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by Abigail Van Buren

Fake Flower Prompts Emotional Reaction From Offended Widow

DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law died a month ago and was cremated by the local affiliate of a prominent funeral home. To make it easier for my sister, I accompanied her to the mortuary to pick up her husband's remains. I walked in alone, and as I returned to the car with his urn, a young funeral home employee in a black suit and scuffed shoes followed me. Through the window of the car, he presented my sister an artificial red rose and said, "We're sorry for your loss."

My sister and I were appalled by the insincerity of this gesture, and I called and told the funeral home director that the sentiments were as phony as the rose. He said, "I thought it was a great idea," and couldn't understand our reaction. Were we wrong? -- RESENTING PHONY SENTIMENTS

DEAR RESENTING: Yes, you were. When people are grieving, emotions are sometimes raw, so I'm not going to scold you. However, your response to the young man was ungracious. All that needed to be said was, "No, thank you."

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