DEAR ABBY: We live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. People here have dropped like flies from COVID-19. My brother recently died from the virus, which is now coursing through his family, including the grandchildren. He was a big presence in our town and held public office.
While everyone else has been delaying memorials until a safer time, his wife (my sister-in-law) is insisting on a church service. We have tried to encourage her to wait, but she says she needs to get this behind her. Because my brother was so popular, we expect the whole town to show up. My siblings are all going, but I am refusing to attend. There will be live-streaming for those who can't be there in person, which I plan to take advantage of.
How do you get through to people to take this virus seriously, especially since now there are new variants that are even more easily transmitted? -- RESPONSIBLE SISTER IN THE SOUTH
DEAR RESPONSIBLE SISTER: Please accept my condolences for the loss of your brother. I am sure his absence will be felt by many members of your community. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, one would think people would accept the necessity to be cautious, even when paying last respects to such an important person as your brother. It's possible that in her grief your sister-in-law doesn't fully grasp the fact that what she's planning could endanger people she cares about.
Talk to the pastor who will officiate at the funeral and relate your concern for public safety. Then ask if there is a way for mourners who show up in person to socially distance during the service. It's worth a try, and might prevent more tragedy.