Wednesday, April 11, 2012

K is for...

or
"El Peto de la Mort"

I'm not going to lie, I've had a hard time deciding on what to write for my "K" post.  One of the main people I wrote about during my "death trip" is named Khristian, but I've written about him a lot on this blog and there's a ton in the book, so I wanted to add something fresh and new.  A friend of mine (Hi Lori!) suggested I write about the "kiss of death."  I had no idea where this expression came from. She told me that it is a Biblical reference to when Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. (Mark 14:44-46)

Then I thought, I'd take another friend's suggestion and write about KIDS and death, more specifically, children attending a funeral.  But the thing is, I have nothing to say about that topic, other than I'm all for it.  Death is a part of life.  Granted, it's not typically the part of life we look forward to, but I am totally against sheltering children from the reality of death.  When you hide something from a child, in my mind that = bad.  I'm all about open discussions.  I took my two kids to a funeral last month.  It was their first funeral and my third.  They did not know the deceased, but I wanted them to see what a funeral service was about.  Afterwards, they had lots of questions and it made for a great discussion.

I'm going to leave you with a K song, "The Killing Moon" by Echo and the Bunnymen--one of my favorites!

So, do you have kids?  Would you let them attend a funeral?  Did you attend any funerals as a child?  Was it a good or a bad thing?  Discuss...

26 comments:

  1. I agree that kids should be able to attend funerals. Both of my sons started going before they were in grammar school. On another note, I read about your upcoming procedure. I'm sorry that you're going through this, and I wish you the best of luck. Julie

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  2. That's really interesting to know where the phrase kiss of death comes from.

    As for taking my kids to a funeral, if my nine year old wanted to go to the funeral of someone close to him I'd be all for it. I agree you shouldn't shelter kids from that sort of thing. I went to my own grandmother's wake when I was ten and it had more positive effects than negative. I wouldn't take my two year old though, simply because he wouldn't understand and would probably be too disruptive.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. :)

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    1. Yeah, I agree with you on the two year old.

      Well, you are welcome! I'm glad you are enjoying the blog and learning some new tidbits! I appreciate you stopping in and your comments.
      Pamela

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  3. Great post! I'm curious to what questions they asked and why you wanted them to see what a funeral was about?
    Personally, I wouldn't take my children to a funeral of someone they didn't know. Granted, it will give them an idea of what a funeral is like, but I would feel like I'm impeding on those who ARE close to the deceased; it's such a vulnerable, raw time for them. I'd really hate to think that, if I died, people were attending my funeral just to see what a funeral was like!
    There comes a time when we all have to attend the funeral of someone who was at the centre of our lives. No amount of previously attended funerals can prepare anyone for that. So I'd happily shield my kids from the formalities of death unless I felt it was absolutely vital.

    Never mind the kids... there's things *I* would love to be shielded from in reality haha! Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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    1. Hi Catherine! Thanks for popping in. I agree that I wouldn't just show up at a funeral where I didn't know anybody just for the experience, although I've thought about it. This latest funeral was for a man that was executed and I felt it was important for me to be there for his family as a show of support. My kids knew of my relationship with this man and I felt that it would be more strange to leave them at home for the day while I went off to a funeral. In my mind, there would be more questions.
      The dying part is easy, the person in the coffin or the urn doesn't know who is at their funeral. It's the family who needs the support and the show of love and I wanted my kids to witness that.
      And yes, I agree, you can attend 100 funerals and still not be "prepared" for the one that is going to hit you the hardest, but if you are familiar with what is going to happen, what is expected, etc, I think that little part of immersion is essential to making the experience less fearful in the future--make death less of a taboo.

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  4. This may be my favorite post yet! ( biased! ). My mother-in-law died about 4 years ago. My boys were 6 & 3. My oldest had the hardest time with it. He just bawls at death in general....a sensitive heart. He was particularly close to Nana. At the funeral I didnt want him to look at her in the casket because they never look the same & that memory is so strong when it's the last visual you have of that special person. Well, he did look. I immediately took him to where we had set up tons of pictures of her vibrant life. I want him to remember that! For me, death has lost its sting because I have a hope in the eternal. Difficult, yes! Sad, yes! Do I still miss her & cry, yes! But I hold on to hope of eternal life. Death is not the end but a new beginning. <3

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Lori! And yes, the spiritual component surrounding death is important. And I'll have more to say about that in about a year:)

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  5. When my mother in laws passed away. After the first night of viewing the funeral director answered all the kids questions they had about death. leave it to my kids to think they cut her in half. He opened the casket to show them I even learned some things like they don't put shoes on you after death because your nails continue to grow so does your hair.

