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The Toddler at the Funeral

Oct14

by

Amalah-

My 93 year old grandmother has suffered what will be eventually a fatal stroke. She is being treated now by hospice for comfort cares, but her days are estimated to be less than a week. I personally am grieving, but resigned, as her health has been precarious for several years prior. I work in the healthcare field so this situation is familiar to me professionally, and I find I’m dealing with things by keeping it professional.

The catch is, my grandma, and her funeral, are at least six hours away from me. And I have a 2 year old. Her only great grandchild. So I know she has to “make an appearance” at the visitation, but what do I do for the service, since my husband is a pallbearer, and I’m the eldest grandchild. And assuming she passes (Good Lord I hate typing this, but on schedule, because a week later my DH will be on a plane to a work conference and I will be soloing this) We don’t have local babysitting resources, aside from my SIL, assuming they are back from the European vacation, but (I’M NOT making this up, on my honor) their phones were stolen out of their safe so we can’t even tell them Grandma’s unwell. (Seriously, could produce police reports and have had OMG comedy moments.)

So what is the protocol for toddlers and funerals? I would have my DH take her back to the hotel, but he’s a pall bearer and I’m just torn. And grieving.

Thanks
A

I’m so sorry about your Grandma. I’m so sorry that short sentence is so inadequate in light of what you’re facing.

But let’s see if we can compartmentalize all the feels for a few minutes and focus on the logistics. Which can either feel MASSIVELY OVERWHELMING or OH GOD THE SWEET EMOTIONAL ESCAPE OF PRACTICALITY, depending on your stage of grief.

I attended two funerals during my last pregnancy, when my older boys were 5 and 2, respectively. My husband’s grandmother died and a service and reception were both held at the assisted living facility where she lived and ultimately passed. My in-laws encouraged us to bring the boys to both, billing the service as more of informal memorial gathering and told us that the boys’ presence would be a welcome distraction for the extended family.

This all sounded good in theory, only once we arrived it was clear that the “informal memorial gathering” was more like a “quiet, solemn and structured church service.” There were hymns and “let us prays” and everything I’d brought to entertain my children (my phone sans headphones, crunchy wrapped snacks and candy, a stupidly unopened new blister package of Hot Wheels, etc.) was suddenly TERRIBLY LOUD AND INAPPROPRIATE. My children simply weren’t capable of sitting there quietly, and even in the back row I could sense we would eventually be a disruption once their patience with snacks and Hot Wheels ran out.

I ended up leaving the service and hiding out in a small room down the hall, playing YouTube clips of Dora the Explorer until the reception, which was indeed just the sort of informal family gathering that we’d been expecting.

Lesson learned: My kids are lousy at funeral services.

When my father passed a few months later, the burial was a military service with extremely limited seating, so it was mostly just immediate family and my parents’ dearest friends. My in-laws graciously agreed to skip the burial (even though they were extremely close to my father as well) and watch the boys (and my nephew) so we could all attend and focus on my mother, whose grief was loud and visible and probably would have been very upsetting for the kids to witness. (Not to mention the gunfire salute would have caused them to lose.their.shit.) My in-laws arrived with the boys at the wake, which by design had much more of a celebration/party vibe than the graveside service. The boys were adorable and funny and charming and their presence indeed cheered everybody up.

Lesson learned: My kids are awesome at post-funeral receptions.

So.

A few questions to consider when faced with a funeral/reception scenario and small children:

1) What kind of funeral are we talking about here? A memorial service? Something with a casket? Open casket? A long sermon? A couple toast-like speeches and a favorite hymn? Military salute? I know in your case it might be difficult to get details yet as things might not be planned, but if possible, inquire about Grandma’s wishes so you can figure out stuff like service length, venue and noise level.

2) Is your child comfortable sitting still and quiet for a length of time? If she regularly attends and sits through church services, for example, it’s entirely possible that she’ll be just fine at a funeral with some crayons, scrap paper and a hymnal. For other kids this is just asking too much of them and you’ll just end up out in the lobby anyway, possibly after an embarrassing outburst. If you just aren’t sure and don’t feel like turning THIS into an experimental run-through, that is completely understandable (and I’ll run though some options in a bit).

