Ask Paul B: Funerals and Such


Hey Paul B,

Just ran into an old friend of mine that I had not seen in probably 18 months. She is (was) a nice girl who I was once pretty close to, but since we travel in different circles, we drifted apart. She coldly informed me that she had lost her Mom and mentioned that I could have shown up at the funeral. I did send a card, and told her that I felt bad, but she just walked away without saying goodbye. I know she was upset, but I don’t get it with some people. If you are “active” in their life, I would have made an effort to be there for her, but we don’t talk to one another, nor do we even run in the same circle. Am I wrong?



Dear Billy,

Attending funerals is a personal choice. It is strange to see a person that you have not had ANY contact with in 5 or 10 years show up at a funeral of a parent, only to say “so sorry for your loss” when they don’t even know who you are anymore. I believe that some people have so little to do with their lives that they “look forward” to dressing up to have somewhere to go. Another “theory” of mine is that they actually enjoy the tears, sadness and mourning of others, so that they can feel better about “their lives.” I really mean that, Billy. So, my friend, don’t sweat the “cold shoulder” since you really had no relationship before the funeral. After all, you did send a card; nice touch. Life goes on, doesn’t it sport?

PS- My contention about death is this: Be there for them when they are alive; what happens later is so after the fact and unimportant.


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