to all of us and they were pretty upset when it happened. My kids still talk about her to this day.

      • Bea June 25, 2018, 8:52 pm

        Thankfully my mom took me to the cemetery and I was able to grieve that way as well. I still visit his grave every time I’m in the area, so I am lucky that I was able to give his parents their space while being able to find peace myself.

  • VickyJoJo June 21, 2018, 1:37 pm

    Regardless of how anyone feels about whether children should be allowed at a funeral/visiting hours, it was the request of the grieving parents that the children not be there. That above all else should be respected. Accommodations were made with a safe and known babysitter. Mrs. Snowflake has issues if she can’t leave her child with a trusted supervision and knowing how the parents felt, she should have not brought Dudley to the funeral.

    One thing not mentioned. Sounds as if Dudley was small. As such, I am not entirely sure going to the visiting was that appropriate for him. While I never went to a service for a young child, I did attend the viewing for a 21 year old that was killed in a car accident. I had attended funerals before but never have I ever seen the level of grief on display as it is when a parent loses a child. Although we do need to teach children about loss and grief, I’m not sure this was the forum to teach Dudley this – to, in effect – throw him in the deep end of the pool.

  • Me June 21, 2018, 3:16 pm

    My child normally goes with me everywhere. But it’s mainly because I don’t have a sitter generally( due to where we live and his health concerns that most sitters don’t want to deal with) however, I dont think I’d ever take him to a funeral, let alone one of a child. I would be fine with them providing child care ( I have never seen this or heard of this ever in my life but I think it’s fantastic). But again I do take child nearly every where I go.

  • LizaJane June 21, 2018, 3:24 pm

    I hope you don’t ever intend to recite this little fantasy to friends/family who might lose a child.

    • LizaJane June 22, 2018, 8:39 am

      I got this in the wrong place. It’s meant to be a reply to Pennywit’s inexplicable post.

    • Barb June 24, 2018, 6:22 am

      agree, I found it horrifically flippant for such a somber discussion.

  • LizaJane June 21, 2018, 4:25 pm

    The parents weren’t wrong for not wanting children at the visitation or service. Someone came up with the best solution they could at the time, which was to organize childcare.

    The mother wasn’t wrong to bring her son. I think it was poor judgement, but hindsight is 20/20.

    When she was told that children weren’t to be at the visitation, she had 2 choices: leave him briefly in the care room or leave quietly.

    Bringing him back the next day was inexcusable. Funerals are an occasion where it’s not all about the “guests”

    She should show some sensitivity and also focus on being grateful it wasn’t her standing by that tiny casket.

  • PJ June 21, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Some people go to a visitation and funeral to say their goodbyes, but the primary purpose is to comfort and support the grieving family. They trump everyone else. If a visitor actually causes more grief, then they don’t belong there. In this case, kids cause more grief, so they don’t belong. It isn’t an issue of being ‘fair.’ Life isn’t fair. Little kids suddenly dying isn’t fair. We’re way outside of the bounds of ‘fair.’ There really doesn’t have to be a sugar-coated explanation for what causes more heartache for these parents. Most of us can understand that.

    I mean, I know that people tiptoe about mentioning pregnancies around parents who have suffered a miscarriage. This is actually bringing the real, live kid into their presence!

    I love that they had relatives to run interference with them. What a blessing. Maybe funeral home staff should have managed it, but I’d guess it’s hard to do it all a funeral this size.

    It sounds like this decision was a last-minute thing. I think that’s ‘allowed’ when someone is in grief.

    I can imagine a mom, arriving with little kids, finding out that they would have to go to another room with child care. It is possible that she won’t find the provided care acceptable. That’s a fair and sometimes responsible conclusion for any parent to make. In that case, the choice is to leave, not to insist that her kid has some magical healing powers that will make the parents feel better rather than worse.

