Friday, June 12, 2009

Should teens attend teen funerals?

Many of you know that my 15 year old daughter, Kelly, lost a classmate last week. This is her first experience losing someone her age. Travis was killed when another driver cut him off causing him to lose control of his vehicle. He was ejected as his SUV rolled over. He was not wearing his seatbelt. The passenger, who was wearing his seat belt, survived.

Yesterday, Kelly came to me with tears in her eyes. Travis's mom sent an email to all the band members and color guard team letting them know when the viewing and funeral would be. I told Kelly that she may want to go to get some closure but the decision was up to her. I let her know that I would go with her if she wanted to attend either or both.

But can teens handle this type of emotion?

Is this one of those things they have to go through as they grow up? I'm not sure she needs to go to the viewing. Can she handle seeing another teen in that state? Unfortunately this isn't her first funeral. When she was two years old she sat with Hubby the day we buried her brother. She didn't really understand but she remembers bits and pieces. She was a little older when her great-grandmother passed away and she remembers the funeral of a dear family friend. She and Reyna went with me to a funeral when a high school friend of mine lost her mom. They knew her a little from seeing her at dance recitals because they took dance from my friend.

But this is different. This is a boy who was only two years older than her. Someone that she sat with in class. Someone she marched with on the field at half-time. Someone she attended competitions and camps with. Will going to his funeral help bring closure or cause her more pain? More emotional distress?

Unfortunately I know in my heart that this will not be the last friend she'll lose during her high school years. The statistics are just too high to think otherwise. I know that it could also be her that is lost, though I pray God will spare us since He has already taken one of our children (wishful thinking on my part).

For now, the decision is hers. I hope that I'm making the right decision by leaving it up to her and that she makes the right choice. If this were your 15 year old, what would you do?

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