3) Who’s attending? Close family is likely to be very tolerant/understanding of a young toddler’s unpredictability, but if the crowd is full of people you don’t know, they might find the sight of a child wearing headphones and playing Angry Birds during a traditional funeral service disrespectful.

4) Is there any possibility the service will be upsetting to your child? An open casket or a room full of visibly distraught and grieving adults can be scary, especially for a young child who is working through their first experience with death. For a toddler, however, it’s really unlikely she’ll be able to grasp anything that’s going on. (My boys still seem to think great-grandma’s funeral was just her birthday party.) This is a double-edged sword, however, because she also won’t be able to grasp why she’s expected to sit still and quiet and not run around and touch things.

Personally, I would probably not take a 2 year old to any sort of formal funeral service. Receptions? Yes. Rock on. Your daughter will likely be a welcome slice of bittersweet happiness. For the service, I would look harder for a local babysitting option. Your hotel, for example, can probably provide a nanny service recommendation for in-room sitting for you. I’ve used these babysitting services and they have always been excellent, so don’t fear them, especially for just an hour or so of in-room supervision. Then you and your husband can attend the service, swing back to the hotel, pay the nanny and head to the reception with your daughter.

If your hotel doesn’t have a nanny service to recommend, try contacting the funeral director or officiant, as I’m sure they are familiar with your situation. A pastor might know a tween/teen in the church who you could pay a few bucks to just hang out with your daughter in the lobby or (if the funeral is at the church) take her to play with the toys in the church nursery. A funeral director might be able to offer another staff member who can keep her amused nearby while you and your husband fulfill your duties. If you know who is supervising the invite list, reach out and explain your dilemma. Maybe there’s another funeral attendee with children who either plans to book a sitter you can share, or who plans to camp out elsewhere while his/her spouse/partner stays for the actual service, and can be tasked with adding your daughter to the group.  Or someone who just doesn’t really “do” funerals very well and will welcome a kid-based distraction. (Note to self: volunteer free babysitting services at any and all future hypothetical funerals.) Maybe there’s a next-door neighbor or friend-of-a-friend’s teenage daughter who can help.

Honestly, if the loss of my father taught me anything, it’s that PEOPLE WANT TO HELP. For real: One of the hospice nurses offered to babysit both of my boys ON HER DAY OFF if it meant I could stay with my mom and dad for just a little longer, until he was officially gone.

It can be very hard at this stage of grieving — the “keeping it together and professional and I AM FINE FINE FINE” stage — to ask for help. But it’s good and okay to ask for help, even if in the end, it’s just asking your fellow mourners to have a heart and turn a blind eye to typical toddler behavior. You have enough to deal with a process right now; staying up nights worried about a 2 year old melting down/whining/crying/needing a change/being generally inappropriate during your grandmother’s funeral should not be one of those things.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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27 Responses to “The Toddler at the Funeral”

  1. Rebecca Oct 14 at 5:17 pm Reply Reply

    Great advice, Amy. I also attended two funerals when my daughter was under two. The first was for my great aunt and the service was held in a church sanctuary. I sat in the back and took her out to the lobby area where I could still hear yhe service when I thought she was being disruptive. The second service I attended was for my husbands grandmother and my mother came to watch my daughter and nephew. Her service was graveside with limited seating and I had visions of chasing my daughter all over the cemetery.

    Is it possible to hire a sitter who can be at the venue (church nursery or  nearby park) so your daughter can join you  after the service? 

  2. Stephanie Oct 14 at 5:21 pm Reply Reply

    My close friends from college lost their mother/MIL last year, when their son was only 17 months old. Luckily, the other set of grandparents were able to corral the little guy because (understandably) he was running around and not understanding the gravity of the situation. This was not a super formal service, by the way. If it had been, I’m sure they would have found somewhere else for their son to be.

    I, personally, would not take my toddler to a service. I don’t know your daughter’s temperament, but mine is not good at sitting still for more than a few minutes of time, and even then is just able to sit still while watching a show.

    I agree with Amy that you should see if there’s a hotel babysitter or someone through the church/funeral parlor. It will be less stressful for you and your husband to be able to focus on this part without worrying about your daughter. And yes, to the wake – there’s food, it’s more informal and a chance for your friends and family to interact with your daughter.

    I’m so sorry about your grandmother. 

