Dear Amy, There does not seem to be any protocol to what could be expected from the presence of a former spouse at a memorial service.
My ex-husband "Bert" and I were married for 40 years before divorcing because of her relationships with other women, and then for a long-term relationship with the woman that he had married afterwards. We have three grown children.
After Bert 's recent death, I feel a lot of ambivalent emotions (mostly anger) at his selfish and hurtful behavior towards me, as well as other lies he' s told, which have had a huge impact on me and our children.
Our children want me to participate in the service. But what should I do when people offer me their condolences or tell me how wonderful Bert was and how wonderful his wife "Brandy" is? I certainly do not want to accept them and thank them.
How can I behave with dignity without betraying my integrity and my feelings?
– Upset Ex
Dear Ex-Upset: If you behave with dignity, you will not have to worry about your integrity, because dignity is the outward manifestation of integrity.
Your presence at this service is not a primary honor, but the guest of your children. Any attention or center of attention that is directed to you should be diverted to them. Please, leave your ambivalent feelings and anger behind you. If you can not, stay at home.
If you attend, you must maintain a discreet presence. If you do not feel comfortable sitting with your children and your ex family members towards the front of the room (or if you think that would be uncomfortable for the woman of your ex), you should let your children sit with other members of the family you should sit in another area.
People will probably not tell you how wonderful your ex-husband was (the spurt usually does not involve ex-spouses). But if they do, just say, "Well, I've known him for a long time and I know he'll be missed" (not necessarily from you).
This event embodies the saying: "If you can not say anything good, do not say anything at all."
Dear Amy: I have a friend whom I see several times a year. Quite often, in addition to bringing me a bottle of wine (so nice, though useless), she gives me health-related gifts, to "prevent" colds and diseases, or to shorten the duration of diseases. (I have a complicated health history.)
These are all medical quacks, nothing that a doctor recommends. These are usually "health" type powders to put in water for drinking, and often contain strange ingredients or unusually high levels of certain vitamins.
I've tried in vain to dissuade her from bringing these miracle cure gifts, even telling her that my wife and I are not interested, but she still brings the gifts.
I must add that she and her husband are not well at all, financially, and I think my friend should not spend her money this way.
I did not have the heart to tell her to bring back those unwanted gifts to the house when she introduced them to me smiling, informing me of how their healing and anti-disease properties m & # 39; ; help. I graciously accepted the gifts and I thanked him, but I do not feel good doing it.
How can I better manage this?
– Ungrateful hostess
Dear ungrateful, If you do not have the heart to send these things home with your friend, accept her gifts with gratitude and just do not use them.
However, if you had the heart (and the courage) to send these things home with her, you would probably end this cycle and save her the expense and effort. You could say, "It's so nice of you. It's very generous. I know you care about me, but I will not use those things, I will send them home with you. Seeing you is the only tonic I need. "
Dear Amy, You missed an important point in your response to "Worried Mother" whose student medical student was tempted by another student.
The young woman will be a doctor. she will see things that she will be required by law to report. She should consider this as part of her education and she should report it herself to the school.
Dear Marie: Absolutely. "Worried Mother" should offer her the support and encouragement to denounce this crime.
(You can send an email to Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook. )