REVIEW: Do I Have to Wear Black to a Funeral? by Florence Isaacs
Everything you ever wanted to know about funeral etiquette but were afraid to ask.
When is attending a funeral or memorial service “a must,” and when is it optional? Can a eulogy be funny? Can I scatter my brother’s ashes in the backyard? Should I place a death notice or an obituary? What’s the difference?
These are all questions that Florence Isaacs has been asked as a blogger for Legacy.com, a role that earned her the nickname of the “Dear Abby of Death.” In Do I Have to Wear Black to a Funeral?, she answers urgent questions about grief, funerals, different religious ceremonies, and more, offering practical guidelines for modern situations—and, yes, what to wear.
Isaacs’ honest, often entertaining, responses provide no-nonsense information to millennials, while also helping older generations navigate new waters, like how to send condolences through social media. She offers fresh insights, plus an etiquette map of the right things to do and say, in her familiar, sensitive, and sincere style.
About the Author: Florence Isaacs is the “Dear Abby of Death.” For many years, she wrote two blogs every month for Legacy.com, the world’s largest commercial provider of online obituaries and memorials. She lives in New York City.
My mother raised me reading etiquette books by Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post (yes, I poured over how many sets of sheets and towels a bride needed and the correct way to monogram them), but it’s a new world out there and after reading the blurb for this book, I realized that I had no idea there’s a book to help with regards to proper death etiquette. Back in the day, my people would have whipped up a casserole or fried some chicken then gone to sit with the bereaved. Everyone lived in a small town and would have gone to the funeral then burial. Now the choices, options and requirements are wide ranging and changing every year.
Written in a question and answer style, the book covers everything from green, home, humanistic funerals to who can be buried in veterans cemeteries. What’s the difference between obituaries and death notices, caskets and coffins. A large percentage of us believe in writing a will or filling out advanced directives but precious few of us actually have. What are the pros and cons of arranging and paying for funerals and burials. Have you heard of death cafes and death doualas? If someone emails you condolences, are you obliged to send a written acknowledgment? What are the basic things to expect and to do when attending a religious funeral of a faith other than yours?
There are several links to online resources provided and directions for when you might need to check with to see what is or is not allowed per state or federal agency. The book is aimed at US residents but many of the issues, questions, and dilemmas answered are applicable internationally. I already have a will written but after finishing “Do I Have to Wear Black to a Funeral,” (and the answer is no but you can’t go wrong to dress conservatively) I know I need to get a few more things wrapped up and taken care of. B