Posted on October 23rd, 2012
Q: How should I behave at the funeral of a man who mentally, and at times physically, abused my sister for 40 years? Should I spit on his grave, create a scene, or even attend it? Or be there for the sister and keep quiet, even though all who are there know of his behavior?
A: Your job at the funeral is to support and love your sister. Period.
But that’s not to say that after the service you can’t go home and use his photo for target practice or craft a voodoo doll in his likeness.
In a sense this funeral marks the passing of her old life, so that opens the door to great possibilities going forward. Now that he is gone, focus on how to aid in your sister’s healing. She has a long row to hoe as she begins to examine her choices of the last four decades. She’s going to need you now more than ever, whether she says so or not.
Q: What is an appropriate reply to someone who makes a statement that is highly opinionated yet poorly informed?
A: First I consider the source. Then my response depends on my mood and the particular type of ignoramus I’m facing. Sometimes I’ll improv and have fun with it, letting just about anything pop out of my mouth. When the person is especially obnoxious I won’t dignify his remarks with a reply.
After years of trying to help these blowhards become more knowledgeable, I’ve realized that I’m not here to be a windbag whisperer. The ignorant remain that way because they refuse to listen. So now I don’t attempt to edify them.
However, in any situation you can always call forth that enduring nice-nasty Southern phrase and say, “Bless your heart.” That phrase is like the navy blazer in the closet: It’s always in season and goes with everything.
Perhaps the best way we can influence such folks is to work on our own intellectual, ethical and spiritual improvement. Maybe our efforts to become more learned will spark something in them when they eventually run out of hot air.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Visit her at www.thecrackerqueen.com.