Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Should Kids Go To Funerals?

What's it like for a boy when Grandpa dies?
Here's a young man's recollection of his 6th grade reaction to his grandfather's death, and also the remarkable action and attitude of his grandmother.

When I was in 6th grade I was really upset and mad at God when my grandfather was struck and killed by a car. As he walked home after work with two other men, all three were hit by a car. The other men only suffered minor injuries but my grandfather got the full impact.

My Sunday school teachers had told me about God: He was loving and caring. We sang songs about how God was so good and how his love was deep and wide. And I really struggled with that. How could God allow our family to suffer like this? Where’s the love in allowing my grandfather to get killed by a car? At the time, I just didn’t understand.

Although I didn’t see God’s purpose when I heard the news of his death, it quickly became apparent at the calling hours and then the funeral.

People came from all over and lined up through the church auditorium and the west wing of the church, then out the door, and down the sidewalk for the calling hours. God was the center of my grandfather’s life. We knew our grandfather had had a good testimony, but we never realized its magnitude. We were simply blown away.

The next day at the funeral, the pastor presented an incredible list of “What ifs?” What if my grandfather and the men had taken the grass path instead of the road? What if they had worked a few minutes longer or a few less? What if the girl who struck them had been late or early to where she was going? What if she had taken a different route? What if she had been stuck in traffic? What if she had changed the radio station a few seconds earlier?

He said, “I could talk about ‘what ifs’ all day, but it won’t help, because it’s quite clear that this was no mistake, it didn’t slip God’s radar, it wasn’t a surprise for God.”

My grandmother was initially in shock after the accident. But, within a week she had prepared dozens and dozens of roses. She visited over 40 homes in her neighborhood, handed each neighbor a rose, shared my grandfather’s story, and explained why she was okay. She was a shining example to me and I will never forget her strength in Christ. It was just what I needed to see and it powerfully helped me through that hard time.

This tragedy prepared me to deal with future suffering and to minister to others who suffer. I also learned how important our testimonies are as Christians. Had my grandparents not lived in a way that proclaimed Christ was the center of their lives, there may have been many friends and family members still lost and without hope. My grandparents motivated me to live in a way that made it clear that I was a child of God.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble . . ."
II Corinthians 1:3,4

Every once in a while the question is raised about kids going to funerals. It looks like it was a good thing Mike went. In general, though, do you think kids should go to funerals? Is there a certain age? Should they be somehow prepared? What do you think? Add your comments below, everyone loves to read them.


  1. I can only speak of what I know.When my husband died my granddaughter,only 4 ½ at the time was prepared by her parents that he would not live. She saw him the night before he died,but they chose not to let her see Grandpa in the coffin.I think it was the right choice. My granddaughter is very aware that Grandpa is in heaven and often talks about him and how she thinks he is sitting on a cloud and watching her. I think that is sweet. Oh,yes, she was at the funeral,but was a little young to really understand the whole concept.

  2. Ruth, it sounds like her parents handled it beautifully and found a wonderful way to honor your husband in her sweet expressions since. thank you for your comment, it will be helpful to everyone who reads this. :)

  3. My friend's mother was dying of cancer. The family had all come home. The week before her death, her deaf, great granddaughter, who was about 3 at the time, would ask visit Granny every day and sit on her lap in the rocking chair. The day Granny died the child asked to sit with granny as usual. The mother decided to let her in to see Granny, dead in bed. The child looked at Granny, touched her face, kissed her and never asked to see her again. Sometimes young children are more aware and sensitive than adults to the things of the Spirit.

    That little gal is a little older now and is a right hoot. There were no ill effects to her on seeing her Great Granny dead.


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