    I have kids of my own and value them more than anything in this world. But I sure don’t expect anyone else to do the same! If I knew their presence at a loved one’s funeral would bring extra grief, then I’d keep them well away from the place. I’d hate for a child of mine to be a source of pain, and forever associated with such terrible heartache for someone else– especially someone I wanted to comfort.

    I do think the woman showing up with her kid was fine, as the decision was last minute. Going home was also a fair choice. Being upset about the situation is also OK; she gets to have her own emotional response to it all, no problem with that.

    It comes down to how much she insisted, whether she understood the situation when she returned the next day, whether there were signs posted about no children, etc. I get the impression from the OP that she was on the knowing-and-pushy side of things. If she was knowingly trying to bypass the rules for her special kid, then she’s pretty self-centered and cold-hearted.

  • NostalgicGal June 21, 2018, 7:05 pm

    Over the years I’ve attended family and friend funerals. Even when small. As very small just during visitation, and boy I had to behave better than church manners. Later years there was ‘optional’ in a few cases, if I wanted to attend and the default was no. Then it became default was yes but I could still decline. Once I reached legal age (18) I was also expected to deal with flowers or rememberances. Before then it was a card. Now, if it would be upsetting for a child to be there, at least in our family, a small amount of the visitation time was set aside for smalls. Family that might be upset was not in sight and the ones of us that were taken there, it was short. So we could learn to process and deal, and to not cause more anguish. I was managed to about grade school then I had the option of yes… at 10-12 it was option of no. And if there would need to be small-wrangling it was set up and someone would be shunting kids as needed. Mrs. Snowflake may be used to her little flake being part of her social unit, but. It was very good of the relatives to deal with it for the sake of the Family. Now that I officiate, I do try to suggest the same guidelines.

  • Ria June 22, 2018, 12:12 pm

    The first day I’d give her a pass. There was no advance warning. There’s a huge difference between “someone I know” and “someone who can watch my child”. Do these caregivers know little Dudley’s allergies? How to treat his asthma or diabetes? Are there actually enough caregivers to supervise all the children and notice if little Dudley sneaks off to go look at the fire truck parked across the street?

    The second day – did anyone actually make a statement or pass along the information that they didn’t want children at the funeral? If you have a separate visitation and funeral, they often have different audiences and levels of interaction with the grieving family. Ms Special was told at the visitation that the grieving parents aren’t up for seeing other children TODAY, which she might have taken as permission to bring a child the next day.

    To be generous, it’s possible that Ms Special was thinking that she wanted her child to have a chance to say goodbye to his friend. She may also be clinging to her child after one of his friends passed away suddenly, and not thinking things through because she’s upset and scared.

    If the dialogue here is accurate, the relatives, especially the second time, aren’t exactly being polite either. Everyone is upset and grieving, but neither Ms Special nor the relatives come off very well.

    • brooke June 25, 2018, 12:27 pm

      “Everyone is upset and grieving, but neither Ms Special nor the relatives come off very well.”

      But the relatives don’t HAVE to “come off very well”. They’re under no obligation to hold up social niceties right now. Mrs. Special, however, IS obligated to hold up social niceties. The whole family of this dead child are the ones who have the most “right” to grieve, yes Mrs. Special is grieving too but her grief and her feelings do not trump the grief of the child’s family. So whatever Mrs. Special feels, basically it doesn’t matter. It’s not about her or her grief or her child’s feelings. Sure, she has a right to feel bad that they don’t want her to bring her child, but ultimately she has to understand why they feel the way they do and go along with their wishes. The burden of social niceties is on her, not on them right now.

      • LizaJane June 25, 2018, 10:16 pm

        I agree. The relative was doing the only thing they could do for the patents: make sure their wishes were respected.

        I see no rudeness on the relative’s part.

        • LizaJane June 26, 2018, 7:13 am

          Wow. How did “Moo” get added to my name?

          • admin June 26, 2018, 7:27 am

            I have no idea but since your IP and email address are the same I edited the comment to remove the “moo”.

          • LizaJane June 26, 2018, 7:58 pm

            Thank you.