DEAR MISS MANNERS: My dear mother’s death is sadly approaching, and it will be up to me to write her obituary.
I know that “she was preceded in death by her husband, (insert Dad’s name)” is the first thing to add after the date she passed. Then comes the trouble spot for me: “She is survived by ...” Do I include daughters/sons-in-law? How about nieces/nephews-in-law? Both my brother and sister are married, but I am not. There are no big rifts in our family right now, so I don’t want to cause one.
What would be the correct wording? “She is survived by her son, Abelard, and his wife, Heloise”? “She is survived by her son, Abelard, and daughter-in-law, Heloise”? Please note that Heloise is easily offended, which is certainly not what I want when this sad time arrives.
GENTLE READER: The proper wording is to list pertinent family members in relation to the deceased. In this case, it would be, “She is survived by her son, Abelard, and daughter-in-law, Heloise.” Unfortunately, Miss Manners is afraid that if Heloise is prone to being offended, she will likely find cause no matter how you phrase it.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)