Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Aunt Refuses To Postpone Funeral

DEAR HARRIETTE: My uncle passed away recently -- of old age, thank God. But he lived in my hometown, which is hundreds of miles away. I am unable to travel now, like most people these days. I want my aunt to consider postponing his funeral and making a memorial instead that could happen after we are allowed to travel freely again. She does not like that idea. She wants to host an open-casket funeral, the way that her whole family has done it for generations. Her daughters told me that she just wants closure. She is old and not of the mindset to postpone her grief. Am I being selfish to want her to delay the service? -- End of Life

DEAR END OF LIFE: First, my condolences for your loss. What a blessing it was to have your uncle for so long. Clearly, you loved him and want to be there to send him off. Yet, you have to take his widow’s wishes to heart. Many people in mourning experience a level of closure when they have a funeral service for their loved ones. If your aunt wants to host a funeral, do not stand in her way. You can ask her if she would allow the service to be live-streamed so that you can see it. You can ask a younger family member who is comfortable with technology to use a streaming service, like Facebook or Instagram, to record the service so that you can be included.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently started talking to a really nice guy at my job. He is so sweet, and he pays a lot of attention to me when we are around each other. Now that we have no idea when we will go back to work -- or if we will still have a job -- we don’t see each other anymore. Everything is so new. I’m not sure that it will last if we don’t have any face-to-face time.

We have been talking about sneaking out to see each other. The rules don’t say that one-on-one meetings are off-limits, only group activities. But I live with my mom, who says absolutely no going out for socializing. She says we have to stay at home except for absolute emergencies or real needs. How can I keep this relationship and follow the rules? Is it wrong to see him if we aren’t 100% quarantined? -- Love and COVID-19

DEAR LOVE AND COVID-19: Social distancing and socializing are at cross purposes with each other, and many people are struggling with how to manage their relationships at this time. Check with your local authorities to see what the rules for being in other people’s company are today. They have been changing as the pandemic grows in our cities and neighborhoods.

I have seen reports of friends meeting and walking in the park while keeping a 6-foot distance between them. Theoretically, that seems safe.

Much safer is to cultivate your relationship by allowing technology to be your friend. Video chats work across many platforms. Texting, calling and emailing work. Sending each other photos -- keep them clean! -- is another way to keep up the interest. Be patient. Agree to stay in close touch as we all wait out this wave of uncertainty.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)