  3. Holly Oct 14 at 5:31 pm Reply Reply

    I dealt with almost this EXACT situation. I was concerned my not quite 2 year old would be a huge distraction at the funeral/memorial service. My mom (the daughter of my grandma) called ‘hogwash’ and said absolutely my daughter should be there, my grandma adored her, and any behavior would be fine, and if anyone had a problem with it, they could, well….you know :). Of course I wasn’t going to let her run around, but talking during a ‘quiet’ point or something was just to be expected. She did EXTREMELY well. I was so impressed with her. We kept busy with coloring, books, quiet toys. Sat in the second row with the rest of the family, and everyone seemed to love seeing a tiny person at a solemn event.

  4. Leigh Oct 14 at 5:52 pm Reply Reply

    We did this recently with an 8 month old and an almost three year old for my husbands grandfathers funeral. The church arranged childcare in the nursery for the service and we brought the kids to the visitation and to the reception where they were a welcome distraction and it was easier to go play in a corner. 
    The childcare was a mum and her Tweens and they had a handful of little ones to watch. 

  5. susan Oct 14 at 8:06 pm Reply Reply

    A few years ago, when my daughter was 18 months old, my mother-in-law died suddenly (car accident). She lived in NY and we live in LA; our daughter joined us for everything (there was no viewing and if there was I would’ve sat it out with her). She’s a pretty calm kiddo and was capable of being seated when needed and quiet as well. She did walk up and join my husband when he spoke at the (large, hour-long) funeral and was there graveside when we all shoveled dirt on the casket. She was pretty verbal at the time asking a few questions about why we were there and why we were sad. Luckily she accepted the brief, straightforward answers we gave her. (NOW at 3 1/2 she’s asking the deeper questions and oy. I’m so glad she waited a bit)

  6. Elleb Oct 14 at 8:14 pm Reply Reply

    Not a helpful comment, but maybe a useful laugh: when I was little (3-4 years), my parents took me to my uncle’s military service–gun salute and all. I was absolutely convinced that they shot him.

  7. Elleb Oct 14 at 8:14 pm Reply Reply

    Not a helpful comment, but maybe a useful laugh: when I was little (3-4 years), my parents took me to my uncle’s military service–gun salute and all. I was absolutely convinced that they shot him.

  8. Jill Oct 14 at 8:31 pm Reply Reply

    Definitely check with the venue. My grandfather’s service was held at a church, and as it happened, they had a preschool drop-off program that was held there on weekdays. Perfect scenario. My kids were in the nursery, having loads of fun while we were upstairs during the very quiet, solemn viewing and service. It was a paid program, but they were more than willing to have my kids join them for a few hours free of charge, and refused any offers of cash.

  9. Erin Oct 14 at 9:11 pm Reply Reply

    We just attended a funeral for my husband’s grandmother.   During the catholic mass, I ended up staying with in the the “crying room” in the back of the church.  The service was piped in through the speaker and the boy was seen and not heard. He was a breath of fresh air during the brunch.  

  10. Stephanie S Oct 14 at 9:21 pm Reply Reply

    I had a similar situation.  My grandpa died when my kids were almost 5 and almost 2.  My husband could not get the day off from work to go to the visitation with me, and we didn’t have anyone to babysit, so I took the kids with me to the visitation.  It was…quite nightmarish.  Awful.  A vey long day for very young kids, and I was at the mercy of my sister and brother-in-law because we had driven to the church together (HUGE mistake, not being able to leave when I needed to, and they weren’t at all sympathetic to the fact that we had reached the limit and needed to leave).
    My husband was able to attend the actual funeral, and his sister and brother watched the kids for us, at our house, even though it was an hour drive, each way, for them.  
    A few days later, when I was talking about some of this to a woman in a boot-camp class with me, and she said that she would have been happy to watch my kids for me, both days, if necessary!  And we weren’t really what I’d call friends, just “workout class buddies”.  (There was a group of us in the class that got chatty and would maybe go out for a beer once in a while after class).
    So, long story to say, I wouldn’t bring my toddler to a service.  And ask around…check with the venue.  If it’s at a church, they very likely have several “church women” who do this sort of thing regularly.  My cousin brought her baby with her from Texas for my grandma’s funeral, and a sweet old lady from the church watched him during the service.  Or, even the hotel, as Amy suggested, could be helpful.  
    Amy’s right: people really do want to help in these situations, especially in a concrete way.  And it’s completely okay to ask, too (this coming form someone who absolutely hates to ask for help, ever).
    And I’m so very sorry about your grandmother.  

