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 recently met a lady and 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? Do we really have to drag out the burial like this?
— 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. Back in the Gilded Age, guests were expected to respond using their own personalized stationery, and pre-printed RSVP cards were later introduced as a convenience. 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.
Dear Annie: Your comment to “Swimmers’ Parents” was good — it isn’t fair to hold one twin back so the other can catch up.
My twin son and daughter had similar issues. She read before he did. He ran faster. It upset them both not to be “as good” as the other. It is important to tell the children that we all have different abilities, even if we are the same age. Also, we made sure our children had separate opportunities for achievement.
When our daughter showed aptitude for playing the piano and our son wanted to play, too, we suggested another instrument he had shown interest in, and he was off and running. Sometimes we had them play little duets, and we gave them both well-deserved praise. A plus of their individual activities was that each made separate friends. They are adults now and quite close, but they are very different people.
— Two Close for Comfort
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