Death and Dying
Dear WholeMom, My father-in-law died recently. The family is planning a graveside memorial service for him and my eight-year-old son wants to be there. He's a mature kid for his age, but I'm not sure that he'll be able to handle this. On the other hand, he was not at the funeral and he says he really wants to go. He's never been in a cemetery. What do you think? Sad in Syracuse Dear Sad, If your son did not express any desire on his own to be at the memorial service, you should certainly not suggest it to him, but he is the one who has made the request and is apparently very interested in going. It sounds like, young though he is, your son realizes that he needs "closure.
Dear WholeDad, Hi! I'm a 13-year-old girl and the youngest of 5. My father passed away six years ago. It didn't seem to bother me then but now it does. I really miss him more now than ever. Is this normal???
What might otherwise be formative events in children's lives are lost, and the adults that these children become are unable to draw on these memories. When our daughter Hannah was not quite three years old, she participated in the birth of her younger sister, Leah, in our bedroom, the same room where she had been born. She gently placed washcloths on my head, helped bring up the bassinet from the basement, spent time in the kitchen with her Aunt Julie baking a cake for the baby, and held Leah within minutes of birth.
As I sat by your bedside, I thought about Two books you bought me. One of them, A Little Princess, was inscribed, "To my little princess." I was ten. The other, True Gift, was inscribed, "To my daughter, who has grit in abundance." I was seventeen. The lesson I learned from the first book was that a true princess knows how to give.
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