Q. I recently spotted an acquaintance walking down the street and ducked into a store. His wife had died, and I didn't want him to see me because I didn't know what to say. I felt like a coward. Why is it so difficult to talk to someone in this…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on November 28, 2014 at 12:00pm — No Comments
Q. When a dear friend died several months ago, many of her friends (including me) had no idea what had happened. She lived abroad (alone), but stayed in touch — until she didn’t. It was as if she had vanished. We were left in limbo with so many unanswered questions. We…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on October 21, 2014 at 2:11pm — No Comments
Q. Do I have to wear a dark suit and tie to my uncle’s funeral? My significant other says I should, but I want to wear a nice collared shirt and khakis. It seems to me everybody’s more casual these days. What’s your opinion?…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on September 17, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments
Q. My neighbor's elder sister died and I will be attending the funeral. I've met the sister a few times over the years, but I don't know much about their relationship. What should I say at a time like this?
The loss of an…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on September 4, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments
Q. My co-worker was in the middle of a messy divorce when her soon-to-be ex-husband died of a sudden heart attack. She has a 4-year-old son. My question is should I send a condolence note – and if I should, what can I say? It’s such a complex situation and I don’t want to write anything inappropriate.
“Complex” is certainly the right word. In your place,…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on July 28, 2014 at 2:25pm — No Comments
Q. A friend of mine, who is planning her mother’s funeral, mentioned working with the funeral home on “the order of service.” I’ve never heard this term before. What exactly is the order of service?
I’ve had to plan three different funerals myself, and never heard of it either. Now I’m enlightened, thanks to your question. The order of service is essentially a program of how a funeral or memorial service will proceed. The order of service may be a printed guide for…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on June 20, 2014 at 2:20pm — No Comments
Added by Florence Isaacs on May 27, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments
Q. My friend’s father just died unexpectedly, which left the family scrambling to write an obituary for him. Their experience made me think about writing an obit for my own 75-year-old father now – while I have the time and composure. If I do it now, I can also…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on April 17, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments
Added by Florence Isaacs on March 18, 2014 at 1:30pm — No Comments
Q. Can you have a funeral followed by a memorial service at a later date for the same loved one? I want a memorial service for my father on what would have been his birthday, although the funeral was eight months ago. Would it be appropriate? Will it make people…Continue
Q. My brother is now in hospice care, and I will be in charge of the funeral arrangements. Am I entitled to bereavement leave from my employer?
You probably are if you live in Oregon. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Oregon became the first state to require employers with 25 or more employees that are subject to the Oregon Family Leave Act to…Continue
Q. During a recent funeral, I overheard someone tell the adopted son of the deceased, “Well, at least it’s easier for you that he wasn’t your real father.” How can people be so insensitive? The son was speechless.…Continue
Q. What can I say or write to someone whose brother just died of AIDS? I haven’t heard much about AIDS in recent years, except for newspaper stories about epidemics in Africa. I thought people were living with it in the United States — that it was treatable. Also, I don’t know the circumstances. Is it OK to ask questions?
You’re right. Huge progress has been made in…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on December 1, 2013 at 6:30am — No Comments
Q. My co-worker’s husband just died, and I’m at a loss for what to write in a sympathy note. She and I are friendly – occasionally we have lunch together with a group of other associates – but we’re not close friends. What should I say?
The death of a spouse (or life partner) is an extraordinarily complicated loss that turns a widow’s life upside down. She loses a…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on November 26, 2013 at 9:30am — No Comments
Q. Are there any guidelines about mentioning survivors in an obituary? Should an ex-spouse of the deceased be listed — and if so, what wording should be used? How about step-parents and step-siblings, or in-laws?
Most of us think of “survivors” as closest kin, but that leaves a lot of leeway in these days of blended families and serial marriages. In practice, a survivor can be anyone the grieving family says he/she is, and it can get very…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on September 23, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments
Q. I will attend a funeral in a few days and plan to join the procession of cars to the cemetery afterward. I’m curious. When did the custom of funeral processions start – and how much does a hearse cost today?
Added by Florence Isaacs on August 27, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments
Q. My colleague, who is Muslim, just lost his wife. I will attend the funeral, but feel uneasy because I’ve never attended a Muslim service before. Can you educate me on what to expect and any etiquette I should know about?
In our fluid multicultural society, more and more of us are attending funerals that may include unfamiliar customs, rituals, or prayers. In the case of a Muslim funeral, Islamic law prescribes that the deceased be buried as quickly as…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on July 30, 2013 at 11:49am — No Comments
Q. My dear cousin has terminal cancer, and it won’t be long now. We grew up together and have remained friends throughout the years. She’s the one who made sure we never lost touch, despite many moves on my part to other parts of the country and even abroad for a few years. I want to start working on a eulogy for her. I know the basics, but are there any special tips you can give me?
The advice is different depending on who is being eulogized and your…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on June 30, 2013 at 10:30am — No Comments
Q. The mother of a relatively new client of mine just died of a heart attack. I’m a lawyer, and am thinking of sending the condolence note below to the client:
“Janet: So very sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. When the days seem dark, remember to cherish the good memories the two of you created. It will help carry you through the dark. You are in my thoughts and prayers.”
Do you think this note is appropriate?
Added by Florence Isaacs on May 17, 2013 at 3:30pm — No Comments
Q. My father is very ill and wants his ashes scattered in a lake near the family summer home when he dies. Are there restrictions on doing so? Who should I contact for specific information? Also, there will be no minister present when the ashes are scattered. Is there a protocol we should follow or particular words that should be said?
Your questions raise some complicated issues. One is location. Is the lake on private or public property? The owner’s…Continue