DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away unexpectedly last year, following a cerebral hemorrhage and weeklong coma.
My wife and I have a 10-year-old daughter and a son who is 5. At my wife's request, our children did not attend the funeral or unveiling (we are Jewish). She thought it would be inappropriate to subject them to events they would not understand.
I agree somewhat, but only in regard to my little boy, since he's only 5 and doesn't understand much about death. My daughter, on the other hand, has a clear understanding. She cried terribly last year upon hearing her grandmother had died, and she has seen how my mother's death affected me.
My kids have never visited the grave, also at my wife's insistence. I want to take my daughter there, but my wife fears she would have nightmares afterward and that the experience could be harmful. My daughter has asked me many times to take her. She says she doesn't understand why we left her out of the funeral, etc. Now I don't know what I should do.
I wanted to include her in everything -– the funeral, unveiling and graveside ceremony. I still want her to see the beautiful memorial stone put up in honor of my mother's memory. Abby, who is right on this subject, me or my wife? –-SAD AND CONFUSED
DEAR SAD AND CONFUSED: You are. When a child is old enough to understand and ASKS to be included, that child should be.
Your daughter has been denied the closure she desperately needs. Take her to your mother's grave, and if she needs to, let her cry. Tears are healing.