To go or not to the funeral of my friend’s boyfriend?



Adapted from a recent online discussion.

 

Hi Carolyn:

My friend’s boyfriend passed away last week and the funeral is tomorrow. My friend told her roommate that she didn’t want her friends going to the funeral if they were going just for her, and I’m torn on whether to go. Although I liked her boyfriend and considered him a friend, my connection to him was through her and I would mostly go to support her.

I want to respect her wishes, but I’m also worried that not going is the wrong thing, and that she will look back and be upset I wasn’t there. The service is being held six hours away from me, so I’ve got to figure it out today.

— To Go or Not to Go

Maybe it’s just me, but I find “her wishes” almost impossible to parse. Anyone knowing both her and her boyfriend is supposed to choose?

This suggestion works around it completely: Go if it’s important to you to go.

I’m sorry for your loss.

Re: Funeral:

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life was driving six hours to give a friend a hug at the funeral of her sister, who I had only met a handful of times. I have never once regretted going to a funeral, and I have been extremely touched by the people who made the time for my loved ones’ funerals.

— Never Regretted

Thanks for this. I agree. I have missed some myself and those are my regrets.

Whenever this topic comes up, I think of “Always Go to the Funeral,” a “This I Believe” radio essay (http://thisibelieve.org/essay/8/), and I know I’m not alone because I see it posted in reader comments all the time.

Dear Carolyn:

When I was 14, I was sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old. I told no one and carried shame, guilt, confusion and anger all these years. Now with the “Me Too” movement, I find some solace that it wasn’t my fault.

I am torn whether to confront him. I don’t know what I want out of it, even. I am happily married, successful, and the mom of two teens. He is also married with two kids and is chair of a department at an elite university. I have not talked to him in over 30 years. What should I do?

— Three Decades Later

I’m sorry this happened to you. I’m sorry it took three decades for the “It’s not your fault” message to become loud and clear enough to persuade you.

And I’m sorry the latest legacy of this assault is for you now to have to wrestle with a decision you never asked to make.

I’ll assume “told no one” means no therapy, so please consider it now. Talking to a trained, objective guide in confidence is an excellent place to think through a difficult decision, and sort through your own motives and potential consequences. There’s no hurry and you’re under no obligation to do anything of which you’re not entirely sure.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Syndicated Advice Columnist
Advice Columnist Carolyn Hax takes your questions and tackles your problems.

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