Pat Loder understands just how tough it is to explain senseless death to children. Loder buried both her children -- 8-year-old Stephanie and 5-year-old Stephen -- in a shared coffin two decades ago this March.
A speeding motorcycle broadsided Loder's car as she attempted to turn left onto her street. Her only children died of injuries in the crash.
"It was very difficult for my daughter's classmates," said Loder, now 55 and executive director of Compassionate Friends, an international support group that helps those who have lost children.
"I am sure these kids will have nightmares," she said. "It was traumatic and violent. Ours was a sudden death, too. One day they are playing with a playmate and the next day there were gone."
"And it makes them feel unsafe," Loder said. "In their mind's eye, it's not safe to go to the corner market or to a friend's house without someone else. It's a natural part of the process."
But are these young grievers too young to attend the funeral?
"It's a very grown-up thing that happened to this little girl," said Loder. "She died, and these children are trying to make a grown-up decision about whether they want to go or not."
"Don't force them to go and don't keep them from going," she said. "They will regret it if they don't go if they feel they need to. They may not look at the casket. Let them lead the way."
Loder was so worried about her own daughter's classmates' reaction to the funeral that she arranged a closed coffin with photos of her children laid on top.