10/25/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency

Advice columnist Amy Dickinson advises a 64-year-old experiencing anxiety over a memorial service during Covid, fearing the risks of air travel, group settings, and seeming disrespectful.

Dear Amy:

My mother-in-law passed away last month.

I had asked my wife if she would be willing to delay her mother’s memorial service for three or four months until COVID recedes, but she and her siblings have decided to proceed with a memorial service next month.

My wife’s Mom lived 2,000 miles away from us, so we would need to fly to the memorial service.

There will be a church service and a meal afterward, where people will share their stories.

The meal will be either outside or in a banquet room (depending on the weather).

Many of the attendees have been vaccinated for COVID.

I am 64 years old and have been vaccinated.

I have a few health issues, which are not currently on the list of high-risk factors.

I would prefer not to attend, and I get anxious when I think about flying and being in a group setting.

I would like to visit her home with my wife sometime next year and pay my respects then.

However, my wife and her siblings may feel that I am being disrespectful if I do not attend.

All of the other family members are currently planning to attend.

Do you have any guidance?

– Conflicted

Dear Conflicted:

I venture that your reluctance to make this trip is based more on your free-floating anxiety than on specific risk factors to your own health – understanding that the overall fear of contracting COVID is overwhelming – for you and for many.

The pandemic has pushed many of us into a state of high-alert, and existing in that state, especially while we are also isolated, is particularly exhausting and paralyzing.

I can’t advise you as to whether to take this on. You are obviously very anxious about it; you obviously don’t want to do it. Tiptoeing out into the world in stages would be easier on you than hopping onto a plane for a long flight.

All the same, although you could be exposed to COVID virtually anywhere, I’m not aware of any major outbreaks within the last year occurring as the result of flying.

Staying home is always safest. Staying home prevents you from being hit by a drunk driver on the highway. Not being around others will inoculate you from colds, allergies, and emotional wear-and-tear.

But as Robert Frost famously wrote, “… the best way out is always through.”

Getting “through” should be your goal.

Talk with your wife. Given the level of your concern, it might be easiest on her if you stayed home.

I recently attended a memorial service via ZOOM, and it was both moving and lovely.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

Read more Ask Amy columns curated for a baby boomer audience.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff