Dear Abby: After man dies of COVID, wife insists on crowded church funeral

Many of his survivors refuse to take the virus seriously, even as others in the family get it.

SHARE Dear Abby: After man dies of COVID, wife insists on crowded church funeral

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.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for 15 years. Over the last couple of them, he has grown distant. We were living with family for nearly 10 years. At the beginning of the year, we finally got a place of our own, but nothing has changed. He likes to drink his beer after work. I have asked him not to, but he does it anyway. I have caught him in lie after lie about his alcohol intake and jobs he has left in years past.

As long as I go with the flow, everything is fine. When I get upset, he always promises to do better, but it never lasts long. Last month, I caught him messaging another woman and inviting her to lunch. He even texted he would plan a trip and let her know! When I asked about it, he told me he was drunk and it was stupid. Am I overreacting, or is my husband of 15 years no longer into this marriage? — ANGUISHED IN ALABAMA

DEAR ANGUISHED: You are not overreacting. Whether your husband is drinking because he’s no longer “into” your marriage or because he is unhappy about other things going on in his life is anybody’s guess. The question is, are YOU still into this marriage and the person your husband has become? Unless those issues are resolved, your marriage doesn’t stand a chance.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

The Latest
From 2018 to 2020, Black women in Illinois were three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related medical conditions than white women. This initiative aims to make improvements.
Here are some tips for building a routine to calm anxieties about the start of a new workweek.
They seem like a great match but the man keeps putting off an actual date, saying he’s intimidated.
As executive chef at the Chicago Stadium and the United Center in the early 1990s, he cooked for athletes and their families, as well as team owners.
The woman, 21, and the 15-year-old boy were shot about 9:20 p.m. in the 9300 block of South Bishop Street, police said.