Annie: Woman is not game for second memorial

July 16, 2014 

DEAR ANNIE: My beloved mother-in-law passed away two years ago. We had a church funeral and a celebration of her life.

My father-in-law had the body cremated. He intends to have the ashes buried in the family plot in New York, 1,200 miles away, although he hasn't done so yet. On more than one occasion, he has informed my husband that he wants him to go to New York for another memorial ceremony. I have never heard of having two ceremonies so far apart, and my husband is not looking forward to it. We said our goodbyes at her funeral. Planning another one feels like a dark hanging cloud.

My father-in-law has decided he should have my mother-in-law's ashes laid to rest within the next few months. He expects us to travel to the second ceremony. I feel that it is my father-in-law's responsibility to take care of this, and frankly, it should have been done a long time ago. Am I wrong? -- My Heart is Breaking

DEAR HEART: Some families might find it touching to have another (small) memorial two years later, when you've all had the opportunity to recover from the initial sorrow and can celebrate your mother-in-law's life with more joy. But since you don't feel that way, you do not need to go to so much trouble. However, this is your husband's mother, and he gets to make that decision for himself. Please do not try to influence him. If he would rather go with his father, we hope you will be supportive.

DEAR ANNIE: As a part-time event consultant, I have seen many RSVP cards that are returned with additional guests included. I think the problem is exacerbated by the RSVP cards that are used. They say, "Number of persons attending," followed by a blank line. That implies that the guest can choose the number of people they will bring. Perhaps they don't realize that the host is simply asking how many of the people listed on the invitation envelope will be attending. It's usually one person or two.

I would advise not including this on RSVP cards in the future, as it seems good manners and the rules of etiquette (and even common sense) are fast becoming things of the past. -- J.E., New Orleans, La.

DEAR J.E.: We agree that these RSVP cards can be misleading. They are actually a fairly recent innovation and belong more appropriately with business invitations, not wedding invites. We like your suggestion that people not include cards that give the impression that you can bring any number of guests you choose. Please, folks, only the names on the envelope are invited.

To write to Annie's Mailbox, send to c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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