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Unit 3 – Why it can help children to attend the funeral

Families will have different cultural and religious beliefs about seeing the person who has died and attending the funeral, but it can help a child to:

  • begin to say goodbye;
  • begin to accept the reality and finality of the death;
  • begin to understand what has happened;
  • be less scared;
  • feel part of what is happening; and
  • share with others an important last memory about the person who died.

Probably the biggest factor that will affect a younger child’s attendance at a funeral is if they feel their presence is welcome there. If there is going to be tension (as opposed to sadness) they will pick this up and feel more distressed by the atmosphere than by what is happening. Many children understand and appreciate sharing in other people’s sadness – after all it is what they are feeling too. It’s your family. You know them best. Information provided by Winston’s Wish

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