Dear Annie: We recently buried my mother and held a service in celebration of her life. There was a visitation one hour prior to the service. I cannot count the number of people who came through the line and said, “I bet you don’t know who I am” or “I know you remember me” and then stood there grinning while they waited to see whether I could guess their name. Annie, my sister and I live out of state and hadn't seen these people in more than 20 years. When I couldn't recall their names, they acted hurt.
Please, folks, at a memorial service, just put out your hand, introduce yourself and say how you knew the deceased. You are precious to come and pay tribute to anyone who has passed away, but do make it easy on a family that is grieving. This is a stressful time, and those who tried to make us play guessing games only made it harder.
Also, if you have a story you want to share, please remember that the time for the visitation is limited. Instead, consider calling a week or so after the service. I’m lonely now and would love to hear your remembrance. — R.
Dear R.: Thank you for reminding people that a forthright and simple approach is best. People often become awkward and uncomfortable when confronted with those in mourning and sometimes blurt out insensitive things.