DEAR MISS MANNERS: The day after my father’s funeral, a friend who had been in attendance called me on the telephone. She proceeded to ask, “So, do you think your mother will start dating?”
I was appalled, and replied, “I really don’t want to think about that.” She then scolded me with, “You can’t be like that. It’s your mother’s life and you have to be supportive!” I said firmly, “My father has just died.” She replied, “Too soon?” She said the last in a tone that suggested she felt her question was perfectly reasonable.
Was I too sensitive? Are such questions appropriate under these circumstances? I feel that I know the answer, but I would like Miss Manners to share her thoughts all the same.
GENTLE READER: Her chief thought is that you must protect your mother against such a person. The very callousness of those Get Over It types means that they are likely to be persistent.
Miss Manners should not have to bolster your sense that such a suggestion is outrageous to the newly bereaved -- as it is to yourself, in suggesting that you are acting against your mother’s best interests -- and nosy ever after.
But you will have to be stern about making that clear by saying, “My mother is in mourning, as am I. If you cannot accept that, I beg you to refrain from upsetting us.”