DEAR MISS MANNERS: A few weeks ago, a friend of mine died. She had been ill a long time, and her passing was expected. Her children were at the funeral, of course, along with several cousins from out of town.
About a week after the funeral I looked at the Facebook pages of these individuals, hoping to see some mention of my friend and perhaps some kind words about her.
I was surprised to see that the cousins referred to their visit to our city as “my vacation,” with no reference to the funeral. They posted pictures showing themselves having a fine time clubbing, dancing and generally enjoying themselves.
My friend’s children were shown with them, also enjoying themselves. I was taken aback by this. I hope my kids have the time of their lives, but not the same week as my funeral. What do you think?
GENTLE READER: This is the problem, Miss Manners finds, with posting pictures of one’s social life for all to see. You can be caught doing so many unbecoming things that may (or may not) be taken out of context.
Mourning behavior comes in different forms and in different time frames. That your friend’s children were not constantly somber during the week after her death is human nature. That they were caught looking that way is the nature of social media.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My pregnant wife of 21/2 months just had a miscarriage. Most friends and family members knew of the pregnancy.
When we announced the miscarriage, most expressed their sorrow through religious overtones. Though my wife is religious, I am not. I found it offensive that the loss of our baby gave way to people’s own religious opinions on why we lost the baby. I even had one relative tell me that this happened because I didn’t believe enough.
Outside a church, what should be the proper way to express one’s sorrow without getting on one’s own religious soapbox and assuming everybody has your same beliefs?
GENTLE READER: Unfortunately, this sort of outrageous and cruel reaction is not confined just to the religious. Miss Manners finds that the art of blaming the victim when it comes to health issues is rampant. She supposes that its equally unpleasant motive comes from its issuers wanting to feel that they are somehow exempt from the health issue at hand.
Inside or outside of church, all that is needed in a situation such as yours is a simple, “I’m so sorry.”
It’s just a party
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our son got married two years ago. He is coming home in July for a few days. I want to give them a wedding reception for our friends and family to get to know what a wonderful person his wife is and to see their 8-month-old twin boys. What would I call this kind of gathering?
GENTLE READER: A welcome-home party. Or better yet, a party to give your son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren an opportunity to meet your friends and other relatives. Miss Manners does not care to speculate about why you thought to call this a wedding reception.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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