  11. Kimberly Oct 15 at 1:26 am Reply Reply

    I am so sorry about your grandmother. 

    My MIL and grandma both passed away in the past few months, and I have a 4-year-old and 1-year-old. For my MIL’s funeral, my parents watched the kids while husband and I attended Mass and graveside service. They joined us for the luncheon afterward. Very informal, and the distant relatives enjoyed meeting them in that setting. For my grandma’s funeral, my parents’ neighbor watched the kids during the funeral and graveside service, and my husband stayed with them during the visitation the night before. Other family members chose to bring their similarly-aged children, and UGH. I thought it was distracting and disrespectful. Their parents were more focused on controlling the kids than participating in the service and remembering grandma.

    Amy’s advice is spot on (as usual). Check with the funeral home or church or reach out to a local friend/family member who might have a trusted friend who could watch your daughter during the formal service.

  12. Claire Oct 15 at 3:27 am Reply Reply

    My aunt died when my son was 8 months. I was looking for a babysitter but my uncle insisted he came. We kept him quiet with snacks and he was a welcome distraction and remarkably well behaved. Now he’s 21 months no, I’d have to find a babysitter for him.

    I’m so.sorry about your grandma x

  13. Hi, I'm Natalie. Oct 15 at 10:08 am Reply Reply

    As always, Amy’s advice is fantastic.

    My daughter attended my grandmother’s very Catholic funeral when she was almost-2 – she was a huge hit with extended family/friends/strangers who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to meet her. The death was expected, she’d had a long and full life, so it was more of a celebration of life than a place for grieving.

    Both my daughters (3 and 3 months) attended my father’s very Casual funeral last year, along with my 3/1yo nephews – it was actually a lot of fun and they were definitely very very welcome. Again, the death was very expected (for family who knew him) and the crying/sadness was exclusively limited to his friends who were still happy to see kids running/laughing/dancing.

    Personally, I’ve always really liked seeing kids at funerals and have never had a problem with them being loud/busy/normal kids. Everyone in my family feels the same way, so maybe that’s a community/cultural thing?

  14. A Oct 15 at 11:30 am Reply Reply

    Thanks for all the answers and advice.  Original letter writer here. My mom and her siblings are meeting with the funeral director today so lots of the little details will be figured out.  The biggest question is which weekend, which all depends on how long Grandma hangs on.  

    Right now we are planning on having my daughter come to the visitation and then someone will take her back to the hotel for her nap.  I would probably brave having her at the solemn, dignified, church type service if it weren’t over her nap time.  That way she will be rested and not cranky for the reception and family dinner following.  

    Thanks for all your advice and support.  

  15. Morgan Oct 15 at 2:14 pm Reply Reply

    I had to take a 15 month old baby to a funeral. We drove 3 hours to get there, went to the funeral, and then immediately drove 3 hours home. In a snow storm. The funeral was for a 19 year old boy – my husband’s cousin. It was AWFUL. My kid’s a good kid normally, but that’s not a scenario that makes for a good day for anyone. I spent the entire time in the lobby with the kidlet. Also, I can assure you that while a baby at an old person’s funeral is a piece of light, a baby at a young person’s funeral is a depressing thing to everyone. This isn’t so much for the OP, as for anyone else who searches this later. Don’t make the same mistakes I did!

  16. Sam Oct 15 at 2:36 pm Reply Reply

    I think asking the church for a teen/nursery person is a GREAT idea.

  17. KelleyD Oct 15 at 3:03 pm Reply Reply

    When my grandfather and grandmother passed away my oldest son was 3. It was a very long weekend on account of the circumstances {car accident, separate services and burials as they were both buried next to their first spouses}.
    I was very lucky that both of my brothers were able to attend and neither of them really “do” funerals, the viewing/service part anyhow. So for my grandfather’s {which was at an older historic type church} they kept him occupied outside on the playground that the church had. And for my grandmother’s {which was at a more modern “mega” type church} I was able to keep him occupied out in the hall/lobby area since they had the intercom piping the service into the area.
    But it sounds like you have come to a good plan.

