Florence Isaacs's Blog (88)

After a Family Rift, Should You Go to the Funeral or Memorial Service?

Q. My aunt just died, and I want to attend the funeral. However, I haven’t spoken to my cousin (her son) for several years after a series of arguments. What should I do? I’m afraid he’ll be annoyed to see me there or even challenge me.

Funerals and memorial services are meant to be healing rituals for survivors that bring us together to share the loss of a loved one. But that doesn’t happen if the bereaved are…


Added by Florence Isaacs on April 18, 2016 at 11:24am — 1 Comment

Who Pays for the Funeral? Defining 'Immediate Family'

Q. A friend of mine has been asked to help pay for the funeral of a cousin she was never close to.…


Added by Florence Isaacs on December 29, 2015 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

Funeral Flowers: What's Too Much ... or Not Enough

Q. My siblings and I are bickering over how much to spend for flowers at our mother's funeral. It's, "What do we need flowers for? They're a waste of money" – all the way to, "Let's fill the chapel." What do other people do?

Which people…


Added by Florence Isaacs on December 3, 2015 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

When a Death Seems a Blessing: What Not To Say

Q. I was recently at a funeral for a relative with Alzheimer’s disease who died in a nursing home. I happened to overhear someone tell the deceased’s son that, “It’s better this way.” The comment seemed inappropriate to me, especially because the speaker was not someone who knew the family well. The son also received some condolence notes that made similar statements. Your thoughts?

Many people think that words…


Added by Florence Isaacs on October 22, 2015 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

Tips for Asking a Stand-in To Deliver a Eulogy You've Written

My father is in hospice, and my family assumes that I will give one of the eulogies at his funeral. I have no trouble writing it. But I'm terrified of delivering it myself. Public speaking is not one of my talents. My dad and I are very close, and I'm sure I'll break down and cry. Is it…


Added by Florence Isaacs on September 28, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Why Run an In Memoriam Notice?

(Ed Phillips | shutterstock)

Q. I see In Memoriams in the newspaper regularly, but I wonder why people bother to place them. First, they’re expensive. Second, isn’t an obituary enough? …


Added by Florence Isaacs on July 27, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments

How To Research Someone Before Delivering His or Her Eulogy

Flickr Creative Commons | Chriso

Q. I've been asked to speak at a memorial service for an employee of my company. I barely knew him, as I only recently started working here. How can I come up with something…


Added by Florence Isaacs on May 18, 2015 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

Family Arguments When a Loved One Dies: The Mediation Option

Flickr Creative Commons | jon collier

Q. My aunt, who had no children, died and left everything (including a condo in Miami) to my cousins and myself. My cousins have almost come to blows over whether to sell…


Added by Florence Isaacs on April 22, 2015 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Condolence Tips When Writing to a Stranger

Q. I'm struggling to write a condolence note to the wife of a very close colleague of my late husband. I knew the man well and cared about him. He was a genius in his way, but sort of a lost soul who also had serious health problems. I never met his widow. They married after I'd lost touch with him. What can I say that makes sense when I…


Added by Florence Isaacs on March 30, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments

An Update on Mausoleums

Q. I've seen mausoleums in cemeteries and always assumed they are exclusively for the rich and famous. I was recently told that isn't true – that they aren't necessarily hugely expensive. What are the options today, and how much does a mausoleum cost?

My dictionary defines a mausoleum as a large, stately building…


Added by Florence Isaacs on February 20, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments

Donating in Memory of a Deceased Person: Business Situation

Q. I’m debating whether to send flowers to a client whose father died or to make a contribution in memory of the person. In the latter case, how can I be sure the client will be notified of the donation? I’ve never done this before.

Our business and professional lives are about…


Added by Florence Isaacs on January 30, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Suggestions for Using a Photograph With an Obituary

Q. I’m preparing an obituary in advance for my elderly father and want to include a photograph. How much extra does a photo cost, and what are the guidelines? Also, what do you think about using a photo from 40 years ago when he was healthy and dashing?

The cost and requirements for an…


Added by Florence Isaacs on December 31, 2014 at 11:30am — No Comments

7 Tips to Make It Easier to Talk to the Bereaved

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 situation?

The fact is the idea of facing any…


Added by Florence Isaacs on November 28, 2014 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

How to Ensure That Your Friends Will Be Notified of Your Death

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 only recently found out the…


Added by Florence Isaacs on October 21, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Dress Code Changing for Funeral Services

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?

I just went to a memorial service held in a church and wore a brown…


Added by Florence Isaacs on September 17, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments

When Someone's Adult Sibling Dies

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 adult…


Added by Florence Isaacs on September 4, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Expert Advice for Offering Condolences in Messy Situations

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, I would send a note.…


Added by Florence Isaacs on July 28, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

The Order of Service at a Funeral

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.…


Added by Florence Isaacs on June 20, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

The Basics of Hospice Care

Q. I’m going to visit a friend who is receiving hospice care at home. I don’t know exactly how hospice works, and would feel more comfortable if I had some basic information. Can you educate me?

As I researched the answer to your question, I was astonished to learn that about 45 percent of…


Added by Florence Isaacs on May 27, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments

The Basics: How to Write a Parent's Obituary in Advance

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 ask him questions about what information he’d want me to include or…


Added by Florence Isaacs on April 17, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments

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