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
Q. I just attended an event where I briefly met a colleague whose 18-year-old daughter died in a drowning accident four years ago. I meant to send a condolence note at the time. But I never did, and I’ve always felt so guilty about it. Is it out of the question to send a note to her now? If it isn’t, what should I write?
I’ve always said it’s never too late…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on March 28, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments
Q. The 16-year-old son of friends committed suicide a week ago. My wife and I are thinking about inviting them to attend a social event coming up next month and wonder whether that is an appropriate thing to do. Is it too soon after the death, and would it seem as if we don’t recognize the depth of their grief? Or not?
The death of a child is unimaginable agony for the parents. Your children are supposed to outlive you, and the enormity of the loss just…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on February 26, 2013 at 3:18pm — No Comments
Times have changed, and women funeral directors are no longer unusual. Neither are female embalmers. In 2010, 57.1% of mortuary science students in the United…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on January 28, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments
Q. The mother of a friend of mine died and his aunt has hijacked the funeral. She made all the funeral plans on her own. Afterwards she called and told him when and where to show up for the services. The mother had earmarked money to pay for a funeral, so there is no cost to either party. But my friend feels so angry at being left out of all the decisions that he talks about not wanting to attend the funeral. Why would someone hurt him this way at such a sad time? I’m trying to…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on January 3, 2013 at 3:21pm — No Comments