A Funeral and Religious Service – A Day of Firsts for My Daughter

My husband’s grandfather died last weekend. He was in his 90s and he was aware that he was dying. He lay in hospice for several days before finally passing. It was unbearable to watch. I hope that when I die – especially if I know I’m dying – it goes a little quicker than that. 

At first, we weren’t going to take our six-year-old daughter to visit him in hospice, but one night he specifically asked for her so we brought her the next day. She was a little freaked out but she sat on the floor and drew him a picture. She showed it to him and it was very sweet.

The funeral is tomorrow and my husband and I both agree she should be there with the rest of the family. This really isn’t her first funeral, but it will probably be the first one she actually remembers. She was still a baby when my stepmother and grandmother died. 

This will also be her first religious service. My husband’s family is Lutheran – the conservative kind. (Eek!)

Part of me hopes our daughter will be curious and ask us lots of questions, but the other part of me knows she’s going to be bored and ask to play with my phone.

Any advice on making this a meaningful/educational experience for my daughter? Or is six still too young to understand?


  1. moarscienceplz says

    I’m not too familiar with Lutheran services but I bet they are pretty long. If I were in your shoes, I think I would explain in advance to her what is going to happen in as much detail as possible and let her process it and ask you questions. That might allow her to be less bored, but I would be prepared to take her back home when it’s obvious she has had her fill. If that offends your husband’s relatives, too bad.

  2. Katydid says

    Also not familiar with Lutheran services. I lost my great-grandmother when I was around 6. We kids didn’t sit through the service (no idea what denomination it was), but we were at the cemetery for the burial. I got to put a handful of dirt on the coffin and it comforted me that something I put there would be with my great-grandmother “forever”. Which is weird because I can only remember meeting her once. What the death and funeral might mean for your daughter is something I can’t guess. She seems like a bright little girl, but below a certain age (not sure what it is), kids really don’t get the idea of death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *