1. Jen

    How do I respond to congratulations for an event I wish to distance myself from? My sister, whom most of our family has had no contact with for quite some time, recently married a man we greatly disapprove of. We have a great deal of friends and acquaintances in common, however, that know nothing of the family dissent or that our family was, quite literally, the last to know about the marriage. We find ourself in the uncomfortable situation of being congratulated on this fiasco. I do not wish to regale (and embarass) well-wishers with the gory details of the situation, but I also feel a simple “thank you” would make it seem as if I condoned and was pleased about an event I wasn’t even aware of until well after it occurred.

    I feel as if I’m being offered congratulations on the death of a loved one. What is an appropriate way to respond?

    • Vanna Keiler

      Hi Jen. Sorry to hear about the rift between your sister and your family. Unfortunately, there is not much more you can say besides a polite “thank you”, without further revealing to people that you disapprove of the marriage and are not communicating with your sister.

      Additionally, were you to divulge more information, you may start the gossip mill running and since we all know how maligned information can become after passing through many sets of ears, it could have long-term repercussions for your future relationship with your sister were she to hear these comments from a third party. I say leave it alone, don’t involve anyone else about your feelings and perhaps at some point in the future there may be hope for all to reunite.

  2. Lisa Miconi

    Funeral ?:

    Next week I will attend a military funeral service for my aunt directly at a national cemetary. There is neither a wake or church service prior to, to send flowers. She has 3 children; my cousins. Do I need to send each of them sympathy cards or a family card to the one who I am closest to, or the one who was in closest contact to the deceased?

    • Graceandhonor

      I am sure you would appreciate condolences from each of your cousins if your roles were reversed. They are each your family and have each lost their mother.

  3. Dal B.

    I have been divorced from my first wife almost thirty years, and am currently married. My ex-wife is deceased. Very recently my ex-wife’s mother passed away. Is it appropriate to send a sympathy card to my son, although we speak on the phone regularly? Also, should cash be included, and if so, how much? Thanks!

    • Graceandhonor

      It is fine to send a card to your son, Dal, but unless the family is in straitened conditions and cannot afford funeral expenses, one generally doesn’t send money upon the death of a loved one. Flowers or a charitable contribution in their honor would be more appropriate.

      • Debbie

        I asked the above question for my husband Dal. I probably didn’t make it clear that Dal and I didn’t have any children together. The ex-wife’s mother who passed away recently was Dal’s son’s grandmother. Does your advice still stand in reference to sending money? We did make a contribution to the local Hospice. Thanks.

        • Graceandhonor

          Debbie, my advice still stands; unless Dal’s son was responsible financially for his grandmother’s care and burial, or needed financial assistance in attending her funeral, it is not apppropriate or necessary to send money to him. Of course, if the son’s mother is responsible for her mother’s finances, and is struggling to do so, it would be kind of your husband to gift her with some money for final costs, demonstrating his concern, by extension, for his son and his loss. If you send money for any reason other than these, it sends the message that money can somehow mitigate this type of loss, and that message should be avoided, despite ads for legal services to the contrary.

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