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    1. That is awesome that the funeral director took the time to answer questions! But, he is wrong about the hair and nail thing. Big myth. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02909/Seven-Medical-Myths.html

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  6. My kids are 20 and 17 now, but I never hid much from them. I don't believe in raising kids that way. So yes, I would take them to a funeral. They've been to at least one when they were young. In fact, they watched the ashes being thrown into the river. (Based on the deceased's request.)

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  7. Did they have questions about the ashes? Or why the person wanted their cremains in the River? At the funeral I went to with the kids, my son wanted to know why there wasn't a casket and I had to explain that the man's remains were in the urn.

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  8. We were always protected from death as kids so maybe this influences my views now - i would generally say no I wouldn't take my kids. Every single funeral i have been to has been emotionally draining and so horribly sad that i just wouldn't want to put them through that.

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    1. I love that I'm getting differing opinions! What made the funerals sad other than the obvious? Were the services you went to focused on mourning? Did any of them celebrate the life of that person?

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  9. I don't have any kids. If I did, they would go to funerals just like I did when I was a wee lad. My first funeral was that of my baby sister when I was just under 4 years old. I've attended dozens in the 50+ years since that time that were family, dozens more of my friends and literally hundreds as a result of my job in the funeral industry. Kids cannot be sheltered from death any more than they can be sheltered from any other thing in life. Hiding death from them produces adults with phobias about death and funerals rather than people who know that every life should be celebrated.

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    1. I agree with that statement. I like the cognitive behavioral approach to getting rid of phobias by exposing ourselves to things that make us nervous. Eventually, the fear dissipates. What do we typically fear? The unknown. That's why I'm all about getting a conversation started about death. Talk about it, take away it's power. If anything, it makes you appreciate life even more.

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  10. I went to a lot of funerals growing up and I was never disturbed by them. I never lost anyone close to me, so that might affect me more. Nice to find a new blog.

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  11. I've been to a funeral before. I don't understand the reason why children would be banned from attending. Nice post by the way. I really like your writing style.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Gina! I'm so glad to have a young person pipe in. I'm curious how you found this blog. Are you following the A to Z blog challenge?

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  12. I'm waiting on the funeral thing with J. He's hyper-sensitive about death b/c of Z's diagnosis. We try to openly discuss death with him, but he shuts down about it. Too much tragedy for him in his early life, I think. But I'm not opposed to it. I think it depends on the kiddo and the circumstances.

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  13. My daughter is 10, but she has not attended a funeral yet. However, she has (sadly) experienced loss - her religious school teacher died in a plane crash about 5 miles from our house, a classmate was found dead in her home around the block, and most recently, one of her best friends lost her father to cancer. We've talked about each event with her, and she is pretty in touch with her feelings.

    I remember attending my grandma's funeral at age 8, and feeling bad that I wasn't able to cry.

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    1. Wow, that is a lot of loss. One of my daughter's teachers lost both of her teenage children in a car accident and I feel horrible that I didn't attend the memorial. (This was pre-facing my fear of death.)I was so freaked out about not knowing what to say to her because I couldn't comprehend the enormity of her loss. I mistakenly believed that I had to try and "fix" her with words or something to minimize her grief.
      I was also afraid to cry in front of people. So I didn't go and I could kick myself now for not going.

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  14. I've actually never been to a funeral, and I think that the total absence of death from my life has made the concept of others dying much more frightening to me. (My own death doesn't freak me out too much, but I'm really, really bad with the idea of losing others. Rug pulled out from under the soul, bottomless pit kinda thing.) Not that I feel anything but blessed to have lost so few people close to me, but let's face it: it WILL happen, and I wish I was more ready for it, or at least had some sense of what I might be in for. Coming a little closer to the rituals and ceremonies around it would make it much less batshit awful.

    Great question, too. Very thought-provoking - my own answer hadn't occurred to me before now.

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    1. I feel the same way. My own death, not too terribly worried, but the grief over losing others scares me, dare I say it...to death:)

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Comments are welcome and appreciated!