DEAR ABBY: My father recently passed away. I wanted to be sure I was appropriately dressed for his funeral, so I shopped for the most conservative outfit I could find. When I arrived at the service, I was taken aback by what my sister-in-law was wearing. I told her I didn't think her dress was appropriate for the occasion. It was skintight and all lace. I told her what she was wearing looked like something worn at a cocktail party.
Once the words were out of my mouth I knew I shouldn't have said anything. I immediately apologized and said she looked really good in the dress, and it was flattering and rather sexy. My brother called the next day. He was furious and said that he had chosen it.
I feel like at a funeral the dress should be like what you'd wear at church or a business meeting. I may be wrong. I know I should have kept my opinion to myself and regret the comment I made. Should I just let time heal this? She and my brother are extremely upset. -- SAID NO TO THE DRESS
DEAR SAID NO: When people are grieving, they sometimes make comments they wouldn't otherwise. Apologize to both of them for your thoughtlessness and insensitivity, and hope they forgive you.
Many years ago, I attended the funeral of a friend in his early 30s who had died in a tragic accident. "John's" mother was friendly with mine, and we went to support her. John's fiancee, "Linda," was someone I also knew. When she showed up wearing an orange mini-dress, his mother was appalled. She told me she thought it was highly disrespectful. When I asked Linda later why she had chosen that particular dress, her response made me want to cry. She said she had worn it because it was John's favorite dress, and he loved seeing her in it. I learned a lesson that day: Someone's attire at a funeral is far less important than what's in the person's heart.