  18. Brooke Oct 15 at 8:10 pm Reply Reply

    For my grandfather’s funeral, I was lucky enough that my husband was able to wrangle our 2-yr old during the times I was occupied. I had headed out to my mom’s hometown the night before the funeral to attend the visitation and my husband and child joined me the next day for the funeral. My son was in a phase where he had to wear a hat ALL THE TIME. I hadn’t given it much thought, but was absolutely mortified when my son showed up at the church in a cowboy hat. Luckily everyone thought it was cute rather than disrespectful. My advice is pack plenty of relatively quiet treats and small new toys to whip out during the service. And see if you have a second cousin or other not-close relative who will be attending the funeral who could help with the wrangling.

  19. kelly Oct 16 at 1:16 am Reply Reply

    Excellent advice. I have a little something to add…

    Not trying to stress out the OP, but this I would say to my own sister. I would add that perhaps now is the time to be considering what your daughter is going to wear. In my case, I was primarily concerned with not sticking out at a formal conservative church funeral. Your mileage may vary, of course.

    I had significant trouble last year finding something appropriate and it stressed me out more than any other part of the whole thing. I was running around trying to find anything in a panic. Let me tell you that finding something that is not overtly peppy or princess pink in daytime church-y winter female childrens wear is nigh impossible on short notice. I did not think of this topic until I had 48 hours left. (January, post holiday dress, pre-easter…Everything was picnic ready or black but glitter sparkle festooned or santa claus red)

    Fire up your internet now. I would even make it a blanket caution to anyone potentially in this situation to keep something funeralish on hand or in mind or maybe bookmarked. I was grateful that I managed to find 2 plain accessories that funeral-erd down a plain-ish spring dress.

    • IrishCream Oct 16 at 2:06 pm Reply Reply

      That’s great advice! My husband’s grandfather died suddenly this summer, and I had two hours to pack before we had to race to the airport. Fortunately we had some non-bright pink, non-sparkly dresses. They were a little on the cheerful side (brown with pink embroidery; blue with grey and bright red flowers), but unless it’s a very formal funeral, I think people are understanding of the difficulty of finding somber clothes for little kids on short notice.

  20. Corie Oct 16 at 11:38 am Reply Reply

    We’ve done funerals with young kids twice – my husband’s grandmother’s funeral when my son was 10 months and my grandmother’s funeral when my son was 33 months and my daughter was ~4.5 months. For my husband’s grandmother’s funeral I sat in the back of the funeral home and stepped out into the lobby when my son started getting riled up, and then when the family was exiting at the end of the service, I walked back in and joined my husband (who was a pallbearer) and the rest of the family. We went to the lunch afterwards and he got cooed over and everyone who attended told us that he was adorable and they loved that he had been there. (I’ll add that I had lined up for a friend of mine who lived ~45 minutes away to watch my son if necessary, but my husband insisted that his grandmother would’ve wanted him there, so we took him.)

    For my grandmother’s funeral, we straight up bribed him with ice cream if he’d be quiet.

    As for what to wear, I didn’t buy anything special for my son for the first funeral – I just picked something semi-dressy and in dark colors. For the second funeral I had more forewarning that it was coming, so I did buy my son a black and white shirt with a dark gray vest to wear with it (the funeral was in mid-March). I also used that outfit for spring pictures at day care, so I wasn’t using the outfit for just one occasion. For my daughter I put her in a gray shirt with black bows on it (which I think were sparkly, but again, I wasn’t going to buy something just for a funeral – I picked from what we had). Overall, I think people are more understanding of little kids/babies/toddlers wearing less -dressy clothes or stuff that would be frowned upon in older kids or adults.

  21. Erin Oct 16 at 12:40 pm Reply Reply

    All these suggestions are terrific. I want to second the person who suggested finding something appropriate to wear sooner rather than later. I had a hard time finding something suitable for my 3yo daughter in the spring with just a few days’ notice. We don’t go to church regularly so we knew she would not sit still for more than 30 seconds and just chose a spot in the back of the church with easy access to the door. We ended up near most of the older attendees who were in wheelchairs that didn’t fit in the pews. They thought my daughter was charming, which turned out to be helpful when she broke away from me (I was 7 months pregnant at the time and couldn’t chase her fast enough), and ran back into the sanctuary just as the minister concluded a prayer. She stopped cold, turned to me, and whisper-yelled in a shocked/disapproving voice, “Mom! That lady just said Jesus Christ!” I wanted to crawl into a hole, but the people around us just chuckled, thankfully.

