DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend of mine attended a family gathering in honor of their father’s 100th birthday. It was a memorial: The clan patriarch died nearly 40 years ago.
Is it commonplace nowadays to exhume the dead, in a manner of speaking, for the ceremony of laying him to rest a second time? It’s not as if anyone has new memories of the deceased. What purpose is served by asking guests to repeat stories presumably shared decades earlier?
GENTLE READER: Shakespearean cowards may, metaphorically at least, have a higher mortality rate than the valiant, but actual people only die once. Most are therefore buried -- and memorialized -- only once.
Absent highly unusual circumstances, Miss Manners frowns upon extremely post-mortem memorials unless they be official (e.g., Memorial Day) or an excuse to give a concert of a dead composer’s greatest hits. Or confined to the immediate family.