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How To Handle A Death In The Family With Your Teens Post Divorce

It was two years post Divorce after an 18 year marriage, when I received the emotional call from my ex husband telling me his father suffered a massive heart attack and was on life support. I just saw my ex father in law one week prior when the kids and I went to Florida to see my family. I always took the kids to visit their “other” set of Grandparents as well, even post Divorce, as this was the right thing to do for my kids.

My ex husband told me he was heading to Florida, but that the Doctor told him the inevitable was coming, there was no brain activity. Since my ex felt too distraught to tell the kids this news, he asked me to tell the children, which I did, slowly and methodically. I felt relieved because the children just saw their Grandfather so I knew they would hold a beautiful, recent memory of him.

When my ex father in law passed two days later, it was my daughter’s birthday. The next big decision was to be made. Do I go to the funeral, escort my children to this major event in their lives, or do I let them go without me?

I was beginning to process this thought, but the decision was immediately made by my children. Ages 13 and 16 at the time, they insisted I go with them to the funeral.  Although a bit awkward (my ex remarried a year prior), of course I put the kids first and escorted them to the funeral. In fact, my parents also went as we all had a 20 year relationship with my ex husband’s family and wanted to honor his father’s life.

Even though my ex husband’s new wife and family were also present, we all respected the occasion, supported one another, and most of all, created a sense of comfort for the kids.

My mantra has always been, “Kids come first”. Whatever the situation, take a breath and take a back seat to the needs of your children.

Michelle Zudeck, Founder of, can often be found in the website Community Groups, discussing topics from Law to Finance, Parenting, Real Estate, Health &
Wellness and beyond.

Michelle Zudeck's picture

Michelle Zudeck, founder of is a divorced mother of two amazing kids, now 19 and 22. Having gone through a divorce in 2007, Michelle successfully navigated the ups and downs of the divorce process. Michelle's mantra and advice for those going through Divorce is to "try and put the best interests of your children ahead of your own".