  22. Lisa Oct 16 at 10:47 pm Reply Reply

    This is very timely for me.  We’re in an almost identical situation.  My husband’s grandmother died recently and we’re driving 3 hours this Saturday with our 17 month old to the memorial in a church we’ve never been in. I haven’t been to a funeral in a long time and I’m unsure of so many things- how early to arrive, what I should wear, what the toddler should wear, what to do about nap time.  This post made me realize that I need to call my mother-in-law and get more details.

  23. leslie Oct 17 at 4:24 pm Reply Reply

    I’m a bit late here, and I see the OP already has a plan, but I’m going to chime in anyhow. My grandfather died in April (at 101!), and it never even occurred to me to not bring my 2.5-year-old daughter to the funeral. She’s family! Funerals are family affairs. Likewise, I’ve never thought it inappropriate when there have been small children at other funerals I’ve attended. Circle of life, people! I could see if this wasn’t family, maybe leaving kids ate home would be easier/more appropriate. But I think the fact that this is family makes the whole situation moot. You should feel comfortable to bring her. And I very much doubt your family would be bothered by small disruptions. And, clearly, if she made any large disruptions, you’d leave the church. I don’t know…I just think you are going through enough stress and you shouldn’t have to deal with even more. Bring your kid if you want. And don’t worry if she makes a bit of noise. Your family will understand, and anyone else does not matter. Also, as for what to wear…does she have a dress? Then you’re set. It doesn’t have to be “somber”. She’s two! No one holds toddlers to the same dress code standards as adults. As long as she doesn’t show up in a Minnie Mouse t-shirt and light up sneakers, you’re ok. My daughter wore a white dress with embroidered flowers to my grandpa’s funeral. I can’t tell you how many compliments we got on it. Trust me…people do not care. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t stress out over these things. You have enough to deal with. I’m really sorry about your Grandma.

  24. Julia Oct 17 at 9:12 pm Reply Reply

    I’m a teacher, and last year the parents of a student asked if I would help provide childcare during their grandma’s funeral.  They set me up in a room with toys in the church, so all the funeral goers could drop off their kids.  It worked well.  If you have other family members with young kids it might be worth investigating.

  25. Nancy Oct 30 at 12:52 am Reply Reply

    Oh, wow, I wish I’d seen this post earlier – I doubt I will be of much use at this point. First of all, I’m so sorry about your grandmother. I’ve attended 2 funerals and an unveiling with my son in his first year and a half of life, so I understand the stress. He was 8 mos old at my uncle’s funeral. Luckily, it was a large service and my mother-in-law wished to attend since she knew him fairly well, so I asked her to hold the baby while I sat up front with the family (and he slept during the actual service, which probably wouldn’t happen with a 2 year old though). At my grandmother’s funeral when my son was 10 mos old, he was fairly well behaved during the small service, but his couple of outbursts were well received by the attendees and was actually a funny reflection of her spirit (I felt at least). By the time we had my uncle’s unveiling last week, he pretty much knew the drill (and was used to being quiet as we attend church semi-regularly) and was around his naptime, so he was pretty tired. From my (very limited) experience, if your kid is well behaved in similar situations (my son is also pretty good in church), it may be worth a try to bring her in. Anyone that judges you for bringing her should be forced to babysit! Good luck

  26. OP Nov 01 at 1:10 am Reply Reply

    I know its late now, but I thought I would update everyone on how things went.

    My aunt freaked out that my husband might not be available to be a pallbearer.  My mom said something to me along the lines of I don’t care if OP is there, but I need to know about the pallbearers.  (My aunt has moved towards slightly unstable in recent years. . .)  My mom was really upset, so I told her that my toddler and I would go to the visitation, then step out for the service while my Totally AWESOME husband would stay and do what he needed to do.  Then my kiddo had a diaper blow out, so we scooted out early.  After her nap, we returned for the mini sandwiches and cake memorial reception.  Where she charmed a bunch of distant relatives.  

    I am so thankful for amalah and her readers for their helpful responses.  Amalah answered my question in under 12 hours from my posting.  That made me feel so not alone.  Thank you.  

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