I’ve just learned that my daughter’s ex-partner is in a hospice. He is 52 years old and has cancer (he’s been a chain smoker and cannabis user for many years).
It was a very acrimonious split which happened when my granddaughter was just 16 months old; he treated my daughter very badly, controlling, jealous and eventually became violent and threw them out of his flat which was in his name only. He is much older than my daughter (fairly close to my age, I’m still in my 50s) and he’s always disliked my husband and I because he knew we were uncomfortable with their age difference and lifestyle choices.
Since he ended the relationship (then wanted her back, but she refused) she has struggled financially, never receiving any maintenance for their daughter. Her ex-partner has been estranged from his own family since before my daughter was in a relationship with him.
My granddaughter sees him one day per week as directed by a Court order and handover via a third party. She does love her dad and has been to see him in the hospice.
My daughter has a couple of concerns and I don’t know what to suggest, so perhaps someone could advise?
1. As far as she knows, there is no next-of-kin, apart from their daughter (she is under 10) so what happens about arranging a funeral and funeral costs - will it be my daughter’s responsibility? He is an atheist afaik.
2. My daughter is very upset, obviously thinking of the love they did once share and has gently explained to my granddaughter that he is dying and they both cried. His pet dog died recently so I think she knows a little about death/dying. However, my daughter has never been to a funeral and when the time comes, she thinks that she should take her daughter too.
I am not sure what to think about children at funerals; I certainly was not allowed to go when I was a child, my granddad died when I was nine and I went to school as usual but then back to my gran’s house where all the funeral attendees went for tea and cakes. The first funeral I went to was when I was newly married and my FIL died, it was a cremation and I was shocked when the curtains parted and the coffin moved behind them on a conveyer belt.
Is it generally thought that a young child should go to the funeral of a parent? I imagine that it would be a cremation, perhaps it would be traumatic for her?
I haven’t been to many funerals but I don’t think I’ve seen children at them, but it’s possible that there may have been one or two present.
I live overseas and if my daughter wants me to go over to be with her I will.
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